Last weekend, I had the opportunity to view the new documentary film LA92 at Studio Movie & Grill in Charlotte, North Carolina through Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts and Culture. This is the same upcoming film that will be airing on the National Geographic Channel today at 9pm/8pm c.
Me, being born in 1991, I was very young during this time period of our history, so there are many things I am learning about from this horrible incident now that I am in my mid to late twenties. Some would say that we have never had a war on our own soil here in the United States, but after the officers of LAPD were found not guilty in the unjustified beating of 25 year old Rodney King, many residents of California would say otherwise. An uprising took place where a majority of the structures and buildings in Los Angeles were burned to the ground. Many homes and shelters were burned as well, so you had many residents homeless leaving a shortage of food and supplies for everyone. That shortage led to many looting and robberies with everyone basically trying to survive the chaos that was caused by the LAPD during that time. Almost as a war zone with everything burning and everyone going into a mode of survival. Back then, race played a huge role in many things especially in California. What makes the beating of Rodney King so important and specific is because this was an incident that was finally caught red handed, on camera for everyone to see. Police brutality is nothing new, it happens more than people may think and has been going on for quite some time. Back then though, cameras and video cameras weren’t really being used how they are now, so it shocked everyone that these officers were found not guilty even with the evidence on camera and plain as day. The police of that time often targeted African American males as a way of sport or fun while on the job, abusing power and authority. Weapons were often used including batons, pepper sprays, guns, and newly for that time period, tasers. King even stated, “they shocked me with something, I didn’t know what it was but it burned me.” During the film, it highlights how the use of taser guns were not favored as they weren’t safely tested before using. King again stated that the officers said they wanted to try out their new toys on him during the assault captured on film. Race played a huge role in the jury selection in this particular trial as well. It was even moved to another city in order to control the verdict all together, ultimately leading to a not guilty verdict at the end of the case.
This film highlights all the events that took place in Los Angeles during the early 90s including mentions of the OJ Simpson trial, & an overlooked incident with 15 year old LaTasha Harlins and a Korean female store owner.
Overall, the documentary is great. It gave great detail on how both sides felt and where everyone stood not only in California but all over the United States. When I seen it for myself, it brought back so many different memories from riots and police brutality issues going on right now in our time period of the United States. Check it out on the National Geogrpahic Channel tonight! Leave your thoughts on how you feel about the documentary in our comment section below!
Check out these 6 different documentaries and films that are based on the history behind the Rodney King beating by the LAPD, along with the effects of systematic racism on everyone in California during the 80s & 90s.
- Let It Fall: LA 1982-1992
Director: John Ridley
Year of Release: 2017
Where to Watch: In theatres April 21, and then on ABC April 28th
- The Lost Tapes: L.A. Riots
Director: The Smithsonian Channel
Year of Release: 2017
How to Watch: television or online
- O.J.: Made In America
Director: Ezra Edelman
Year of Release: 2016
How to Watch: Hulu
- Crips and Bloods: Made In America
Director: Stacy Peralta
Year of Release: 2008
How to Watch: Netflix
- Bastards of the Party
Director: Cle “Bone” Sloan
Year of Release: 2005
How to Watch: CleBoneSloan.com sells DVDs
- Uprising: Hip Hop and the L.A. Riots
Director: Mark Ford
Year of Release: 2012
How to Watch: VH1