The Los Angeles riots began 20 years ago Sunday, when a jury acquitted four police officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King in 1992.
While the ashes were still smoldering, then-Mayor Tom Bradley announced a new organization that would repair the shattered city, Rebuild L.A. Its mission was to spend five years harnessing the power of the private sector to replace and improve on what was lost. While it created a lot of hope, it created even more disappointment.
Now f or Jessica Evers Jones, the anniversary of the LA riots is also a birthday. Jessica entered the world dramatically. On that first day of the riots, her pregnant mother, Elvira Jones, was shot in the stomach outside her home. Elvira was rushed to the hospital and Jessica was delivered by emergency C-section. Surgeons removed a bullet from her elbow. She was famous before she was a week old.
Commentator John Ridley moved to Los Angeles 20 years ago, not long before the riots.
Look, I was always going to end up in Los Angeles. From the time I was a kid in Wisconsin, for me, L.A. was the city. It had sunshine, palm trees, a black mayor, even a police force whose legend was preached nightly on hit TV shows.
It has been 20 years since four police officers were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King, and L.A. erupted in race-fueled riots. Many in Los Angeles, including students who weren't born when the riots hit in April 1992, are reflecting on those days of anger, looting and destruction, asking why it happened and how to make sure it doesn't happen again.
It's been 20 years since Los Angeles erupted in riots following the acquittal of four white police officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King. There have been many changes in the city since those days of fire, looting and public discord, but perhaps the biggest changes can be seen in L.A.'s police department.
On a drive around the heart of South Central L.A., there are still plenty of weed-filled lots where businesses that burned down in the riots used to stand. There's also still a lot of crime.