For 22 murder victims, LA Riots leave legacy of justice eluded

But the human toll is the most disturbing legacy of the riots. Some 53 people were killed in what police have classified as riot-related homicides and accidents. Of those, some 22 homicides remain classified as open and unsolved.


For five days in 1992, the nation watched as entire neighborhoods in Los Angeles descended into violent chaos.

Twenty years ago, Los Angeles erupted in riots after four cops were acquitted in the videotaped beating of Rodney King, but during an uprising supposedly in the name of justice, some people got away with murder.

During the five “Days of Outrage,” a disbelieving nation watched on television as looters broke store windows and emptied shelves, Korean grocers sat atop their stores with assault rifles and fires were set throughout South Central and other parts of the city. Beatings, including the brutal one administered to truck driver Reginald Denny, were captured on video by news crews.

“Can’t we all just get along?” pleaded King as the city was plunged into violent chaos. The phrase became a rallying cry for a city determined to heal after being torn apart by racial divisions.

The police were overwhelmed, and the National Guard was called in to help quell the violence. When the mayhem subsided five days later, nearly 1,600 buildings were destroyed or damaged and more than 2,300 people were hurt. The final cost of the riot was estimated at more than a billion dollars, including $735 million in property damage.

But the human toll is the most disturbing legacy of the riots. Some 53 people were killed in what police have classified as riot-related homicides and accidents. Of those, some 22 homicides remain classified as open and unsolved.

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