1992 Los Angeles Riots To Complete 25 Years: John Ridley Remembers Rodney King In His Documentary

April 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. The month reminds the nationals of the heinous face of the city. The violence that the racial discrimination led to is one of the most shameful phases in the history of Los Angeles.

Although the 1992 Los Angeles riots have completed 25 years, the experience and the impact still feels fresh. Director John Ridley has chosen to bring that phase of the history of Los Angeles back in the form of a documentary, Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992.

Ridley said that the documentary is not only about making the history known to those who are unaware of it, but the story will also focus on the psychological impact of the 1992 Los Angeles riots on people. The effect was such that the public refrained from intervening in events and thereby allowed things to fall apart.

“There’s no plaque, no marker, nothing to mark that spot,” Ridley said as he revisited the historical spot. “History happened here.”

It was in 1991 when four white Los Angeles Police Department officers brutally beat a black motorist, Rodney King. This came following racial issues prevailing between the city’s minority communities and the criminal judiciary. The officers used excessive force to arrest the victim. They chased Rodney King at high speed down Northern Los Angeles streets.

Rodney King signs copies of his new memoir
Rodney King signs copies of his new memoir [Image by Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images]

However, this was not the end. Weeks later, another racially-driven act was reported. In the event, a 15-year-old African girl, Latasha Harlins, was shot in the head. A Korean store owner illustrated the crime in South Central.

The four white Rodney King beaters were charged with the beating of the victim. But they were acquitted in a jury trial on April 29, 1992. The verdict led to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, thereby putting the city population under fear for almost a week. The judgment made the day as well as the month remarkable as it saw one of the most appalling phases in the history of the city.

The reports stated that around 55 to 60 people were killed in the 1992 Los Angeles riots. At the time of the incident, George H.W. Bush was the president of the United States. He signed a declaration that allowed federal financial relief to the victims of the riots. The president traveled to the city in early May to meet the riot victims as well as the local officials over there.

The Bush government blamed the Congress’ liberal social welfare agenda and said that it was ineffective. He added that it was the agenda failure that led to such intense 1992 Los Angeles riots.

“We believe that many of the root problems that have resulted in inner- city difficulties were started in the ’60 s and ’70 s and that they have failed,” White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said.

George H.W. Bush seen recently at Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons
George H.W. Bush seen recently at Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons [Image by Patrick Smith / Getty Images]

The John Ridley documentary will have a duration of 2.5 hours. It will be aired this month on broadcast and cable. The premiere of the 1992 Los Angeles riots is scheduled in theaters on Friday. However, ABC will air a shorter version of the flick on April 28 at 9 p.m. No big projects have ever been planned in the previous years since the 1992 riots.

John Ridley said that he wanted people to know the background of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Hence, he decided to start the film with the 1982 events when the “chokehold era” came to an end. The director said that he is hopeful that the nationals will understand how the racial events and impacts are connected with each other.

“At that time, there was the introduction of the PR-24, the metal baton, which obviously then came into play with the assault against Rodney King,” John Ridley said. “It wasn’t one event. It wasn’t one thing. It wasn’t one night, and certainly not one community – so many people were ultimately affected by it.”

[Featured Image by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images]