Los Angeles, 10 Years Later
A Close Look at a Changed City a Decade After the Riots
April, 2002 -- On the 10th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots, National Public Radio presents a series of stories looking at how the city has changed. The segments will appear between Saturday, April 27, and Monday, April 29, the day of the anniversary of the jury verdict clearing the police officers who beat motorist Rodney King. That verdict sparked three days of violence, arson and looting -- the nation's worst civil unrest of the 20th Century.
Police training in Los Angeles
Photo: Mandalit Del Barco, NPR
In Part One, correspondent Karen Grigsby Bates examines the changing African-American community of Los Angeles. The South Central neighborhood, scene of much of the rioting, is now mostly Hispanic. Blacks are moving into new areas, and dispersing through the suburbs. Bates talks to several residents and business owners about their changing neighborhoods.
In Part Two, NPR's Mandalit Del Barco looks at how the Los Angeles Police Department is still working to improve its image. One big step it has taken: diversifying its ranks. Non-whites now make up a majority of the force. The department's image has improved since the riots, but challenges remain, as recent corruption scandals have shown.
In Part Three, NPR's Ina Jaffe reports that since the riots, African Americans in L.A. have lost some of the political influence needed to keep focus on their issues. The black population has dwindled to about 10 percent, and the coalition that kept Mayor Tom Bradley in office for 20 years has disintegrated.
In Part Four, NPR's Andy Bowers reports on the movement of large parts of Los Angeles to secede from the city.
Weekend Edition Saturday takes its own look at L.A. in this hour-long special.
A Morning Edition commentary by Prisco Serrano, reflecting on the pictures he took of the rioting for a youth magazine.
NPR News Coverage from April 1992
In his famous plea, Rodney King asks his fellow Los Angelenos: "Can we all just get along?"
NPR host Scott Simon talks with entertainment critic Elvis Mitchell, who was in the middle of the madness.
On the night of the verdict, with the violence just beginning, L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley pleads for calm and calls for justice.
Ina Jaffe reports from the First African Methodist Episcopal Church, where most of the city's black leaders and hundreds of residents gathered on the night of the verdicts.
Los Angeles member station KCRW asks, Which Way L.A?
San Francisco member station KQED's The California Report offers a five-part series marking the 10th anniversary of the riots.