Twenty years ago, Los Angeles erupted in riots after four cops were acquitted in the videotaped beating of Rodney King, but during an uprising supposedly in the name of justice, some people got away with murder.
During the five “Days of Outrage,” a disbelieving nation watched on television as looters broke store windows and emptied shelves, Korean grocers sat atop their stores with assault rifles and fires were set throughout South Central and other parts of the city. Beatings, including the brutal one administered to truck driver Reginald Denny, were captured on video by news crews.
“Can’t we all just get along?” pleaded King as the city was plunged into violent chaos. The phrase became a rallying cry for a city determined to heal after being torn apart by racial divisions.
The police were overwhelmed, and the National Guard was called in to help quell the violence. When the mayhem subsided five days later, nearly 1,600 buildings were destroyed or damaged and more than 2,300 people were hurt. The final cost of the riot was estimated at more than a billion dollars, including $735 million in property damage.
“Can’t we all just get along?”
– Rodney King, motorist whose beating by police led to LA Riots
But the human toll is the most disturbing legacy of the riots. Some 53 people were killed in what police have classified as riot-related homicides and accidents. Of those, some 22 homicides remain classified as open and unsolved.
The dead for whom justice remains elusive include a 15-year-old boy shot as he stood on a corner, a Good Samaritan who tried to douse flames set by a crowd of angry looters, a hard-working immigrant who insisted on making grocery deliveries even as his neighborhood burned, a suburban man shot when he came to check on his store and John Doe No. 80, whose identity may never be known.
( Billy’s Thoughts – What happened in LA was sad and sick. Yes bad things have happen in our nation but that gives no one the right to do wrong to others. No matter what one thought of the jury ruling in the beating of Mr. King we are a nation of laws. Read more of the above story right here.)