Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots, sparked after the acquittal of four LosAngeles policemen in the beating of black motorist Rodney King, famously caught on video by an onlooker.
At the intersection of Florence Avenue and Normandie Avenue in south Los Angeles, the epicenter of the rioting, a mostly black mob, enraged at the acquittal, dragged white truck driver Reginald Denny from his cab and beat him unconscious while news helicopters hovered overhead. What then started was six days of fires and looting throughout the city that led to 53 deaths and an estimated $1 billion in property damage.
On the night of March 3, 1991, King was driving drunk at high speeds on a freeway when he was pulled over by (LAPD) officers. He was repeatedly beaten and kicked by four officers and the incident was videotaped by a private citizen, George Holliday, and was later broadcast on L.A. area television station KTLA.
On May 1, 1992, two days after the four officers’ acquittal and the start of the riots, King, took to the airwaves, making a plea to media and the people of Los Angeles to end the violence with the simple — and now famous — request,”can we all get along?” The L.A. riots ended on May 4, 1992.