Advertisement
  1. News

Peaceful gatherings mark 25th anniversary of Rodney King riots

Peace rally participant Dennis Ojogho, 22, stands at Florence and Normandie avenues in Los Angeles on Saturday to remember the 25th anniversary of the rioting and looting sparked by the verdict in the Rodney King case.
Published Apr. 30, 2017

LOS ANGELES — Twenty-five years ago, a jury acquitted four white police officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King, sparking looting and violence that would turn into one of the deadliest race riots in American history.

On Saturday, hundreds of people marked the anniversary with marches advocating peace and hope.

A "Future Fest" began at Florence and Normandie avenues — the South Los Angeles intersection where rioting erupted — and was followed by a community festival.

Organizer Eric Ares, 34, is a lifelong resident of the area. He remembers the electricity going out in his house at the start of the rioting, leaving his family essentially cut off from the outside world without lights or a TV.

"For the next couple of nights, there was this fear going on," he said. "We were huddled up in the living room."

When he did venture outside, Ares saw plumes of smoke coming from places where buildings had been torched. But a small restaurant on the corner, a liquor store and other local businesses were untouched, he said.

People had a "real feeling of anger and frustration," but it was mainly directed at police, politicians and businesses they believed oppressed, neglected or exploited them, Ares said.

Graffiti on walls warned: "No justice, no peace," he said.

"I remember being at the park on the third day, people screaming: 'We're not gonna let them do it to us anymore," Ares said.

But while the march and festival marks the events of a quarter-century ago, the commemoration also looked to a future where community organizations are working to deal with problems still confronting South L.A., Ares said.

"There's still extreme poverty. There's still issues of law enforcement … education and health care and access to good jobs," he said. "But the difference is, we have a plan."

About five miles north of the intersection, a peace parade was held in the Koreatown neighborhood, where tensions between black residents and Korean-American immigrant storekeepers led to markets, shops and gas stations being looted or burned. Some merchants stood guard with guns to protect their stores.

In the wake of the riots, community groups reached out and tried to mend fences.

On Saturday, several hundred people marched in an enthusiastic show of unity that included Korean drummers in traditional costume, a South Los Angeles drumline, taekwando students and schoolchildren from Watts.

K. Choi, 73, of Arcadia, was among the marchers. He helped organize the original peace march days after the rioting and said he believed racial relations had vastly improved.

"At that time it was different," he said. "The politics and the social problems, whatever, all commingled together and then things exploded."

"But now is a very different situation," he said. "All those relationships are getting better between (the) Korean and black community, including (the) Spanish community … we're getting along very good, and I hope we're getting a better future."

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Reynaldo Figueroa-Sanabria, charged with murder in the stabbing deaths of John Travlos and Germana Morin aboard Travlos' houseboat in 2013, takes the stand in his own defense Tuesday. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    Reynaldo Figueroa-Sanabria, accused of killing two aboard a houseboat in 2013, told a different version of the same story his girlfriend told. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
  2. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    One of the messages included a picture of a pellet gun, Tampa police said.
  3. The lobby bar at the Current Hotel on Rocky Point in Tampa serves eclectic cocktails and locally brewed coffee. SARA DINATALE  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Take a look inside Tampa Bay’s newest boutique hotel.
  4. Adjunct faculty at St. Petersburg College voted to unionize Tuesday, joining thousands of other adjuncts across Florida who are fighting for better working conditions and pay. [Times]
    The employees are the seventh group in Florida to join Service Employees International Union in recent yeas as it pushes for investment in the state’s higher education institutions.
  5. A pauper's cemetery was established at the northeast corner of property now occupied by King High School in Tampa, location of the school gymnasium (tall building at top left) and the main parking lot. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Conflicting versions emerge of where Ridgewood Cemetery was located. One thing is certain: It was ignored or forgotten.
  6. The University of South Florida ranked ahead of UCF, FIU and FAU in the U.S. News & World Report's Global University Rankings. [USF handout]
    The University of Florida finished 105th, while USF came in at 310. Harvard led the world.
  7. An anti-government protester raises his hands during clashes with police in Santiago, Chile, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. The government said Tuesday that 15 people have died in five days of rioting, arson and violent clashes that were sparked by a hike in subway fares and have almost paralyzed the country. RODRIGO ABD  |  AP
    Riot police used tear gas and streams of water to break up marches by rock-throwing demonstrators in several streets of Santiago on Tuesday.
  8. The Florida Bar wants the state’s highest court to immediately suspend the law license of Tampa attorney Jose Angel Toledo, ex-husband of state Rep. Jackie Toledo. FACEBOOK PAGE  |  Su Abogado Hispano
    José Angel Toledo, ex-husband of state Rep. Jackie Toledo, abandoned his law practice, according to the petition from the Florida Bar.
  9. West Palm Beach police spokeswoman Molly Anderson said during a news conference on Tuesday that Department of Homeland Security agents arrested Rudelmiro Santizo Perez on Monday in Houston as he tried to flee to Guatemala. West Palm Beach Police Department/Facebook
    Police began investigating on Oct. 3 when a hidden camera was found inside an employee bathroom at St. Mary’s Medical Center.
  10. This Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, photo shows the graded dirt surface where sod will be placed in November inside what will be the stadium for David Beckham’s Inter Miami MLS soccer team that opens its inaugural season in 2020 at the site of the former Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. TIM REYNOLDS  |  AP
    Construction is on schedule, with all signals pointing toward everything being ready for the team’s first home match that’s likely to come in March.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement