The riots caused a great deal of damage and injury and remain one of the most violent periods in the history of the city. The present research looks into the causes of the riots, the events that led up to them, the evidence that was brought forward and decisions handed down and how this news was received by the greater community. The immediate and long-term effects of the riots will be examined and the lessons learned will be explored.
In 1991, a man named Rodney King was brutally beaten up by four police officers and the video recording of the incident had been publicized. The LAPD officers were put on trial for this controversial incident after the video was released. This caused it to stay in the center of the public eye. The verdicts handed down as a result of the trial amazed the public because only one officer was found guilty of the excessive use of force that all four officers were seen to take part in within the video. The other officers were released with no further charges or punishment (Los Angeles Times, April 29th 1992). The video coverage of the trials and verdicts angered the populace who perhaps felt threatened that the same thing might someday happen to them. They reacted in masses as hundreds of Black people filled the streets to share their anger and disbelief. This negative emotion fed on itself and began to tip over into violence. \ The result was the riots which have jarred the nerves of everyone involved. Three days of violence followed. Four thousand National Guardsmen were deployed to re-establish law and order. Live news television coverage showed fires raging in various parts of the city started by the rioters. People were rioting and looting and assaulting innocent bystanders leading to utter havoc in the heart of the city. By the time the riots were brought under control, the death toll was 50 and more than 4,000 people were injured. Property damage was assessed at $1 billion and 12,000