The History of the L.A. Riots

For photos, maps, and a deeper look at the historical facts behind the worst civic disturbance in the history of the United States, visit this extraordinarily deep website on the 1992 L.A. Riots.

“Though the events of All Involved are fictional, the seventeen characters we encounter over the six days of rioting portray a terrifyingly plausible series of events; of crime and opportunity; of race, revenge and loyalty.”

“In the narrative that the media presented at the time, the assault of Rodney King and subsequent acquittal of three of the policemen charged was widely cited as the main cause of the riots; to many, they are known as ‘the Rodney King riots.’ But as Mikey, one of the characters in All Involved, says, ‘everybody’s got a Rodney King in his neighbourhood, somebody the cops beat like a drum for good or bad reasons. He might not be black, either. He might have brown skin instead.’ The King incident was just indicative of wider behaviour.”

Acknowledgments: With thanks to the authors of the books listed in the Further reading section, whose work provided invaluable background information; Evan Skrederstu for talking about the L.A. graffiti scene so engagingly, and Steve Grody for allowing the use of three images from his book Graffiti L.A.: Street Styles and Art. Figures relating to UK population come from Census data. Video and image credits (where not attributed in context): Columns of smoke rise from scattered fires during the 1992 Los Angeles riots (video) © Corbis; Police officers stand on the perimeter of a protest during the 1992 Los Angeles riots (video) © Corbis; Looters remove goods from a supermarket in South Central Los Angeles, April 30, 1992 (photo) © Steve Grayson/WireImage/Getty; Then and now photographs: Top: businesses continue to burn out of control in Koreatown on the third day of the riots. Bottom: Korean American businesses along the street in Koreatown, Los Angeles, in 2012 © Reuters/Hyungwon Kang; Further reading background image shows firefighters putting out fires © Douglas Burrows/Hulton Archive/Getty. All Involved logo designed and drawn by Chaz Bojorquez.

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