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L.A. riots, 20 years later: Live video discussion today at 11 a.m.

April 26, 2012 |  7:56 am

The Los Angeles Times' live-stream video discussions with special guests begin Thursday, here and on the home page, as a part of its continuing coverage of “The L.A. riots: 20 years later.”

The Times’ Patt Morrison will host the 30-minute discussions Thursday and Friday, beginning at 11 a.m., and field questions from online viewers. The complete videos will be posted afterward on L.A. Now.

On Thursday, Morrison will be joined by columnist Sandy Banks and LAPD officer Gary Verge of the 77th Street Division, an area that has seen a reduction in crime over the last 20 years. The panel will discuss how the LAPD has moved from “longtime oppressor to community partner” and how community policing has evolved.

Within Verge's 77th Street Division — 12 square miles of South Los Angeles from the edge of Watts to Inglewood — there were 143 homicides in 1992 but 32 last year, Banks reported.

"It used to be corners you'd go by and there were gang members everywhere," recalled Verge.

On Friday, Morrison will interview Connie Rice, a civil rights attorney and co-director of the Advancement Project, a public policy organization that was established after the riots in part to address their underlying causes. Rice, Morrison and Times staff will discuss LAPD’s reform efforts since 1992.

Rice reflected on the riots Sunday at the L.A. Times Festival of Books, along with former L.A. County Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti and L.A. Times columnist Jim Newton. She said the kindling for the fire was laid years before the riots by decades of hostile policing in black neighborhoods.

"The reason we had this riot was because we had the total emasculation and humiliation of an entire community," she said. "It was kindling built on kindling built on kindling."

Our full coverage of the aftermath of the riots is available here: latimes.com/riots

FULL COVERAGE:

Photos

Reader stories

Front pages from 1992

 -- Matt Stevens

Twitter.com/mattstevenslat

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