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Charting the Hours of Chaos

April 29, 2002

The acquittals of four LAPD officers in the Rodney G. King beating case 10 years ago today left the city stunned. Crowds gathered angrily on street corners across the city, while thousands more turned to their televisions to watch events unfold. The flash point was a single gritty intersection in South-Central Los Angeles, but it was a scene eerily repeated in many parts of Los Angeles in the hours that followed.

Here is a chronology of events between the verdicts and the end of curfew five days later.



April 29, 1992

3:15 p.m.: Three LAPD officers are acquitted and one is partially acquitted in the videotaped beating of motorist Rodney G. King, setting off a powerful chain reaction.

3:30 to 3:45 p.m.: The crowd outside the Simi Valley courthouse in Ventura County swells to more than 300, most of them protesting the verdicts.

Los Angeles Times Wednesday May 1, 2002 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 A2 Desk 1 inches; 33 words Type of Material: Correction
Smart & Final store: A caption accompanying a story about the Los Angeles riots in Monday's California section incorrectly described the location of a Smart & Final store as the 4600 block of South Vermont Avenue; it is in the 3600 block.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday, April 13, 2012 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 Advance Desk 1 inches; 43 words Type of Material: Correction
L.A. riots: An April 29 story incorrectly referred to the April 1992 Los Angeles riots as the 'deadliest in the 20th century.' In 1921, a riot by a predominantly white mob in Tulsa resulted in the deaths of an estimated 300 black residents.

3:30 to 5 p.m.: Community activists and leaders meet to urge calm.

5 to 6 p.m.: More than two dozen officers confront a growing crowd near Florence and Normandie avenues in South-Central Los Angeles. Outnumbered, police back off and do not return. The crowd vents its anger on passing motorists.

About 6:30 p.m.: Several hundred demonstrators gather outside Parker Center, the police headquarters, in downtown Los Angeles.

About 6:45 p.m.: In one of the most startling images of the riots, truck driver Reginald O. Denny is pulled from his cab and severely beaten. Four people, some of whom saw the beating on TV, come to his aid.

6 to 7 p.m.: Police begin arriving at a command post at a bus depot at 54th Street and Arlington Avenue.

6 to 8 p.m.: More than 2,000 gather for a peaceful rally at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church.

6 to 8 p.m.: Looting and rioting begin in earnest. One of the first targets: Tom's Liquor and Deli at Florence and Normandie. Demonstrators begin torching buildings in South-Central Los Angeles. The first fire call is received about 7:45 p.m.

7 to 8 p.m.: Police commanders order all officers to report for duty.

7 to 9 p.m.: Rioting erupts in Inglewood, prompting officials to declare a state of emergency.

7:30 to 8 p.m.: Los Angeles Unified School District announces plans to close schools in the affected areas.

8:45 p.m.: Mayor Tom Bradley calls a local state of emergency. Moments later, Gov. Pete Wilson, at Bradley's request, orders the National Guard to activate 2,000 reserve soldiers.

About 9 p.m.: Bus service is shut down in portions of South-Central Los Angeles at the request of the LAPD. The restrictions eventually affect 27 bus lines throughout the area.

About 9 p.m.: The demonstration outside Parker Center turns violent as the crowd throws rocks, smashes windows and torches a kiosk. Other demonstrators vandalize several downtown buildings and snarl traffic on the Hollywood Freeway (101).

9:05 p.m.: The California Highway Patrol closes exit ramps off the Harbor Freeway (110) from the Santa Monica Freeway (10) junction to Century Boulevard to keep unsuspecting motorists from wandering into the path of violence. Eventually the closure is moved south, stretching from Martin Luther King Boulevard to Imperial Highway.

9:05 p.m.: The Federal Aviation Administration shifts the landing pattern of jetliners approaching LAX for safety reasons, after the LAPD notifies the FAA that a police helicopter was fired upon.

About 9:15 p.m.: About 200 to 300 demonstrators gathered at Hansen Dam Recreation Center in Lake View Terrace march to the nearby LAPD Foothill Division headquarters.

10:30 p.m.: Bradley issues a taped message to the residents of Los Angeles calling for peace. The message is broadcast later.



(From 3 p.m. Wednesday through midnight)

Deaths: At least eight

Injuries: Nearly two dozen people are admitted to the emergency room at Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center.



April 30, 1992

Midnight: Gov. Wilson holds a news conference announcing a state of emergency and plans to dispatch the National Guard and the California Highway Patrol. Just after midnight, three people are killed when their car, being chased by Beverly Hills police, hits a fire hydrant and overturns.

12:15 a.m.: Bradley signs an order enacting a curfew in the area most affected by the unrest.

Midnight to 3 a.m.: Three new fires per minute are reported, overwhelming the Los Angeles Fire Department.

About 8 a.m.: Nearly 2,000 National Guard troops are in place at area armories. They spend hours taking refresher courses and waiting for equipment, ammunition and deployment orders from local law enforcement officials.

9:30 a.m.: Bradley, flanked by Fire Chief Donald Manning and Police Chief Daryl F. Gates, holds a news conference on the violence rocking the city.

10:15 a.m.: Bradley expands the curfew to cover more of the area scarred by violence.

12 to 3 p.m.: The Rapid Transit District announces that all bus service will be suspended as of 6 p.m.

12 to 2:30 p.m.: The National Guard is officially deployed. By late afternoon, hundreds of troops take up positions in hot spots around the city.

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