The four officers involved in the beating, the

The history of African-Americans in the United States is full of many periods of achievements, as well as periods of struggle. The Los Angeles riots of 1992 were the result of many years of systematic racism in the United States following the Civil Rights Movement. The beating and unjust trial of Rodney King exposed the unfair and brutal treatment of African Americans by the police. As well as the shooting of 15 year-old Latasha Harlins 2 weeks after the beating of Rodney King to further ignite hatred within African-Americans in Los Angeles. What came forth was a week long riot that not only changed Los Angeles, but the United States as a whole. That is why the Los Angeles riots was the most devastating, yet consequential, civil uproar in the history of the United States. The beginnings of the riots came on March 3, 1991, when Rodney King was stopped and brutally assaulted by police. King was stopped after a high speed chase police after police caught him intoxicated and was subsequently forced out of the car ( From there, police began to unlawfully assault  Rodney King, leaving him with a fractured skull, along with a broken cheekbone ( A witness, George Holliday, filmed the officers beating Rodney King; a day after the tape was airing on CNN for the rest of the country to witness (Los Angeles Daily News). Four officers were later arrested and put to trial a year later, however all of them were not pleaded guilty. The verdict angered a massive amount of African Americans. Consequently, Los Angeles was about to witness levels of violence not seen since the Watts riots.Another allegedly racially motivated attack occurred nearly two weeks after Rodney King’s beating also infuriated many Angelenos. On March 16, 1991, 15-year old Latasha Harlins walked into a Korean-American convenience store. The store keeper accused Latasha of attempting to steal a bottle of orange juice (Los Angeles Times). After a physical confrontation due to Latasha being harassed, Latasha was shot in the back of her head after attempting to leave the store (Los Angeles Times). Korean grocer, Soon Ja Du, was charged and found guilty of voluntary manslaughter. However, she did not serve the recommended 16 years in prison. Instead, she was granted probation, 400 hours of mandatory community volunteer service, along with paying expenses for Latasha’s funeral ( Once again, this decision was met with outrage throughout the African American community. Citizens demanded that the juror was to be dismissed. With these two major incidents, many had enough and decided to show Los Angeles how resilient they were. On the 29th of April, 1992, hours after the verdict was announced for the four officers involved in the beating, the riots had begun. It was at the intersection of Florence and Normandie in South Central Los Angeles where the riots began (Britannica). As protestors began attacking motorists who attempted to drive through the intersection. Throughout the evening as well as the preceding days, stores were being burned and looted. A white truck driver, Reginald Denny, was nearly beaten to death after being pull out of his truck. Fortunately, he was rescued by neighbours that witnessed the scene unfold on television (Britannica). The overwhelmed police could not stop the violent protesters was forced to retreat ( By the end of the day, a state of emergency was called upon the city of Los Angeles, and the National Guard had been deployed  ( Thus began the most costly riot in the history of the United States. It wasn’t only the whites who were being targeted during the riots. Following the shooting of Latasha Harlins, there was large hatred towards Korean-Americans living in Los Angeles. Out of the majority of businesses that were looted and burned, over 1,700 of them were owned by Korean-Americans (Citylab). While many of the riotings took place within South Central Los Angeles, in Koreatown, many Korean-American store owners took it upon them to arm themselves and defend their businesses from armed rioters. The lingering resentment of Korean-Americans from African-Americans is due to the fact of them owning a majority of real estate in South Central as well as having better economic opportunities compared to the blacks (Citylab). The riot no longer became primarily about Rodney King, but mainly about how African-Americans were always being put down by the system.The rioting and looting had gone on for an entire week. The government finally had enough of the senseless violence. President George H.W. Bush had denounced the senseless deaths from the riots as well as acknowledge the police brutality that had led towards them ( By May 2nd, the national guard was much more organized and they began cracking down on rioters and looters. Over 30000 people took place in a peace march in Koreatown as well as helping out with the clean up ( On May 4th, the riot had completely ended, leaving a wake of destruction in its path. In total, there were 2000 injuries, 12000 arrests made, and 63 deaths that were attributed to the riots, all totalling damages that costed up to $1 billion in lost property (  The Los Angeles Police was completely shunned upon by the city. LAPD chief, Daryl Gates, who went under investigation for his response to the riots, ultimately resigned (Britannica). As for Rodney King, he received a $3.8 million settlement after two of the officers responsible for his beating were later convicted of civil rights violations (Britannica). Two years passing the riots, Congress successfully passed Section 14141 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (Citylab). This granted the Justice Department the ability to investigate any local police departments if they show to be using any examples excessive force. This helped prevent those who are mistreated by the police to receive the justice that they deserve. It also was put in place to make sure nothing that happened that week would ever occur ever again.In conclusion, the Los Angeles riots of 1992 became the most costly and consequential civil disruption in the history of the United States. It was caused by the unlawful beating of Rodney King, as with the preceding trial. It was also caused by the unnecessary shooting of Latasha Harlins. The two, combined with many African-Americans filled with resentment and hatred eventually erupted into a week full of rioting and looting. The resulting riots were the most devastating in America’s history and sent a strong message on police brutality and justice. Although many things could have happened to have prevented this, there were many positives that came out of the riots, which helped forge a stronger relationship between all ethnic groups in America. Pushing for an America that treats everyone equally and with respect.


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