The LA Riots erupt after four police offers are found not guilty in the beating of Rodney King. A violent crowd marches down Long Beach Boulevard, and explosives are thrown at a building on Artesia Boulevard near here. As a result of the riots, $32 Million in today’s dollars is committed in property damage in Long Beach.
Although primarily associated with Los Angeles, the chaos caused by the Los Angeles riots impacted communities beyond the border of that city, including North Long Beach.
On Wednesday, April 29, 1992, four LAPD officers were found not-guilty for their role in the violent beating of Rodney King, a black man who was working as a taxi driver. By that night in North Long Beach, 10 buildings were on fire and numerous people had been assaulted.
The next day, Matthew Haines, a white man, was riding his motorcycle with his nephew Steve Coleman through North Long Beach. A mob surrounded the pair, fueled by resentment of white people as a result of the acquittal of the police officers and violence against people who are black by law enforcement and society. The mob ripped the two men from their motorcycle, and both were shot multiple times. Haines, a mechanic who had spoken out against the mistreatment of people of color, died from his injuries.
By the end of the chaos, one man had been murdered, 340 structures had caught fire, and the City of Long Beach suffered about $18 million ($32 million today) in damages. North Long Beach suffered a significant amount of damage, as much of the rioting took place in the area.
This video presented here offers perspective on the events of April 1992 through the eyes of people who experienced it first-hand.
Long Beach Remembers the LA Riots 25 Years Later
Sources we used and further reading on this era of Long Beach:
Susan Paterno, "Aftermath of the Riots : The Violence Started in Long Beach Even Before the Verdicts Were Announced," Los Angeles Times, last modified May 7, 1992.
Roxana Kopetman and Greg Krikorian, "Mob Did Not Take Time to Ask Their Victim His Views : Crime: Mechanic was outraged by the verdicts, too, but that didn't matter when crowd descended and killed him.," Los Angeles Times, last modified May 3, 1992.
Maryanne Dell, "20 years ago: Rodney King verdict sparked L.A. riots," Orange County Register, last modified April 11, 2012.
Tim Grobaty, "Long Beach reflects on LA Riots: ‘Our situation was as bad as LA’s’," Long Beach Press Telegram, last modified April 23, 2017.
"Long Beach Remembers the L.A. Riots 25 Years Later," video file, 04:58, VoiceWaves on YouTube, April 29, 2017.