L.A. Riots: A Look Back 20 Years Later

BET.com takes a look at the riots that shocked the nation.

Speaking Out for Rodney - Wendell Pierce, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Wiz Khalifa and more notables express condolences on Twitter after Rodney King died Sunday in an apparent drowning accident. In 1991, King became the national symbol of police brutality when he was viciously beaten by Los Angeles Police officers. Over the years, he struggled with substance abuse and run-ins with the law, but recently published his memoir detailing his journey to sobriety.?Britt Middleton  (Photo: AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

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L.A. Riots: 20 Years Later - In 1992, Los Angeles was embroiled in a tinderbox of rising racial tensions, social inequality and police oppression after four police officers stood trial for the brutal beating of Rodney King, an unarmed Black man, during a traffic stop. On April 29, 1992, the announcement of the officers’ acquittals ignited close to a week of deadly riots that left 53 people dead and $1 billion of damage to the city. — Naeesa Aziz  (Photo: AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

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Caught on Tape - King’s beating took place the night of March 2, 1991, when he was cornered by police after a high-speed chase on the freeway. When police were unable to subdue King (who was under the influence of alcohol) to handcuff and arrest him, he was shot with a stun gun and then beaten with batons by three white police officers and one Latino officer. The beating was caught on tape by a bystander, and its release and the photos of King’s bloodied and bruised face shocked the nation. (Photo: AP Photo/George Holliday/Courtesy of KTLA Los Angeles, File)

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Burning and Looting - Following the acquittal of the officers, rioters began looting and setting fire to businesses and buildings around the city.  (Photo: AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

Korean Connection - Just months before the Rodney King verdict, the light sentence of a Korean shopkeeper prosecuted for the shooting death of Latasha Harlins, a Black teen, set off the anger of many in the Black community in Los Angeles who felt taken advantage of by Korean business owners. As the riots gained steam, the Korean community formed armed community teams in the absence of police.  (Photo: AP Photo)

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Korean Connection - Just months before the Rodney King verdict, the light sentence of a Korean shopkeeper prosecuted for the shooting death of Latasha Harlins, a Black teen, set off the anger of many in the Black community in Los Angeles who felt taken advantage of by Korean business owners. As the riots gained steam, the Korean community formed armed community teams in the absence of police. (Photo: AP Photo)

Curfew Instated  - As the rioting intensified, a dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed in large portions of the city. California National Guard troops were deployed to help keep control as L.A. police were unable and, in some cases, unwilling to battle the crowds.(Photo: REUTERS/Lou Dematteis)

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Curfew Instated  - As the rioting intensified, a dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed in large portions of the city. California National Guard troops were deployed to help keep control as L.A. police were unable and, in some cases, unwilling to battle the crowds.(Photo: REUTERS/Lou Dematteis)

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“Can’t We All Get Along” - After nearly three straight days of violence, on May 1, 1992, King appeared in a recorded interview and stated, "People, I just want to say … can we all get along?" Broadcast on local and national news programs around the country, the statement would come to define the riots and King’s public image for the moment. (Photo: REUTERS/Lou Dematteis)

Crisis Over - After another two days of chaos, L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley announces the crisis is over as the rioting finally slows to a halt amid the increased presence of the National Guard.(Photo: Courtesy Los Angeles Times)

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Crisis Over - After another two days of chaos, L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley announces the crisis is over as the rioting finally slows to a halt amid the increased presence of the National Guard.(Photo: Courtesy Los Angeles Times)

Federal Charges - Amid the riots, the U.S. Justice Department announced it would open a federal investigation into potential civil rights violations by the involved officers. The verdict in the federal trial came nearly one year later, on April 17, 1993. Two of the officers were found guilty and the remaining two were acquitted.   (Photo: REUTERS/Lee Celano /Landov)

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Federal Charges - Amid the riots, the U.S. Justice Department announced it would open a federal investigation into potential civil rights violations by the involved officers. The verdict in the federal trial came nearly one year later, on April 17, 1993. Two of the officers were found guilty and the remaining two were acquitted.  (Photo: REUTERS/Lee Celano /Landov)

Compensated - King was eventually awarded $3.8 million in damages from the city of Los Angeles for the attack.(Photo: REUTERS/Dan Levine /Landov)

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Compensated - King was eventually awarded $3.8 million in damages from the city of Los Angeles for the attack.(Photo: REUTERS/Dan Levine /Landov)

Race Today - Although many of the underlying problems that sparked the riots still exist today, a recent study by Loyola Marymount University found that L.A. is unlikely to see a repeat of the riots in the future.  (Photo: AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

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Race Today - Although many of the underlying problems that sparked the riots still exist today, a recent study by Loyola Marymount University found that L.A. is unlikely to see a repeat of the riots in the future. (Photo: AP Photo/Matt Sayles)