Richard Riordan was mayor of Los Angeles from 1993–2001, leading a city struggling to come to terms with the violent unrest, which left dozens dead and $1bn in property damage. He talked to Warren about the root causes for the riots, and their aftermath.
He said that there was a culture of treating African Americans as victims and that “treating someone like a victim is demeaning to that person. Blacks felt like they were victims… by the time of the Rodney King riots.”
When asked if injustice had been done, Riordan said, “certainly the African American community, I could see how they could feel that way.” However, he says we still don’t know all the facts. The police “over did it and they deserved some punishment,’ said
Riordan, “I don’t think I can right now tell you whether total injustice was done or not. Do we know all the facts, were we allowed to know all the facts, when a jury lets people off should we say we have no respect for that jury?” Listen to excerpts from the interview below.