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Police Brutality Set Off The L.A. Riots 25 Years Ago. We've Learned Nothing Since.
The directors of "LA92" discuss the legacy of one of the most destructive riots in American history.

Go watch the video of Rodney King being beaten. Really watch it. You’ll see eight brutal minutes of an unarmed black man being kicked, clubbed, and tasered within an inch of his life by LAPD officers ― men sworn to protect and serve.

When the clandestinely shot video of King’s beating came out in 1991, it sent shockwaves throughout the entire country, sparking a conversation about racial bias and police brutality. The four police officers charged in the King beating were acquitted, and the city saw one of the most destructive riots in American history.

April 29th will mark the 25th anniversary of the LA riots, 25 years since a mirror was held up to the face of America and revealed a grotesque reflection. Anniversaries are about looking back. They are about legacy. But what is the legacy of the three days of carnage that ensued back then, sending much of Los Angeles into a deluge of violence, looting, and burning buildings?

In their new National Geographic documentary “LA92,” filmmakers T.J. Martin and Daniel Lindsay go in-depth to explore the legacy of the riots, forgoing the usual talking heads and experts and using only raw, unedited archival footage, leaving it up to the audience to make up their minds about the meaning of the riots.

There’s a moment in the documentary, one day into the deluge, where a Korean shop owner defiantly defends her store from a band of black and Latino looters.

“This is America!” She screams at the crowd. “This is America!”

The moment, is the film, and the riots themselves, in microcosm. In other words ― the riots were complicated, and messy. They weren’t just black-and-white. The underlying tensions weren’t just about the beating, but the racist justice system that allowed the cops to go free and, just a year earlier, Korean shop owner Soon Ja Du to go free in the senseless killing of Latasha Harlins.

I spoke with T.J. Martin and Dan Lindsay about what they learned about the riots in retelling this story on film ― and what America has yet to learn.

HuffPost: The film opens and closes with black-and-white footage from the Watts Riots on 1965, which juxtapose in such a stunning way with the LA Riots which took place decades later. There’s this sense of history repeating itself. Why do you think this keeps happening ― the beatings and killings of unarmed black folk, and the subsequent unrest?

Dan Lindsay: Our country has never reconciled the inherent contradictions of its founding. The people that wrote the document that said all men are created equal owned human beings. That’s just mind-blowing. As a country, we’ve never been able to reconcile that. And as long as we continue to have marginalized communities that don’t have a voice, as long as that happens, you shouldn’t be surprised if uprisings or unrest happen. It’s happened throughout all human history, throughout all of the world, from the same circumstances.

HP: The film is derived entirely from archival footage of news broadcasts, court videos, aerial footage and so on. What was the reasoning behind that, and what was the process like to organize all those hours of footage into a cohesive narrative?

T.J. Martin: We wanted to take a unique approach that would maybe inspire a unique perspective, and ultimately create a new way of thinking about these events. We didn’t want the the filter of an expert telling you what you think. It was less about deconstructing the anatomy of the events. It became much more immersive as an experience.

DL: We wanted to challenge the audience to begin thinking about these things, to have conversations, to ask the question: What do we need to do to make it so this never happens again? Because clearly we tend to have these cycles of things. We deal with it for a little bit, then everybody goes back to their lives.

HP: There are a lot of interesting moments with the media in this film, little vignettes where we see anchors right before going live, adjusting their hair and doing their makeup before launching into somber broadcasts. What do you think the role of the media was, and continues to be, in conversations about police brutality?

DL: That was a really intentional device because we had concerns that, not all of this, but a lot of this, was created by the media. The media was complicit in creating the events that led to this. We wanted to find a way to imply the idea and that was showing the getting ready. It indicates the facade of the media. It’s presentation. It’s business as usual. To us, that’s representative of America. We have this facade, this image we sell, that we don’t necessarily live up to.

HP: It’s been 25 years since the riots, and while we haven’t had anything as destructive as that happen again ― there’s a sense that it’s only a matter of time. What, to you, is the legacy of the riots?

T.J.:  I think what came out of it was for a short moment, an engaged conversation on race and class. But that same short engaged moment of conversation happened after 65 Watts. That same short engaged moment of conversation happened during the race riots in Detroit. These spurts operate as fads. It’s a symptom and also an extension of the problem. I don’t know about legacy. To me I just think of [the L.A. riots] as one chapter of an ongoing story.

HP: What’s stopping us from bringing this story to a close then?

T.J.: We haven’t figured out the tools of how to talk about this thing where it becomes a constructive conversation. The moment you bring up race and class, it becomes a debate. But it’s not about a debate. There are marginalized communities. This is real.

DL: But we’re trying to activate the audience’s own realization of these things, right? Near the end of the film, you see Bill Clinton watching Bush give his address after the riots, and you realize the riots were at least part of what made Clinton president. And then you think of today, when you hear phrases like “law and order,” the [fear-mongering], and then Trump becomes president. It’s our collective society’s reaction to things, these shifts.

HP: There are moments in this film that are difficult to watch ― the looting of businesses, especially Korean-American businesses. The beating of the white truck driver Reginald Denny. When we talk about riots and unrest, there’s always criticism about rioters destroying their own communities, or resorting to violence instead of peace. What would be your reaction to someone who saw this film and felt the black and Latino rioters weren’t justified in their acts?

T.J.: If anyone were to come with that type of argument, they are neglecting the visceral violence that happened to Rodney King. What we try to do, at the very least, is set context. King just happened to have a video. These atrocities, these abuses of power have been happening since the birth of the country. So by isolating members of a community (who were rightfully so angry) and dismissing 400 years of horrible treatment of one specific community…. that alone is an unfair analysis of the situation, period. We are not watching the same movie.

"No one needs an AR-15!"

-the watts riots

-the 1967 Detroit riot

-the 1968 MLK Jr riots

-the New York City black out

-the Rodney King riots

-the world trade organization riots in Seattle

-the Ferguson riots

-The Baltimore riots.

Not to mention the almost 3 million other times someone uses a gun to defend them self.

REPOST: Anytime you hear someone criticizing black people for rioting, share this info with them.

FACT:
Prior to the 1960s, rioting (or race riots), consisted of whites burning down and destroying black communities simply because they didn’t want them there. Mostly in major northern, western and Midwestern cities, where the population of black citizens grew tremendously due to the great migration. Blacks fled from Jim Crow south to seek refuge and to find jobs and homes. The competition was fierce, thousands and thousands of blacks flooded the cities resulting in “white flight”.
White people were angry that blacks were taking over jobs and building their own communities. Even white soldiers that have been stationed away from home were furious when they came back to this “change”.
This is how race riots started. Whites were not too happy about desegregation in their cities. With subliminal attempts to keep their city segregated, blacks were not allowed in the “white” part of town. Black homes and communities were destroyed and burned down by angry white mobs and countless deaths occurred.
Here are ONLY just a few examples of race riots that took place in our country:

1921: May 30- June 1. Tulsa, OK. Black Wall Street Massacre
1922. May 6, June 9 Kirven, Texas
1923: January 1. Rosewood, FL Rosewood Massacre
1930: October 12-15 Sainte Genevieve, MO
1931: March Scottsboro, AL
1935: March 19 Harlem, NY Harlem Riot of 1935
1943: May Mobile, AL
1943: June Los Angeles, CA Zoot Suit Riot
1943: June 15-16 Beaumont, TX Beaumont Race Riot of 1943
1943: June 20 Detroit, MI Detroit Race Riot
1943:August 1 Harlem,NY Harlem Riot of 1943
1949: August-September Peekskill, NY
1951: July 11-12 Cicero County, IL Cicero Race Riot
1958: Maxton, NC Battle of Hayes Pond
1959: February Pearl River County, MS
1960: April Biloxi Beach, MS
1962: October Oxford, MS Uni of Mississippi
1963: September 30. Oxford, MS Ole Miss Riot
1963: July 11 Cambridge, MD Cambridge riot of 1963
1963: May 13 Birmingham, AL Bombings
1964: July Brooklyn, NY
1964: July 18 Harlem, NY Harlem Riot of 1964
1964: July 24-26 Rochester, NY Rochester riot
1964: August Jersey City, NJ
1964: August Paterson, NJ
1964: August Elizabeth, NJ
1964: August Chicago, IL
1964: August 28 Philadelphia, PA Philadelphia 1964 race riot
1965: March 7 Selma, AL Bloody Sunday
1965: July Springfield, MA
1965: August 11-17 Los Angeles, CA Watts Riot

… only to name a few….
(Image: Race Riot in Detroit, 1943)

Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit Riots Drama Adds Two Rising Stars 

Kathryn Bigelow’s next project, centered on the Detroit riots, is shaping up, adding two rising stars, Jacob Latimore and Algee Smith, to the roster.

John Boyega also is attached to the project, which will be set against the backdrop of Detroit’s devastating riots that took place over five summer days in 1967. Smith and Latimore will have lead roles in the ensemble film.

John Boyega Walks Into a Racially Charged Nightmare in Kathryn Bigelow's 'Detroit' Trailer

Kathryn Bigelow is the only woman ever to have won an Academy Award for Best Director. Naturally, there’s lots of anticipation for Detroit, her third consecutive based-on-real-events political drama following 2009’s Oscar-feted The Hurt Locker and 2012’s Zero Dark Thirty. Unlike those military sagas, however, Bigelow’s latest will focus on a conflict in a U.S. city — specifically, the 1967 Detroit riots. Judging by the film’s new trailer (watch it above), it’ll be one of the summer’s most explosive releases.

Bigelow’s film will be a fictionalized retelling of the Algiers Motel incident, in which three black men were killed and nine other people (seven black men, two white women) were injured during a violent run-in with cops amidst the ongoing 12th Street Riot. It’ll star John Boyega as a security guard stationed in the area, and who — on the basis of the above trailer — walks into a racially charged nightmare involving murderous police officers, innocent victims, and a mounting city-wide conflagration. With scenes of large-scale street demonstrations, corrupt officials, and carefully covered up crimes, it looks the type of heavyweight work for which Bigelow has become known, and should be one of the summer’s bleakest – and most dramatically weighty – releases.

Co-starring Will Poulter, Jacob Latimore, Jason Mitchell, Anthony Mackie, and John Krasinski, Detroit will aim to make some serious political noise when it arrives in theaters on August 4.

Kathryn Bigelow Flashback: Watch the ‘Cellphone’ Scene from ‘The Hurt Locker’ With Commentary From Her and Writer Mark Boal:

Read more from Yahoo Movies:

Lemme hear one more white person say that White people don’t start nor participate in Race riots.

1824: October 18          Providence, R.I.             Hardscrabble Riots

1829: June- August:       Cincinnati, OH            Cincinnati Riots of 1829

1831:                                Providence, R.I.              Snow Town Riots

1834: July 7                       New York City, N, Y     Farren Riots

1834: August 12                 Philadelphia, PA            Flying Horse Riot

1836: April and July      Cincinnati, OH                Cincinnati riots of 1836

1841: September              Cincinnati, OH                Cincinnati riots of 1841

1855:                                 Cincinnati, OH

1863: March 6                   Detroit, MI                  Detroit Race Riot of 1863

1863: July 13-16.              NYC City, NY            New York City Draft Riots

1866: May 1-3                    Memphis, Tennessee   Memphis Riots of 1866

1866: June                          Charleston, SC

1866: July 30.                 New Orleans, LA        New Orleans Riot of 1866

1867:                              Pulaski, Tennessee       Pulaski Riot

1868: September 28     Opelousas, LA                   Opelousas Massacre

1868: September 19       Camilla, Georgia              Camilla Riot of 1868

1870:                                 Eutaw, Alabama             Eutaw Riot of 1870

1870: June                          Alamance, N.C.                 Kirk-Holden War

1870: October 20             Laurens, SC                       Laurens County Riot

1871: March                        Meridian, MS         Meridian Race Riot of 1871

1872:                                  Louisiana

1873: April 13                     Colfax, LA                             Colfax Massacre

1874: July 29                  Vicksburg, MS                  Vicksburg Riot of 1874

1874: September 14      New Orleans, LA               Liberty Place Riot

1874: August                 Coushatta, Louisiana     Coushatta Massacre

1874: November 3          Eufaula, Alabama            Election Riot of 1874

1875: September 1          Yazoo City, MS        Yazoo City Race Riot of 1875

1875: September 4         Clinton, Mississippi         The Clinton Riot

1876: July 4                        Hamburg, SC                       Hamburg Massacre

1884:                                Cincinnati, OH

1891: October 18           Omaha, NE                         Omaha riot of 1891.

1898: October 12             Virden, IL                            Virden Massacre

1898:  November       Wilmington, NC   Wilmington Insurrection of 1898

1898: February 22         Lake City, South Carolina   Lake City Mob

1898: November 9-14    Greenwood County, S.C.    Phoenix Election Riot

1899: April 23                    Coweta, GA                   Lynching of Sam Hose

1899: September 19          Carterville, IL

1919: July 19-23.                      Washington, D.C.

1919: September 25-28. Omaha, Nebraska

1919: May 10                             Charleston, South Carolina

1919: May 25                             Milan, Georgia

1919: July 10                              Longview, Texas

1919: August 30                      Knoxville, Tennessee

1919: August 21, September 16. New York City, New York

1919: August 27-28.               Laurens County, Georgia

1919: October 1                        Elaine,  Arkansas

1919: June 13                             New London, Connecticut

1919: July 3                                Bisbee, Arizona

1919: April 13                             Millen, Georgia

1919: July 7. July 31.               Philadelphia, Penn

1919: July 15                                Port Arthur, Texas

1919: July 21                                Norfolk, Virginia

1919:                                               Argo, Illinois

1919: July 31                               Syracuse, New York

1919:                                              Ocmulgee, Georgia

1919: Mid Aug/Sep.                Baltimore, Maryland

1919: November 13-1.           Wilmington, Delaware

1919:                                          Waukegan, Illinois

1919: August 5                        Lexington, Nebraska

1919: August 18                       Mulberry, Florida

1919: July 27- August 3      Chicago, Illinois

1919: October 4-5                   Gary Indiana.

1919: October 9                       Donora, Pennsylvania

1919: October 10                     Hubbard, Ohio

1919: October 30                   Corbin, Kentucky

1919: November 22              Bogalusa, Louisiana.

1919: May 10                             Sylvester, Georgia.

1919: May 29                            Putnam, Georgia

1919: 31 May                              Monticello, Mississippi

1919: 13 June                             Memphis, Tennessee

1919: June 27                            Macon, Mississippi.

1919: June 27                            Annapolis, Maryland.

1919: July 5                                Scranton, Pennsylvania

1919: July 6                                Dublin, Georgia

1919: July 8                                Coatesville, Pennsylvania

1919: July 9                                Tuscaloosa, Alabama

1919: July 11                             Baltimore, Maryland

1919: July 23                              New Orleans, Louisiana

1919: July 23                              Darby, Pennsylvania

1919: July 26                              Hobson City, Alabama

1919: July 28                             Newberry, South Carolina

1919: July 31                               Bloomington, Illinois

1919: August 4                         Hattiesburg, Mississippi

1919. August 6                         Texarkana, Texas

1919: August 29                      Ocgulmee, Georgia

1920:                                  Chicago, Illinois

1921: May 30- June 1.         Tulsa, OK              Black Wall Street Massacre

1922. May 6, June 9            Kirven, Texas

1923: January 1.                    Rosewood, FL                 Rosewood Massacre

1930: October 12-15             Sainte Genevieve, MO

1931: March                            Scottsboro, AL

1935: March 19                      Harlem, NY                     Harlem Riot of 1935

1943: May                               Mobile, AL

1943: June                            Los Angeles, CA                 Zoot Suit Riot

1943: June 15-16                    Beaumont, TX     Beaumont Race Riot of 1943

1943: June 20                        Detroit, MI                           Detroit Race Riot

1943: August 1                       Harlem, NY                     Harlem Riot of 1943

1949: August-September Peekskill, NY

1951: July 11-12                        Cicero County, IL            Cicero Race Riot

1958:                                           Maxton, NC             Battle of Hayes Pond

1959: February                    Pearl River County, MS

1960: April                             Biloxi Beach, MS

1962: October                        Oxford, MS                     Uni of Mississippi

1963: September 30.         Oxford, MS                             Ole Miss Riot

1963: July 11                             Cambridge, MD              Cambridge riot of 1963 1963: May 13               Birmingham, AL                         Bombings

1964: July                                Brooklyn, NY

1964: July 18                           Harlem, NY                   Harlem Riot of 1964

1964: July 24-26                  Rochester, NY                           Rochester riot

1964: August                         Jersey City, NJ

1964: August                          Paterson, NJ

1964: August                          Elizabeth, NJ

1964: August                          Chicago, IL

1964: August 28                   Philadelphia, PA     Philadelphia race riot

1965: March 7                       Selma, AL                               Bloody Sunday

1965: July                               Springfield, MA

1965: August 11-17                Los Angeles, CA                      Watts Riot

1966: July 18                           Cleveland, Ohio                      Hough Riots

1966: July 4                             Omaha, NE

1966: September                  Dayton, OH

1966: September                  San Francisco, CA           Hunter’s Point

1967: June                               Atlanta, GA

1967: June 6                            Boston, MA                            

1967: June 11                             Tampa, FL                                                Tampa Riot

1967: May 22                    Houston, TX      Texas Southern University Riot 1967: July 22                           Detroit, MI                                                Detroit riot

1967: June 26- July 1            Buffalo, NY                                             Buffalo Riot

1967: July 30                          Milwaukee, WI                   Milwaukee Riot

1967: July 21                   Minneapolis, MN    Minneapolis North Side Riots

1967: July 12-17                      Newark, NJ                                          Newark riots

1967: July 16                   Plainfield, NJ                                   Plainfield riots

1967: July 24                   Cambridge, MD      Second Cambridge Race Riot

1967: June 11-16               Cincinnati, OH                           Avondale Riot

1967: July                                Newark, NJ

1967: July                                 Detroit, MI

1967:                                        Birmingham, AL

1967:                                         Chicago, IL

1967:                                         New Britain, CT

1967                                          Rochester, NY

1968: February 8                Orangeburg, SC            Orangeburg massacre

1968: April                   Nationwide riots Assassination of MLK

1969: June 24                         Omaha, Nebraska

1969:                                      Camden, NJ

1969: July 17                            York, PA                             York Race Riot

1969: June 28                         New York City, NY             Stonewall Riots

1970: May 11                            Augusta, GA                    

1970: May 5                            Jackson, MS                Jackson State killings

1970: July 4                      Ashbury Park, NJ             Ashbury Park Riots

1970: July                             New Bedford, MA

1971:                                       Camden, NJ                         Camden Riots

1972-1977:                              Pensacola, FL     Escambia High School Riots

1975-76:                                  Boston, MA                     Anti-Busing Riots

1980: May 18                            Miami, Florida                        Miami Riots

1980: July 24                          Chattanooga, TN                Chattanooga Riot

1984: August 8                      Lawrence, MA             Lawrence Race Riot

1986: December                  Howard Beach, NY

1987: February 20               Tampa, FL                              Tampa Riot

1989: February 1                   Tampa, FL                                Tampa Riot

1989: August                        Bensonhurst, NY

1991: August 19                       Brooklyn, NY                Crown Heights riot

1992: April 29                          Los Angeles, CA             Los Angeles Riots

1996: October 24-26            Petersburg, FA                 St. Petersburg Riots

1998: June                              Jasper, TX                              Lynching

2001:                                         Cincinnati, OH                Police Riots

THERES MANY MORE RACE RIOTS