On April 29, 1992, three LAPD officers were acquitted after brutally beating Rodney King, and a fourth was let off with no verdict. Widespread protests erupted in response, a result of deep-seated anger with police violence and racial inequality in Los Angeles, heightened by the murder of teenager Latasha Harlins a year prior. Five days later, the city of Los Angeles stood in a shocked, smoldering state with more than sixty people dead, thousands injured, and massive property damage.
Now, thirty years later, we mark this anniversary in the wake of another uprising against police violence and the murders of unarmed Black men and women. How does the 1992 Uprising look after three decades? Has Los Angeles made any meaningful progress since then? What is the state of race relations, policing, and the pervasive inequities exacerbated by COVID-19?
Brenda Stevenson, the inaugural Hillary Rodham Clinton Chair in Women’s History at St. John’s College, Oxford University and the Nickoll Family Endowed Chair in History at UCLA, and Kent Wong, the director of the UCLA Labor Center, join Then & Now to discuss these questions.