Sample History Essays on the 1992 Los Angeles riots

Christened the Rodney King riots, the 1992 Los Angeles riots was an all-out riot marked by looting and arson. The riots, which were also characterized by murder and violent protests across Los Angeles County, led to losses estimated at over $1 billion and lead to the death of 63 people and over 2,300 people injured. While the majority of the rioters were African Americans, they were joined by Latinos, who pitied themselves against law enforcement officers drawn from Los Angeles Police Department, state National Guard and the army personnel. The law enforcers were joined by Korean American vigilantes in a bid to protect their properties which were targeted by looters and rioters[1].

The six-day riots were sparked by the brutal beating of Rodney King, an African American, by four police officers and their subsequent acquittal by a grand jury. This was despite the fact that the brutal beatings were videotaped and subsequently aired across various television networks. The disturbances offered a window into how divided the American society is when it comes issues of racial discrimination and racial intolerance. Due to the escalating violence and the overwhelming crowd, the response by President Bush was appropriate. Without the intervention of the 7th Infantry and 1st Marine Divisions, the financial loses and fatalities would have been greater. It was also in order for him to condemn mob brutality during his address to the nation. He also order for an inquiry into the riots, which was appropriate.[2]

Despite the civil rights progresses made in the country since the riots, the underlying issues of police brutality and racial intolerance are still rampant in the country. Over the past few years, many African Americans have died as a result of excessive use of force by law enforcement officers. Like the 1992, they sparked protests which have sometimes turned violent.



Morris, Regan. LA riots: How 1992 changed the police. BBC News 29 April 2012.

Nelson, Jack. “Bush Deplores Mob Brutality, Orders Justice Inquiry,”  The Tech (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).



[1] Regan Morris, LA riots: How 1992 changed the police, BBC News 29 April 2012.

[2] Jack Nelson, “Bush Deplores Mob Brutality, Orders Justice Inquiry,”  The Tech (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).