29 Years Later: Looking back at LA riots

This generation may long remember the day former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty in the murder of George Floyd.

For the previous generation, another verdict is long remembered.

Twenty-nine years ago today, four Los Angeles Police Department officers were exonerated for the beating of Rodney Kings. The verdict sparked riots across Los Angeles, setting the city on fire.

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Fast-forward to Thursday, a small group gathered at the corner of Florence and Normandy to remember one of Los Angeles' darkest days. Mollie Bell was spotted bringing her photo albums.

No one is celebrating the deaths, the injuries, the looting and destruction brought by the 1992 riots. But they do see the slow arc of the moral universe.

"Once we stood up, a lot of white folks stand up, right along with us," Bell said, a South Los Angeles resident.

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Rodney King's beating was caught by a man who taped the four officers on his home video camera. These days, almost everyone has a camera with them.

It seems almost commonplace to see police beatings, violent arrests and deadly shootings caught on cell phone videos, and for some towns and cities, body cam video from officers at the scene. The videos validate communities who have long said policing is different in poor neighborhoods versus those from wealthier neighborhoods.

Civil rights attorney Connie Rice has long pushed for police reform. There's still work to be done, she says, but there are signs police embrace change.

"The cops don't get promoted for arresting kids," Rice told FOX 11.

Back at Florence and Normandy, it's hard to talk about the 1992 LA riots without talking about George Floyd. The death of the Black man from Minneapolis sparked protests worldwide, but the guilty verdict of the officer who killed him is bringing some sense of optimism.


Denetta King, Rodney's first wife, says she is praying for change.

"It's hard because I want Rodney to be here," Denetta said. Rodney died in 2012 at 47. 

"Are things changing?" FOX 11's Susan Hirasuna asked.

"Yeah... yeah," Denetta responded.