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  #1  
Old 04-28-2017, 9:55 AM
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Default 1992 L.A. Riots

I want to share some pics that I took 25 years ago. I had just completed field training a few weeks before the Rodney King verdicts and the ensuing riots. Although the rioting and widespread looting started on April 29, 1992, I didn't have a camera with me until Day 2. If you have stories or pics from the riots, post them here!

These pics were taken on film with a point-and-shoot 35mm so I had to scan them. Some are a bit blurry because they were taken from a moving car and/or without a flash.

On my way to the station S/B on La Brea Ave.

01.1 - everything is free!.jpg

Come and get some new furniture! Bring your pick-up truck!

02 - everything is free!.jpg

Everything is free!

02 - Payless Shoes.jpg

A crowd is starting to form at Top Valu market. Note that Payless Shoes is still intact, but not for long...

03 - burger king.jpg

Burger King did not open today.

04 - burger king.jpg
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Last edited by 417atty; 08-10-2017 at 11:39 AM.. Reason: Fixed pics.
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Old 04-28-2017, 9:56 AM
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Default 1992 L.A. Riots, continued

05 - La Brea & Hawthorne Blvd.jpg

I believe that's an Inglewood PD unit sitting there.

06 - burning bldg.jpg

By nightfall there were so many fires that thick smoke hung in the air. The largest fire I saw was at Manchester Blvd. and Vermont Ave. There, the indoor swap meet was looted and set ablaze. The resulting fire engulfed an entire city block. Over the course of several days, more than three thousand arson fires were set and 55 people were killed.

08 - squad.jpg

The squad I was assigned to consisted of three (or was it four) units riding four deputies deep. We only responded to calls involving assaults against persons. We heard sporadic gunfire and sirens from emergency vehicles in the distance and we drove around with our shotgun barrels sticking out of the windows. Before the dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed, hundreds of people were everywhere looting stores and carrying goods to their cars. They would run if we stopped our convoy and then return as soon as we left. Traffic signals were largely ignored by most drivers. It seemed like the whole city was on fire and everyone had gone crazy!

08 - 838.jpg

I didn't realize how old those cars look until someone mentioned it to me today.

07 - Convoy.jpg
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Last edited by 417atty; 07-17-2017 at 3:39 PM.. Reason: Fixed pics.
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  #3  
Old 04-28-2017, 9:58 AM
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Default 1992 L.A. Riots, continued

09 - Century Blvd.jpg

Somewhere on Century Blvd... Looters ran as soon as we arrived.

To those who may feel that more businesses could have been saved by law enforcement, consider this: Even if every police officer and deputy sheriff in Los Angeles County was on duty at the same time, there would only be enough personnel to secure a tiny fraction of all the locations targeted. The looters numbered in the THOUSANDS! If one mini mall was secure, the looters would just go across the street to another mini mall. And, it wasn't just looting that was taking place. For example, innocent people were being assaulted, firefighters were getting shot at, Los Angeles City Hall and LAPD HQ were under siege, and rioting was occurring within the county jails.

With a squad of 12 deputies, we could barely encircle a small mini mall if we wanted to. At most, our station had maybe seven or eight squads in the field at any given time. And, tactically, it was extremely unwise to chase/arrest every individual looter when hostile crowds had gathered at every location we responded to. Can you imagine a foot pursuit in the middle of a riot? And, how do you transport arrestees in the middle of a riot when resources are already scarce? It wasn't until mutual aid, federal troops and National Guard took up fixed posts that businesses were truly protected.

By nightfall, the station jail must have held over five times its capacity and it seemed like the looters knew we couldn’t take any more people into custody.

09 - Check cashing.jpg

Local check cashing store. Hey, the glass inside really IS bullet proof!

09.1 - Looted.jpg

Looters came back as soon as we left to pick the store clean and set it on fire.

10 - Looted and burned.jpg

Security bars weren't much help here. They were just a minor inconvenience to most looters.
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Last edited by 417atty; 07-20-2017 at 8:40 AM.. Reason: Fixed pics.
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Old 04-28-2017, 9:59 AM
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Default 1992 L.A. Riots, continued

12 - Vermont Ave..jpg

13 - Vermont Ave after curfew.jpg
Vermont Ave south of Manchester Blvd... LAPD had the east side of Vermont and we had the west side. Hey you! You're out past curfew!

12.2 - Vermont Ave - this is my surprised face.jpg
Smile! You'll see yourself on CALGUNS in 25 years!

31.2 - Busted.jpg
Busted.

14 - Payless Burning Lennox & Hawthorne Blvd.jpg
I think this was Day 3, or maybe Day 4. Fatigue was setting in. The Payless shoe store kitty-corner from the station was looted and burned. But hey, free shoes for everyone! Note National Guardsman at check point. The poor guy probably wishes he had something to stand behind, like maybe a pile of sandbags.
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Last edited by 417atty; 07-17-2017 at 4:41 PM.. Reason: Fixed pics.
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Old 04-28-2017, 10:18 AM
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I recall the chaos on day 1... and calling my insurance company to up my limit on renters insurance.....


I went to the top of a parking structure and was counting fires in the area... as I was getting to around 50, the entire mini / strip mall next to me went up in flames.... it then dawned on my that 1 spare mag for a 1911 was not enough......
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  #6  
Old 04-28-2017, 10:39 AM
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Thanks for sharing. Those pictures are outstanding!
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Old 04-28-2017, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hermosabeach View Post
I recall the chaos on day 1... and calling my insurance company to up my limit on renters insurance.....


I went to the top of a parking structure and was counting fires in the area... as I was getting to around 50, the entire mini / strip mall next to me went up in flames.... it then dawned on my that 1 spare mag for a 1911 was not enough......
I dont have any memory of this. I was only in first grade when it all went down and i grew up behind the orange curtain.
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Old 04-28-2017, 10:49 AM
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Wow... I was getting ready to start high school when this went down. I sat in front of the TV and watched the news for the few days it went on. Right after this happened my father went out and bought his first pistol. I think if we see this again it will be a lot worse.
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Old 04-28-2017, 10:51 AM
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Crazy! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 04-28-2017, 10:54 AM
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Thanks for sharing those OP!

Lived in a very safe suburb, but were still all loaded up in case...

I left for Europe on the 3rd day - remember watching all the smoke from the plane as we took off. Wish I'd taken pics.
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Old 04-28-2017, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaneB View Post
I think if we see this again it will be a lot worse.

Couldn't be because all the new gun laws that have passed since then resulted in clean gun-free streets and effectively disarmed all the criminals in LA.....
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Old 04-28-2017, 6:34 PM
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I was sent to Florence and Normandie the first night. Worked 12 hour shifts for 2 weeks straight without a day off. It was one tough time.
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Old 04-28-2017, 8:33 PM
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Thanks for sharing these pics. Tough days for you guys!
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Old 04-28-2017, 9:03 PM
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Thanx for posting these.
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Old 04-28-2017, 9:24 PM
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I remember driving through the area soon after the riots. Worked for a medical equipment company and the entire area we used to go through previously looked like a third world country after the riots. Crazy stuff, thanks for the reminder.
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Old 04-28-2017, 11:00 PM
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My main regret about not yet being on the job during the riots is that if I was I'd be closer to retirement by a few years. I guess 1992 is what they are referring to when we hear the very much overused cliche' of "back in the hot years..."
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Old 04-28-2017, 11:02 PM
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I am glad social media didn't exist back then. It would have escalated and spread much more quickly.
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Old 04-29-2017, 8:12 AM
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I watched the riot start on TV and called my lieutenant to tell him I wanted to go. I spent 3 and a half days in Inglewood as part of the mutual aid response. I'll have to dig up my pictures as well.
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Old 04-29-2017, 8:28 AM
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My most vivid memories are the Korean merchants on the rooftops with ARs and AKs, and of Reginald Denny getting pull out of his big rig at Florence and Normandy and beaten within an inch of his life in broad daylight. Game changer events.
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Old 04-29-2017, 4:05 PM
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Thanks for taking the time to post your personal photos. I have quite a few friends in the fire service that were there on mutual aid from northern California. It was quite the event!
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Old 04-29-2017, 4:47 PM
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A friend of mine had pictures of the riots. The picture I remember best is a building that wasn't touched at all. There was a long line of people out of the building. It was the Post Office and folks were lined up because it was mother's day (welfare checks)!
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Old 04-29-2017, 5:05 PM
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Great post! Thank you for sharing such emotional memories. I remember being sent home from school, school days being cancelled, not being allowed outside after a certain time of day.
I lived in Torrance at the time and people were getting worried that the riot was going to spread but people just left from our area to loot.
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Old 04-29-2017, 6:26 PM
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cool photos, thanks
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Old 04-29-2017, 8:08 PM
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I started LE six years after the riots, and remember watching the riots from my parent's house on tv. My dad used to have his business on Slauson in Huntington Park, and everyone went armed to work
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Old 04-29-2017, 8:49 PM
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Two CHP squads from out of town were put up in the City of Industry hotel. At the time there was a swingers convention going on at the same hotel.
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Old 04-29-2017, 8:51 PM
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Default 1992 L.A. Riots, continued

17 - Station.jpg
Top - National Guardsman in front of station.
Bottom - Check point at intersection of Lennox Blvd/Hawthorne Blvd.



L.A. County Fire Station 14 & Staging Area.jpg
L.A. County Fire Station 14 and staging area at Washington High School (108th St/Denker Ave.)



23 - Nat Guard patrol on Hawthorne Blvd and Crenshaw Blvd..jpg
Top Left - National Guard patrol on Hawthorne Blvd.
Top Right and Lower Right and Left - National Guard patrol on Crenshaw Blvd. investigating the sound of gunfire.



TST.jpg
Escorting a bus from Men’s Central Jail back to the station. After a few days we were organized to the point where we could zip tie the looters and radio in for a bus to pick them up.



28 - eddies.jpg
Providing security for L.A. County Fire. This is Eddie’s Market burning. These local stores were hit hard. Many of the stores that were destroyed were owned by Korean-Americans. Several store owners displayed a “Black Owned” sign in their window in an effort to spare them from the looters. Sometimes it worked, other times, not at all.
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Last edited by 417atty; 07-17-2017 at 4:13 PM.. Reason: Fixed pics.
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Old 04-29-2017, 11:20 PM
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Interesting. I think I remember the National Guard had to have theit M16's converted to semiauto only before deploying or some weird thing like that. Some dumbazz I vaguely knew at the time went looting he got dog food and bottled water.
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Old 04-30-2017, 12:44 AM
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Thanks for sharing!
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  #29  
Old 04-30-2017, 6:39 AM
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Did the men who attacked Reginald Denny ever get convicted of hate crimes?
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Old 04-30-2017, 7:11 AM
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Thank you for sharing! We've seen so many of the classic pics and videos. It is really awesome to see actual, ground-level photos from that craziness. We take for granted today just how easy it is to capture images. Twenty years ago it was a different thing.
I was in Long Beach at the time. It got kinda crazy in LB but it only got to within a dozen or so blocks from where I lived. Still was quite an experience.
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Old 04-30-2017, 7:15 AM
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A question for LEOs who were there - had you seen citizens walking around with a handgun in their waistband and those citizens weren't up to looting and no-good, would you have stopped such a person or would you have looked the other way and just allowed the person to carry?
I'm curious because I want to understand the LEO mindset during an unprecedented event like that.
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Old 04-30-2017, 8:23 AM
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I had already moved to Nor Cal when this event occurred, but having grown up down there, I was keeping track of what was happening via radio and TV. My folks were in Simi Valley (still are) and I was concerned the violence would spread there due to that being the location the verdict was issued.

I was at work on May 1st, when a former student walked onto the campus of Lindhurst High School, just across the river from my workplace in Yuba City and started shooting people. Some of my coworkers had attended school there or had siblings still attending. Everyone was flipping out, and there was a sense that the LA violence was spreading elsewhere.

For some reason, I didn't have a vehicle that day and my wife arrived with our two young children to pick me up from work. She told me that on the drive through Marysville, everyone was 'going crazy'. I grabbed the biggest wrench I had in my toolbox, something like a 1 3/4" that was about 2 feet long and kept it in my lap on the drive out of town. People were running lights, driving on the wrong side of the road, and somebody had set a car on fire on one of the bridges. I was greatly relieved when I reached the back roads and drove the rest of the 20 miles home without incident. Crazy times.
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Old 04-30-2017, 8:57 AM
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Thank you Democrats for creating that sense of entitlement which enabled this to happen.
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Old 04-30-2017, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyMtn View Post
A question for LEOs who were there - had you seen citizens walking around with a handgun in their waistband and those citizens weren't up to looting and no-good, would you have stopped such a person or would you have looked the other way and just allowed the person to carry?
I'm curious because I want to understand the LEO mindset during an unprecedented event like that.
Saw several, stopped and checked them out, sent them on their way with their guns.
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Old 04-30-2017, 6:49 PM
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I carried an issued AR-15 during the riot. LAPD did not have them. They saw my AR, and they were very envious.
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Old 04-30-2017, 6:57 PM
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Northern CA guy. I got to watch on TV. Was still in high school at the time. Thanks for sharing your pictures and stories. I wonder if we'll have more riots of this scale again. I hope not.
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Old 04-30-2017, 7:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by micro911 View Post
I was sent to Florence and Normandie the first night. Worked 12 hour shifts for 2 weeks straight without a day off. It was one tough time.

I was a Level One Reserve Officer back then with Hawthorne PD. On day one I was ordered into work, I had to leave my fulltime job mid-shift. My (Then wife)drove maybe 35 miles and brought me clothes. (in a safe area of course).

I worked three days straight (12 hour shifts), sleeping/showering at the station. Our city looked like a war zone. The Hawthorne mall was completed looted, as were many other stores/businesses throughout the city. By day three we had both the National Guard and Santa Barbra County Sheriffs Deputies patrolling the streets along side our guys.

I don't remember how many people we hooked up, but at some point it became more about protecting businesses from looters and trying to preserve peace. Many shots fired calls, mostly citizens trying to protect life and property. I don't remember arresting any of them folks.

One evening a group of us we were patrolling the area of Rosecrans/Prairie on foot when a shot rang out in a shopping center parking lot. Turns out a shop owner accidentally shot himself in the a$@ while putting his gun in his back pocket,,,,Lol.

It was a time in my life I will never forget. I saw the worst side of humanity during that time. I really hope I never experience again, though time will tell! Thanks for posting.


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Old 04-30-2017, 8:12 PM
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I had a guy running away from me after he came out of a store with stolen items. I ran after him, but could not get closer. I threw my Streamlight flashlight as hard as I can at him. Luckily, it hit the back of his knee, and he went down. My flashlight hit the pavement very hard. But, it still worked. I booked the guy for burglary, and carrying a concealed weapon after I found a small pistol from his back pocket.

Those were wild days for sure.
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Old 04-30-2017, 8:40 PM
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Default 1992 L.A. Riots, continued

Quote:
Originally Posted by micro911 View Post
I carried an issued AR-15 during the riot. LAPD did not have them. They saw my AR, and they were very envious.
I wish our squad had at least one AR with us. We barely had enough shotguns to equip one per unit. Some deputies even brought their own rifles and shotguns.

One looter who was stopped after curfew was in a car packed with stolen goods. He also had a loaded Valmet rifle right next to him on the front seat. Thankfully, he was arrested without incident. Here's the pic.

08 - AK and carload of stolen goods.jpg
It's hard to see it but the deputy in the center is holding an AK rifle. A fully loaded 30-round magazine is on the hood of the patrol car. The deputy on the right is holding a department-issued Ithaca Model 37. It was most likely loaded with #4 buckshot.

For several weeks after the riots, gangsters were rolling in convoys. Crips and Bloods had called a truce and declared law enforcement as the common enemy. When we made traffic stops we tried to have at least one cover deputy with an AR.


32 -.jpg
Top - A group of people from the neighborhood standing guard in front of a local store. Their efforts paid off and the store was spared. Many of them were holding metal rods and sticks. I didn’t want to know how many were packing heat. I commend them for their courage.
Middle - Busted.
Bottom - Part of our squad.



32 - Limo & O.jpg
Top - A burned out limo sat on Normandie Ave at Century Blvd and smoldered for days. I never found out who was in the limo.
Bottom - A return to normalcy… Getting coffee at the “O” (Kindle’s Donuts) several days after the riots.



35 - Western Surplus looted and burned (a week later).jpg
Here’s Western Surplus after it was looted and burned. This store was in LAPD’s patrol area and just a few blocks north of us. Local gang members took over a thousand guns along with cases of ammunition before setting it ablaze. This store had all of our favorite and popular brands such as Davis, Bryco, Lorcin, etc. We were recovering these stolen guns off the streets for many years after the riot. This pic was taken about a week after the riot ended. Note the clean street and sidewalk area. Locals banded together to clean up the mess left by the rioters.



36 - Florence & Normandie - where it all started (a week later).jpg
This is where it began – the intersection of Florence and Normandie Ave. This is a few blocks north of our patrol area. Local residents cleaned the area of debris.
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Last edited by 417atty; 07-19-2017 at 7:49 AM.. Reason: Fixed pics.
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Old 04-30-2017, 9:04 PM
angelinointexas angelinointexas is offline
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All the police ran away from Koreatown, and went to Beverly Hills to protect them.

Koreans were left to fend for themselves.
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