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Rodney King Riots Protest Movement PaperOn April 29, 1992, A week of non stop urban violence and mayhem erupted in the streets and cities of Los Angeles, the riots were commenced by the unjust trial that let the four white police officers set free of any charges. All four officers were captured on videotape beating on a black motorist named, Rodney King after a traffic stop gone wild. The Rodney King riots impacted society greatly by presenting the nations people with an understanding of how racism was still present in america. A reminder that “justice for all” was still a long way off being set in stone and to followed by most people. When the justice for Mr King was not given rightfully, the people from the streets who went through alike problems hear about it, they immediately want change. From gang members who initiated the truce that helped decrease street violence, to the average high school student being active in protest around the city, the riots were portrayed heavily by the people affected by the beating. At these times, around the clock news and live television coverage followed but also in Ice Cube’s  “The Predator” and Rodney King’s speech to the city of Los Angeles.Rodney King, intoxicated, speeding down the interstate  had ignored all police sirens and warnings. He led the California Highway Patrol on a eight mile chase down freeways and city streets. Later released in the news, he said he feared being brought back to jail for avoiding his parole so he ignored being pulled over. A man nearby, who happened to have his video camera ready, taped Kings arrest. “The videotape showed King receiving numbers of blows from the four officers’ night sticks”(Culver, K. B (n.d.). The tapes were released to the tv stations and soon the incident was being replayed on national news broadcasts for millions to view. The acquitting of the officers in the King beating was the very last straw of the whole entire situation. Within hours of the verdict, soon to be the largest riot in Los Angeles history engulfed the area. During this time, new hip hop artist began to emerge and spread their voices to the streets and beyond. An upcoming rapper from Los Angeles named Ice Cube released a track a couple days after the beating was televised nationally. “In the lyrics he references to police brutality, drug dealing, and racism brought to blacks during the times.”(Benson, S., Brannen, Jr. 2009) Cube personally unloads a verbal threat to the policemen that beat up Rodney King: “Not guilty, the filthy devils tried to kill me / When the news get to the hood the n*ggas will be / Hotter than cayenne pepper, cuss, bust / Kickin’ up dust is a must.” Through the music itself, the needs and wants of the people of South L.A. were finally heard and spread between the communities. Tensions would continue to rise quickly within South L.A faster than ever before.Angry black and Hispanic youths and adults began attacking white motorists and robbing other convenient stores in the areas. One man affected by the riots was passing through the city in his truck on his daily commute home. A man named Reginald Denny who nearly died after being pulled from his truck was beaten with bricks and bats by some of  the angered residents of southern Los Angeles. A helicopter hovered above recording the incident, which was seen on news shows nationwide instantly. “Unarmed African American teens who lived nearby saw the footage on television and ran out to rescue the unconscious man.” (Benson, S., Brannen, Jr., D. E., & Valentine, R. 2009) Luckily the man lived thanks to the graciousness and love from his saviors. Although the man who was beaten and taken out of his truck was caucasian and had no part in the beating, African American boys helped the man for his own safety regardless of race or color. Most people began to realize the arguing wasn’t about race and discrimination but solely the injustices of the court case and how they failed their people. This is was one of the many incidents of the riots that left many innocent people injured severely. As the afternoon sun turned to evening dusk, the violence spread quickly from south central Los Angeles to other parts of the city.  The millions of people who saw this videotaped beating were outraged. African-Americans had long complained of police brutality. With the video, everyone witnessed it themselves. One month earlier, the black community in Los Angeles was also heartbroken mourning the loss of 15-year-old Latasha Harlins who was shot in the back of the head by a Korean merchant who later that year was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, but also served zero prison time as well. When the all-white jury in Simi Valley acquitted the four police officers on trial in the King beating,the total outrage turned to violence in a heartbeat. As the man himself, Rodney King calls for an end to the violence on May 1, 1992: “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?”(Culver, K. 2003 Los Angeles). After three days of  brutal violence and looting, the riot was finally stopped with the help of the National Guard, Marine Corps and Kings’ short but monumental speech. The speech brought hope to the entire catastrophe that took  place because the man who “started” the riots wanted to end them.  “Between fifty and sixty people had died and two thousand more were injured and damage estimates climbed to nearly $1 billion” (Jordan, J 1993, June). The damage of the property and communities could be repaired but the lives lost and actions already done will live within us forever.To conclude, The L.A. Riots are a reminder of the instability and chaos that could erupt from the criticization of a community and groups of people who could be sensitive to problems that happened earlier in time. It has also elevated how the actual racial composition of juries are made up for future references. Looking back to the ending of the riots gives a sense of the healing that is offered, along with the voices of the streets that still live on to this day. For the new generations of people to come, the legacies of the people who helped fight for their own injustices will live on forever and will teach the new millennials the means of continuing to connect the dots between racism and poverty to the criminal justice system so new protest wont get out of hand like the ways that earlier generations of people failed to learn and earlier politicians and political leaders often failed to do so.

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