Sunday, February 12, 2012

L.A. Riots

Wednesday April 29, 1992

Slept in til 8:30 just resting in bed mostly. My cold seems a wee bit better. I have kemo at 1:30. Before we leave, the TV announces the jury decision re Rodney King's beating by L.A.P.D. We all saw it on TV time and time again as a bystander had videotaped the episode. It was a horrible senseless beating but somehow the jury here in Simi Valley found the officers not guilty. Everyone is shocked! How can this be? We worry together on the way home what will happen in the black community as a revenge. We don't have to wonder long. Two hours later, 5 p.m. the TV is showing looting, cars being stopped and white people beaten in the Watts area of Los Angeles. Soon the fires begin. The entire city is under siege. It's horrible to watch. The police and firemen can't begin to deal with it. It goes on all night. A state of emergency is declared and the National Guard are ordered in. Phil is one who is called. We are worried sick. Will Gary have to go in to restore their power?

Even though I was only 12 years old at the time, I remember hearing about the Watts riots in Los Angeles in 1965. They lasted 4 days from August 11-August 15 and resulted in 34 deaths, 1032 injuries, 3438 arrests, and over $40 million in property damage. When an all-white jury acquitted 3 white and 1 Hispanic L.A.P.D. officers this day in 1992 right there in Simi Valley, it set off riots that made the 1965 Watts riots pale in comparison. When the police officers pulled over Rodney King after a high-speed pursuit, a bystander videotaped his beating by the police and it was broadcast on the news over and over. And yet these officers were acquitted of the crime that was so obvious to all of us. There was widespread looting, murder, arson and assault in Los Angeles following the verdict. After 6 days 53 were dead, thousands were injured, and property damage was over $1 billion.

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