Today, L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned from the NBA for life for making racist remarks. 22 years ago today, L.A. was the scene of one of the bloodiest race riots in modern U.S. history.
After a jury acquitted four white Los Angeles Police Department officers of assault and excessive use of force for the beating of Rodney King, and African-American, on April 26, 1992, rioting and looting spread through the L.A. metropolitan area for the next six days. The beating was caught on tape by an amateur videographer.
In total, 53 people died, over 2,000 were injured, and over 11,000 were arrested. Property damage caused during the riots was estimated to be more that $1 billion.
In 1992, race relations in the city were arguably at an all time low. Today, however, the city and nation seemingly came together to call for action against Sterling in a united stand against racism.
In an interview with the L.A. Times just before his death in 2012, King remarked that while his beating, the officers’ acquittal, and ensuing riots and deaths were terrible things, they might have actually started the healing process for a city that was in disharmony.
“It changed things,” he said of the frank conversations on race the riots brought about. “It made the world a better place.”