Riots Flashpoint of 1992 LA Becomes a Place of Unity After Derek
Riots Riots a Unity LA of Flashpoint Derek After … 1992 Place Becomes of
Wed, 21 Apr 2021 08:00:00 -0700
In 1991, four Los Angeles police officers brutally beat motorist Rodney King and their acquittal on state charges a year later prompted one of the worst race
Two Black men. Two big cities. Two horrifying videos. Two different verdicts.
In 1991, four Los Angeles police officers brutally beat motorist Rodney King and their acquittal on state charges a year later prompted one of the worst race riots in American history.
In 2020, a Minneapolis police officer knelt on George Floyd ’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes as he gasped repeatedly, “I can’t breathe.” The excruciating bystander video touched off protests against police brutality and racial injustice worldwide.
On Tuesday, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter. The verdict was met with both joy and sorrow nationwide — especially at an infamous intersection in South Los Angeles.
The place where Florence and Normandie avenues meet is indelible in the history of the city of Los Angeles. Next week will mark 29 years since the intersection became a flashpoint for violence after the King verdict came down.
The cross-streets are where, in the aftermath of the jury's decision, Black men dragged white truck driver Reginald Denny from his big rig and beat him nearly to death. Denny survived the attack, which was captured on live TV.
The uprising spread as the city burned. Hundreds of businesses were looted and destroyed. Entire blocks of homes and stores went up in flames. More than 60 people died by shootings or other violence.
Photos: Americans React to Guilty Verdict in Derek Chauvin Trial
On Tuesday, however, the intersection was a place for celebration in the wake of Chauvin’s guilty verdict. A racially diverse group of several dozen people gathered to praise the jury’s decision and call for continued accountability.
A Black man in a Lakers cap danced on the street corner, chanting: “Get used to this, get used to justice!”
Passing cars blared their horns as demonstrators waved signs and Black Lives Matter flags. Music and the smell of fresh tacos were in the air.
“Justice has been done,” said Sherri Burks, 52, as a man walking by added “finally!”
Burks lives around the corner from Florence and Normandie and recalled the 1992 riots.
Photos: How Los Angeles Reacted to the Derek Chauvin Trial Verdict
“I was right here,” she said. “Burning everywhere, stores getting busted up.”
Randy Dulaney, 62, of Pasadena, lived not far from the intersection. He came back to visit an aunt Tuesday and went to the intersection to join the celebration and “to show love back to the neighborhood.”
“Today we have more power,” Dulaney said. He wore a cap embroidered “I can’t breathe” and a T-shirt with pictures of late civil rights leader and U.S. congressman John Lewis.
Joyce Robertson, 69, stood on the curb Tuesday, her arm outstretched in triumph as passing cars honked in support.
“I was here, how many decades ago, on the same corner,” she said.
But Robertson said there is still work to be done. She saw parallels between King's beating 30 years ago and the police treatment of Black men today.
“It’s a different time but it’s very similar conditions,” she said. “They just don’t get it.”
Wed, 21 Apr 2021 08:00:00 -0700
“I know it sounds like a contradiction in terms, but that's what we need
” Collins, who has represented Maine on Capitol Hill for a quarter of a century, was recently
Collins answered questions on a number of subjects, including voting reform, conspiracy theories, social housing, Donald Trump’s popularity in northern Maine, and the future of the GOP. The event was the latest in a series of discussions featuring guest speakers called After the Insurrection: Conversation on Democracy. The series was planned in the wake of the January 6 Capitol riot, when protestors stormed the seat of US government in support of then-president Donald Trump.
At the time of the attempted insurrection, Collins, along with other members of Congress, was inside the Capitol preparing to ratify the results of the 2020 presidential election. She said she knew something was wrong when she saw Vice-President Mike Pence being hurried out of the chamber by Secret Service agents
“Then I saw the Senate minority and majority leaders also being ushered out before the Sergeant at Arms came to the podium and announced the Capitol had been breached… Later, I learned just how close the protestors were,” recalled Collins. After first being told to stay put, she and her colleagues were then taken to a secure location, where they spent hours watching events unfold on live television. “It was surreal watching people go through my desk on the Senate floor,” she said. Nevertheless, Collins said she was determined to return to the Senate chamber as soon it was safe to do so and finish the constitutional duty of certifying the results—something she and her colleagues were able to achieve in the early hours of January 7
What caused so many American citizens to behave this way on January 6 and attack the nation’s government? Part of the reason, said Collins, is the toxic environment created by social media companies and the cloak of anonymity it affords people, encouraging the spread of misinformation. As a member of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence, Collins said she found it interesting to see how platforms like Twitter are exploited by America’s foreign adversaries, particularly Russia.
Rose went on to ask Collins for her views on new voting laws in Georgia, where Joe Biden narrowly defeated Donald Trump in November’s presidential election. Critics say the legislation will suppress Black and brown votes, he pointed out. “There’s been a lot of misinformation about this issue,” responded Collins, who said an earlier version of the bill, which was judged to be unfair, had been dropped. In many ways, she said, the new law broadens the right to vote and makes it easier. “I think we should honor the fact that states have the right to set their own rules,” she added.
When asked about the regulation of companies like Twitter and Facebook, Collins said some government oversight is needed—“right now the companies operate internal oversight.” Furthermore, she added, there’s a provision of the law—Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, to be precise—that prevents social media groups from being sued for libel as, for example, a newspaper could be. Seeing as these companies are now more than just platforms and are increasingly responsible for deciding content, Collins said this section of the law needs to be reformed. Collins herself, she pointed out, was the subject of more than 360,000 negative messages generated on social media by the Russian government.
She also holds the view that former president Donald Trump should not have been banned from Twitter. “I’m not defending the president’s tweets,” she said, “but it raises important free speech issues when Facebook and Twitter decide who can and cannot have an account and communicate using their platforms.” The fact that they allow world leaders with horrible human rights records to use their platforms, said Collins, represents “an inconsistent standard.”
Why has the GOP become a safe haven for conspiracy theories? Collins was asked. Trump, she responded, did a “huge disservice to our nation” when he kept repeating the lie that he had won the election. By continually repeating the lie, he convinced many that it was true. “Some good people I know firmly believe the election was stolen because the president kept repeating it,” she said.
When asked how the US can move away from “the big lie” and understand the truth, Collins pointed to the US court system. Americans should have faith in the system’s ability to protect democracy, she explained, referring to the sixty-two failed lawsuits by Trump supporters seeking to overturn election results and to the ninety individual judges who rejected Trump’s lies. Collins said this is why she is opposed to attempts by some Democrats to “pack” the US Supreme Court, expanding its number of seats from nine to thirteen. This, she explained, is “extremely unhelpful in countering the big lie” by undermining confidence in the courts and “trying to transform them into political entities.”
Regarding the future of the Republican Party and where she would like to see it going in the next few years, Collins quoted a former GOP president. “It’s a big tent party, as (Ronald) Reagan said, united around certain principles, including personal responsibility, opportunity, individual freedom, a belief in the free enterprise system, and strong national defense, to name a few.
I don’t think it’s a cult party about any one person,” she added, “whether it’s Donald Trump or anyone.” It’s a mistake, said Collins, not to consider the many talented leaders who are emerging in the GOP and “to recognize that we are a diverse party” representing varying views. “To me, that’s a good sign.”
Nevertheless, both political parties are still too polarized, said Collins, who is known for her efforts to work across party lines. “I would like to see a move toward the center, where the Democratic Party is center left, and the GOP is center right.” The best legislation, legislation that can withstand the test of time, she stressed, usually reflects ideas from both sides. To bring about this return to the center, said Collins, political moderates need to be as fanatical about their beliefs as those on the political extremes.
– April 21, 2021