Saturday, April 29, marks the 25th anniversary of the fiery Los Angeles riots that occurred in the wake of the acquittal of four White LAPD officers who beat Rodney King when a routine traffic stop turned deadly.
The Smithsonian Channel aired its latest episode of The Lost Tapes series Sunday with a focus on the riots in the days after the officers’ trial. At the end of the riots on May 4, over 50 people were dead and thousands more were injured.
More than 1,000 buildings were looted or destroyed, costing the city an estimated $1 billion in damages. Nearly, 12,000 people were arrested after lawmakers called in the California Army National Guard, the 7th Infantry Division, and the 1st Marine Division.
The Lost Tapes: L.A. Riots also shares previously unreleased footage across various methods, including fire department dispatch calls, photos, home videos, and LAPD tapes. Director Tom Jennings found that in creating the documentary that the LAPD had its own film crews in the midst of the carnage. Compton radio station KJLH was also another asset added to the film as the music station went to a 24-hour news format becoming the beacon of information for area residents.
King, the man at the center of the riots, suffered a tragic end when he drowned to death in June 2012. Even in death, King’s life was mired in controversy as the circumstances surrounding his death raised questions among friends and some observers. Information about The Lost Tapes: LA Riots can be found at the following this link.
Do you thing much has changed since the L.A. riots? Sound off in comments.