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Los Angeles Riots: 20 years later

On the af­ter­noon of April 29, 1992, a jury in Ven­tura County ac­quit­ted four LAPD of­ficers of beat­ing Rod­ney G. King. The in­cid­ent, caught on am­a­teur video­tape, had sparked na­tion­al de­bate about po­lice bru­tal­ity and ra­cial in­justice. The ver­dict stunned Los Angeles, where angry crowds gathered on street corners across the city. The Los Angeles riots would become one of the worst in the nation’s history. The flash point was a single in­ter­sec­tion in South L.A., but it was a scene eer­ily re­peated in many parts of the city in the hours that fol­lowed.

Then May­or Tom Brad­ley called a loc­al state of emer­gency and then Gov. Pete Wilson or­dered the Na­tion­al Guard to ac­tiv­ate 2,000 re­serve sol­diers. During six days of rioting, more than 60 people died amid the looting and fires and more than 2,000 people were injured. A year later, a federal jusry would find officers Sta­cey C. Koon and Laurence M. Pow­ell guilty of violating King’s civil rights. Officers Theodore J. Bris­eno and Timothy E. Wind were ac­quit­ted for their role in the ar­rest and beat­ing. King drowned in the pool of his Rialto home in 2012. He was 47.

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