I wasn’t alive in 1991 — the year that changed my hometown forever.
In March 1991, 25-year-old Rodney King’s graphic beating by Los Angeles Police Department officers became what Black city residents who’d long spoken up about mistreatment by law enforcement officers had never had: video recorded proof of police brutality in the United States.
A year later, the officers who beat King were acquitted and Los Angeles began to burn.
It has been 30 years since the 1992 LA Riots, and although this seems like many years past, the memory of Rodney King’s beating by the LAPD remains fresh in the minds of Angelenos — like me.
All LA natives, and citizens of the greater country at large, whether they were born after 1992 or not, have been impacted by the legacy of these uprisings. King’s beating and the riots came during a moment in Los Angeles history when the war on drugs and ongoing systemic racism created an environment where the unjustified brutalization of Black people became the norm.