25 years later, witnesses remember the 1992 L.A. riots

An aerial view of damage during the 1992 L.A. Riots.
(Image credit: Mike Nelson/AFP/Getty Images)

As the 25th anniversary of the L.A. riots approaches, witnesses who watched as stores went up in flames and angry cries filled the streets are remembering what unfolded on April 29, 1992.

The riots began after four white police officers were acquitted of assault after being videotaped kicking and striking black motorist Rodney King while he was on the ground. After the Watts riot in the 1960s, white flight hit South Los Angeles, and black residents said they were targeted by police officers because of the color of their skin. Tensions were also high between residents and newly-arrived Korean immigrants running neighborhood stores; a few weeks before the King beating, a Korean liquor store owner shot and killed a black teenager over a bottle of orange juice. For many witnesses to the riots who spoke with The Associated Press, all of this made it easy to see why South Los Angeles went up in flames.

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