Watching LA 92 feels like deja vu. The raw, honest, dark film is the cracked mirror of America, which shamefully reflects the harsh truth: not much has changed since the Los Angeles riots 25 years ago.
The film is about race and police relations, an uncomfortable topic that unaddressed has been the country’s cancer. It began on March 3, 1991. Rodney King was pulled over for a traffic violation and instead of a ticket, he got struck over 56 times, a few broken bones and a concussion. When all four policemen involved in the brutal King beating were acquitted, tension in LA came to a head due to the justice systems lackadaisical approach to crimes against Blacks and colored in the community. This is the spark that ignited the fire.
In short, the people were mad as hell, and justifiably so. “I am angry and I have a right to that anger,” expressed Rep. Maxine Waters at the time. However, others in the community chose to express their own frustrations differently; they chose to riot. The riots, which lasted for about a week, were the cause of numerous injuries, deaths, and millions of dollars worth of damage to properties throughout the LA area. One older Black businessman cries, “It’s not right what you’re doing. I worked too hard for this and you call this Black Power?” as a crowd of looters destroy his storefront. Images such as this are showcased as well as civil neighborhood wars between Blacks and Koreans.
The looting, shooting, arson and tearing down of communities was the aftermath of a community silenced by the law and the film is a history lesson of what happens when the police, lawmakers, the judges and the community are divided. The recent increase in the killings of unarmed black men seem to be a repeat of the past, making this film one of the most important documentaries right now.
Perhaps it’s time to look back so that we can learn how to move forward, and if there was only one word to describe LA 92, it would be necessary