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Racial tensions linger in LA, city of Rodney King riots

© France 24

As the US reels from the racist attack in Charleston, South Carolina, FRANCE 24's reporters went to Los Angeles, which has been deeply marked by racial tensions in recent years. Twenty-three years ago, the West Coast city was the scene of unprecedented riots.

In late April 1992, Los Angeles was ablaze for almost a week. With massive protests, looting, homes and businesses set on fire, the "City of Angels" experienced unprecedented violence.

The riots followed the surprise acquittal of four white police officers who had beaten up a young black motorist, Rodney King, who was found guilty of speeding. The jury was made up predominantly of whites. Only the intervention of the army and the establishment of a curfew allowed calm to return to Los Angeles, while the riots began to spread to other US cities.

The death toll was heavy: 53 people dead, hundreds injured, thousands arrested and damage to property was estimated at several million dollars.

Twenty-three years on, are police violence and racial discrimination a thing of the past in Los Angeles? How do black, white, Hispanic and Asian communities co-exist?

Our reporters returned to the "City of Angels", where the riots of 1992 remain prominent in many people's minds.

By Sébastien VUAGNAT , Valérie DEFERT

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