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Updated by Juliet Abram on Apr 30, 2018
Headline for 10 Most Brutally Honest Photos of 1992 LA Riots
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10 Most Brutally Honest Photos of 1992 LA Riots

From Bill Cosby publicity stunt to overtly racist media coverage, this is the story of the LA Riots: On April 29, 1992, four white police officers charged with brutal beating of a black truck driver on March 3, 1991 are found not-guilty, the verdict incites 6 days of riots on the streets of Los Angeles.

1

Bill Cosby's Turns Riots into Self-Promotion

Bill Cosby's Turns Riots into Self-Promotion

They say hindsight is 20/20: Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley urged Bill Cosby to make a public service announcement; the mayor was urging the public to stay home and watch the "The Cosby Show" series finale for TV's coveted May Sweeps ratings month. The media was using minority celebrities to call for peace, such as Arsenio Hall who said, "We must stop the violence. . . . What are teen-agers doing with grenades?" LA's KNBC aired the sitcom instead of continuing coverage of the riots. In April, 2017, Bill Cosby went from cherished "family man" of his role on his TV show to being found guilty of three counts of aggravated sexual assault. In reality, Cosby used the LA Riots to promote himself which adds to the lengths he would go to cover up decades of criminal activity. The irony is thicker than a Jello Pudding Pop.

2

Suspicious Public: Missing Photos of White People Arrested

Suspicious Public: Missing Photos of White People Arrested

Largely suppressed images of white people rioting went unpublished as the media played a part in presenting an image of minorities committing crimes during the riots. Although the woman in this photo denied any criminal activity, the song written by three white men (Marshall Goodman / Bradley Nowell / Michael Happoldt) from the band Sublime, "April 29, 1992," takes a different take on events:
"Some kids went in a store with their mother
I saw her when she came out she was gettin some pampers
They said it was for the black man,
They said it was for the mexican
And not for the white man
But if you look at the streets
It wasn't about Rodney King
It's bout this fcked up situation and these fcked up police"

3

The Four Black Good Samaritans

The Four Black Good Samaritans

Exiting the Santa Monica Freeway and heading into Inglewood, 33 year old Reginald Denny drove his truck full of sand straight into the heart of the LA Riots. A helicopter overhead filmed the angry mob dragging him from his truck, punching, kicking, and spitting on him. Eventually, four good Samaritans, who also happen to be black, come to his rescue in a blue Honda Civic. The heroes names are: Bobby Green, Titus Murphy, Terri Barnett, and Lei Yuille.

4

Fidel Lopez "The Forgotten Victim"

Fidel Lopez "The Forgotten Victim"

Whereas victim Reginald Denny, a white man, is spoken of more often, at approximately the same time in the same South Central neighborhood in the same intersection of Florence and Normandie, Fidel Lopez is dragged from his truck, kicked around nearly losing one of his ears, a car stereo dropped forcibly onto his head smashing his skull, and doused with gasoline and left for dead. Rev. Bennie Newton, raises the Bible over his head, becoming a human shield to Lopez, chanting: "Kill him and you have to kill me too!" No police show up to help. Newton, sadly, dies of Leukemia a year after saving Lopez' life.

5

Immigrant Records First Ever "Viral Video"

Immigrant Records First Ever "Viral Video"

A 31-year old, Argentinian immigrant named George Holiday witnessed a routine traffic stop, grabbed his Sony Handcam, and filmed four LAPD police officers hit, strike, and beat taxi driver Rodney King on March 3, 1991. Holiday turns over his video to KTLA, a local television station. By April 29, 1992, the four white police officers are acquitted of the severe beating of King, who is a black man, which incites a riot on the streets of LA immediately, starting in South Central Los Angeles at the intersection of Florence and Normandie where a white truck driver, Reginald Denny, is dragged from the cab of his truck and beaten by civilians outraged by the verdict.

6

Koreans on Guard

Koreans on Guard

When the riots began, Korean radio in LA urged shopkeepers and neighbors to leave work, go home, and pray. The Korean community doubted the police's helpfulness as much as any other minority; store owners and merchants took up arms and guarded their properties from the rooftops. Shopkeepers in Koreatown were upset wealthier enclaves of LA like Beverly Hills and and West Hollywood were solidly protected by the LAPD. The gunfights and chaos on TV showed the heavy division of race and class lines with the police acting aggressively towards minorities.

7

Racist Journalism

Racist Journalism

99.9999% of photos of looters from the 1992 LA Riots seem to be of Latinos and black people. However, white people were looting too. Any Internet search of white people and the riots turns up the victimhood of Reginald Denny or the corruptness of the four LAPD police officers who beat up Rodney King. The media's photo journalists also tried to steer the public into believing this was a black vs. Asian or black vs. Latino or Latino vs. Asian riot; However, it was not. A combination of a racist justice system, poverty, and other issues combined to create the LA Riots (and even this sentence is an over-simplification.)

8

Latinos Heavily Attacked

Latinos Heavily Attacked

Latino residents participated in putting out fires threatening to destroy their neighborhood. Thanks to photo journalists intent on showing all sides of the story we know Latino citizens pitched in to help. At the start of the riots, Latinos like truck driver Fidel Lopez were among the majority of victims attacked and were one third of those killed and arrested. Nearly half of the businesses looted were Latino-owned shops.

{Photo: Ted Soqui - see more at: http://www.tedsoquiphoto.com/ }

9

Firefighter Shot in Head during Riots

Firefighter Shot in Head during Riots

Emergency service workers put their lives at risk. On the evening of April 29, 1992, Captain Scott Miller was shot in his jaw. Firefighter Paul Jordan was riding in the back when the incident occurred. "It's very strange to have someone pass a fire truck that's going to an emergency to a fire. Nobody ever passes you, they always pull to the right," said Jordan, who is now an inspector with the department. "And I looked over and he pulled out a gun and pulled the trigger and I said, 'They're shooting at us.'"

10

The Peaceful Protest Turned Violent

The Peaceful Protest Turned Violent

The US Constitution guarantees us the right for people to peacefully assemble in the First Amendment, however, after the April 29, 1992 verdict finding four white LAPD police officers not-guilty of using extreme force against black taxi cab driver, Rodney King, one peaceful turned violent. Mark Lee Tool was shot at and beaten up outside the City Hall while attending a "peaceful demonstration" protesting the acquittal.