Saturday I had the pleasure of previewing LA92, a documentary that takes an in depth look at the 1992 riots in LA, 25 years later after the verdict of the Rodney King case. Produced by Simon Chinn (“Man on Wire”), two-time Oscar winner, and Emmy winner Johnathan Chinn (“American High”) and directed by Oscar winner Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin (“Undefeated”). The documentary was so profound and it was very synonymous with the cases we have seen displayed within the past few years in regards to the murder of Trayvon Martin, Alton Sterling, Mike Brown and countless others.
In 1992 I was four years old so at the time I barely paid attention to what was going on in the world around me. TLC was my favorite girl group at the time and I loved to dress up as the Pink Ranger from Power Rangers. It never dawned on me at four years old that on the other side of the country a black man was brutally beaten by men who are supposed to protect and serve us. What I truly found fascinating is that even though technology was not as advanced during that time, an witness to the brutal beating of Rodney King, was still able to be caught on camera, in its entirety.
On April 29, 1992, the country watched and awaited to hear the verdict , hoping for some sort of justice, instead, the officers that were charged with excessive force were all found not guilty and while I knew the outcome of this particular point in history, again, I was never fully aware of all the detailed events that took place during that time.
This documentary really dives deep, not only into the trial but also into the state LA was in during that time. I honestly do not remember what I did the most while watching this documentary, between shaking my head and crying, I was appalled, annoyed, disgusted and disheartened. Watching this documentary was so surreal for me because it brought me back to the riots that took place in both Ferguson (2014) and Baltimore (2015).
As I grew older, I never thought to dig deep into the case of Rodney King and look back on what actually happened, if you are to google the eyewitness account of the beating of Rodney King you will find several videos online, however, it wasn’t until I sat in my chair and viewed this documentary that my eyes were glued to the actions displayed by officers of the LAPD. While I wanted to view the video in its entirety I couldn’t bear witness to the brutality being displayed by several white men whose excuses were “fearing for their safety.” Within the past few years we have heard that line time and time again as black men who were killed by police officers received no justice, even with eyewitness accounts, proving that the justice system does not protect people of color.
The 1992 riot in LA, till this day, holds the record of the most destructive riot of all time. Rioting is never ok and it’s a Catch 22, honestly, we are not heard or seen until we behave the way they hear us and see us. At what point do you as a minority in this county, who is constantly treated unjustly based on the color of your skin just give up and say enough is enough “Burn Baby Burn.”
You will have the opportunity to check out the premier of LA92 on Sunday, April 30th at 9/8c on National Geographic, please check your local listings for this must see documentary.
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