Anna Deavere Smith Reflects on Rodney King and LA Riots, 20 Years Later

Friday, April 27, 2012

On April 29, 1992, nearly 20 years ago, an all-white jury acquitted four white Los Angeles police officers in the case of Rodney King, a black motorist who suffered severe injuries after a brutal beating from the LAPD. South Los Angeles promptly exploded into riots that lasted six days, leaving more than 50 people dead, thousands injured, and $1 billion in damage. Anna Deavere Smith is a playwright, actress and author of "Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992," a one-woman show that Smith developed from interviews with 300 subjects involved in the Rodney King case and its aftermath. The characters developed from those interviews include a juror who voted to acquit the police officers; Mrs. Soon Young Han, a Korean store owner in South Los Angeles; Reginald Denny, a white truck driver beaten by four African-American men during the riots; Kiki Watson, one of Reginald Denny's assailants; and many more. She reflects on the riots that tore the city apart, 20 years ago, and discusses the state of police-community relations since 1992.


Anna Deavere Smith

Produced by:

Jillian Weinberger

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