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Los Angeles Riots Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at the 1992 riots in Los Angeles. The riots stemmed from the acquittal of four white Los Angeles Police Department officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King in 1991.


The riots over five days in the spring of 1992 left more than 50 people dead, and more than 2,000 injured.

The rioting destroyed or damaged over 1,000 buildings in the Los Angeles area. The estimated cost of the damages was over $1 billion.

More than 9,800 California National Guard troops were dispatched to restore order.

Nearly 12,000 people were arrested, though not all the arrests were directly related to the rioting.


March 3, 1991 – Rodney King is beaten by LAPD officers after King leads police on a high-speed chase through Los Angeles County. George Holliday videotapes the beating from his apartment balcony. The video shows King being struck by police batons more than 50 times. Over 20 officers were present at the scene, most from the LAPD. King suffered 11 fractures and other injuries due to the beating.

March 4, 1991 – Holliday delivers the tape to local television station KTLA.

March 7, 1991 – King is released without being charged.

March 15, 1991 – Sergeant Stacey Koon and officers Laurence Michael Powell, Timothy Wind, and Theodore Briseno are indicted by a Los Angeles grand jury in connection with the beating.

May 10, 1991 – A grand jury refuses to indict 17 officers who stood by at the King beating and did nothing.

November 26, 1991 – Superior Court Judge Stanley Weisberg orders the trial of the four officers charged in the King beating moved to Simi Valley.

April 29, 1992 – The four white LAPD officers are acquitted of beating King. Riots start at the intersection of Florence and Normandie in South Central Los Angeles. Reginald Denny, a white truck driver, is pulled from his truck and beaten. A news helicopter captures the beating on videotape. Mayor Tom Bradley declares a state of emergency, and Governor Pete Wilson calls in National Guard troops.

April 30-May 4, 1992 – Dusk to dawn curfews are enforced in the city and county of Los Angeles.

May 1, 1992 – King makes an emotional plea for calm, stating, “People, I just want to say, can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it horrible for the older people and the kids?”

May 3, 1992 Over 1,100 Marines, 600 Army soldiers, and 6,500 National Guard troops patrol the streets of Los Angeles.

August 4, 1992 – A federal grand jury returns indictments against Koon, Powell, Wind and Briseno on the charge of violating the civil rights of King.

October 21, 1992 – A commission headed by former FBI and CIA Director William Webster concludes that the LAPD and City Hall leaders did not plan appropriately for the possibility of riots prior to the verdicts in the King case.

February 25, 1993 – The trial begins.

April 17, 1993 – The federal jury convicts Koon and Powell of violating King’s civil rights. Wind and Briseno are found not guilty. No disturbances follow the verdict.

August 4, 1993 – US District Court Judge John Davies sentences both Sergeant Koon and Officer Powell to 30 months in prison for violating King’s civil rights. Powell is found guilty of violating King’s constitutional right to be free from an arrest made with “unreasonable force.” Ranking officer Koon is convicted of permitting the civil rights violation to occur.

April 19, 1994 – The US District Court in Los Angeles awards King $3.8 million in compensatory damages in a civil lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles. King had demanded $56 million, or $1 million for every blow struck by the officers.

June 1, 1994 – King is awarded $0 in punitive damages in a civil trial against the police officers. He had asked for $15 million.

April 2012 – King’s autobiography, “The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption. Learning How We Can All Get Along,” written with Lawrence J. Spagnola, is published.

June 17, 2012 – Rodney King, 47, is found dead in the swimming pool of his Rialto, California, home.

Read More: Family, friends remember Rodney King at funeral.

August 23, 2012 – The San Bernardino coroner releases an autopsy report, which states that his death was the result of an accidental drowning and that King was in a “drug and alcohol-induced delirium” when he died.

Read More: Why the 1992 L.A. riots matter 25 years later.

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