The ’92 Riots Changed Los Angeles and the LAPD

In South Los Angeles, African-American business leaders like Kinsey point to a historic revitalization of the area that at the time of the 1992 riots had not fully recovered from the urban violence of the 1960s.

“I knew every address destroyed and every business that was burned, and I knew the ones that were rebuilt,” Kinsey said of South Los Angeles, where 1,172 buildings were destroyed by the riots.

“Not in the history of this country … did we have any kind of rebuilding effort like we had take place in Los Angeles. Over the past 25 years, there has been over $2.2 billion invested in South Los Angeles.

“I think you would be hard-pressed to find someone who would say that the city is not better than it was in 1992.”

When Beck was named chief in 2009, the mayor pronounced him the embodiment of the changes that had taken place in the LAPD.

Beck, a 38-year veteran, came to office with the joint support of what once might have been two unlikely allies – the police union and civil rights activists such as lawyer Connie Rice.

“I think that if the King incident hadn’t happened, there would have been some other catalyst for change,” Beck said. “I think that the Los Angeles Police Department had to change. It was not adapting to the world that it lived in and the people that it served.

“I think it would have happened in some other way anyway.”

 

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