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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
L.A. Riots: 20 Years Later

L.A. Riots: A 'Community in Uproar'

Citizens look back at the past twenty years and forwards to race relations in the future.

Twenty years ago, the intersection of Florence and Normandie was the epicenter of one of the most notorious riots in the history of Los Angeles.

"I remember my mom she wouldn't let me out of the house. There was people all on the street. The whole city was going crazy," remembers Bryan Rivera. 

Four Los Angeles police officers were acquitted after being accused of beating Rodney King. Violence spread across the city like wildfire and thousands of outraged residents rioted in the streets over the course of six days.

"My uncle came home with a black safe full of money and cash that they had robbed from somebody in the riots," said Symphony Segura. I just mainly remember the black community was in such an uproar over the beating and the police officers getting off."

Frank Denkins, a business-owner in the community for more than twenty years, remembers it slightly differently.

"I don't like to call it a riot," he said. "It may be a riot to some people but to the community it is more of a revolution or dissatisfaction to the way black people have been treated.

A study released by Loyola Marymount University shows that residents of L.A. are overall optimistic about race relations in the city today. But local rapper Thurz explores the less optimistic side of things, and has recently released an album entitled "LA Riot" that explores the assault from Rodney King's point of view.

"Since the start of 2012 there's been 30 related beatings and deaths with police officers in black urban communities. That Rodney King transformation is crazy but it's historical and still relevant today because there are a lot of injustices," he said.


Twenty Years After the Rodney King Verdict

20 Years After Rodney King Assault

L.A. Riots 16th Anniversary

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