Race relations in Los Angeles worsened 30 years after the Rodney King riots


National Guardsmen watch a business burn in South Los Angeles on April 30, 1992.

Photo: HAL GARB/AFP/Getty Images

A survey by the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University found that 68% of those surveyed expected “other protests and riots to occur…in the next five years.”

The survey is conducted every five years, since the 1992 Los Angeles riots of which are thirty years old this week, when Widespread violence erupted in the city following the acquittal of four white Los Angeles Police Department officers accused of excessive use of force, after the videotaped beating of Rodney King.

So more than 60 people were killed and 2,300 injured in the days of burning, looting and violence that followed the verdict. Thousands of businesses and properties were burned and property damage was estimated at $1 billion.

The percentage of Angelenos worried about a resurgence of the conflict had been steadily declining, but the latest survey shows the highest degree of pessimism since 1997according to the Los Angeles Times.

According to the survey, the proportion of residents who believe another wave of unrest like the one three decades ago will occur in the next five years is the highest since the five-year study was first conducted in 1997.

Five years after the riots, 27.4% of respondents thought it was “very likely” that comparable events would occur in the next five years, and 37.2% thought such an event was “somewhat likely,” for a combined 64.6% .

After two decades in which the percentage was steadily declining, the shares increased to 21.7% and 46.6% respectively (68.3% total) in 2022.

Only 8.2% of the residents think that the different racial and ethnic groups relate to each other “very well” and 53.2% consider that they interact “somewhat well”, for a total of 61.4% of residents who have a good perception of the race relations in the city.

For their part, those who believe that the different groups get along “somewhat badly” or “very badly” reached a proportion of 38.7%, 12.1 percentage points more than in the previous study of 2017.

For 19.3% of residents, race relations have improved in the last four years, while 42.3% said they have stayed the same and 38.5% said they have gotten worse.

In the five-year studies on the perception of race relations in the city, between 600 and 1,600 randomly selected residents are interviewed and distributed in equal proportions between African Americans, Asians, Latinos and whites.

It may interest you:

– Plumber who recorded video of Rodney King being beaten by police officers in 1991, died of COVID-19 in Los Angeles
– Audit reveals discrimination against Latinos in California police forces
– The year Miami had so many dead that it rented a truck from Burger King to store them

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