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L.A. riots: Readers respond to 20th anniversary coverage

May 2, 2012 |  1:37 pm

Readers by the dozens have shared their memories of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which erupted 20 years ago this week
Readers by the dozens have shared their memories of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which erupted 20 years ago this week.

Those contributing their stories include:

A former National Guardsman 

A retired L.A. County sheriff's sergeant

A former LAX traffic controller 

And a former LAPD 911 operator

Readers also have weighed in on The Times' coverage of the anniversary:

"This series captivated me, about something so influential to our city's history, but before my lifetime, yet recent enough that it is engrained in its residents' memory," wrote Michael Smallberg of Northridge. "Like a sponge, I soaked up every article every day it appeared. It is this kind of local reporting that I love to read about in The Times.”

Shirley Cameron of Newport Coast had another view. "I'm wondering why The Times chose to give this so much coverage," she emailed. "It was 20 years ago, and it's something most people would like to forget."

In particular, Patt Morrison's interview with Rodney King drew a number of comments.

Alfred Gassler of Cerritos wrote: "I agree he was mistreated by the police 20 years ago. I don't feel sorry for him, seeing him sitting on a $1,000 couch. There are people that are worse off, and they don't complain."

Linda Loding of Pasadena wrote in a Letter to the Editor: "My 24-year-old son was one of the 54 people who died because of the riots. He died being a good Samaritan. I miss him every day of my life. King said of the videotape of his beating, ‘Now I laugh, I smile, when I see it.’ It is obvious that he has not learned much in 20 years, whereas I've learned to deal with the pain. Shame on you, Rodney King; I am one of 54 families not laughing or smiling."

And Sheldon Wright of Temple City wrote in a letter: "Over the years, I read about King's life, shaking my head and wondering what could have been. His frank and genuine responses to Morrison's questions give me hope as to where he is going. Time will tell, but after finishing the article, I caught myself not shaking but nodding my head."

Full coverage from The Times of the 20th anniversary of the riots is here.

-- Deirdre Edgar

Photo: Windows were broken at The Times' downtown L.A. building on April 29, 1992. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times