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20 years later- The Rodney King Riots

Updated on May 1, 2012

I Remember

20 years after riots broke out in Los Angeles, Cali. some people still remember the sites and sounds from that tragic weekend. I am one of those people.

I was 5 years old and on vacation visiting my sister in Norwalk, Cali. when the verdict was announced that the officers involved in the brutal beating of Rodney King were deemed not guilty. This was start of a war brought on by the neglect and abuse from the police of LA. My mother and I had plane tickets to fly out during the weekend to come home but once the riots began LAX was shut down. After my mother spent hours contacting the police, national guard that was brought in and the airport we were able to get on the last flight out Los Angeles for the weekend.

We had mandatory police and military escort from my sister's apartment to LAX airport. The terminals were empty and guards were stationed at every door and window. We were hurried through the airport to the gate where we were rushed onto the last plane to leave. The 747 was massive and we were 2 of the only 5 passengers on board. As the plane quickly began to make its way to the runway we could start to see the smoke rising above buildings in the area. Once we took off and were over Los Angeles the extent of the damage and danger was clear even to me. I still remember seeing businesses on fire around the city and police and military along with emergency crews scrambling around on the ground.

The damage

Throughout the days that followed April 29, 1992 the entire country was rocked by the tragic images on the every news channel. 53 people lost their lives, over 3,000 were injured and thousands of businesses were affected by the riots. For 4 days straight the brutality continued, on the fifth day the aftermath was able to be seen.

For some people the images remain in their memories, for a city the result was both grave and motivational. Since the Rodney King Riots several laws have changed and the protection of people is now a higher priority for the police of Los Angeles. However, no matter how you look at it, South Central LA will never be the same.


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    • SidKemp profile image

      Sid Kemp 

      6 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

      Wow! The image of seeing LA on fire from the air will stay with me. Thank you for sharing these painful but important memories.


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