Sunday, April 30, 2017

Remembering the 1992 Rodney King Los Angeles Riots - Mary Cummins

1992 Rodney King Los Angeles riots, excessive use of force, arson, murder, looting, mary cummins, real estate, appraiser, california
April 29, 1992 a trial jury acquitted four officers of the Los Angeles Police Department of the use of excessive force in the videotaped arrest and beating of Rodney King. I was watching the Rodney King trial results live. Everyone knew there'd be trouble when the jury said "not guilty." None of us knew just how bad it would be.

Immediately there were riots in South Los Angeles. People were looting stores, assaulting people, starting fires and even killing people. The riots lasted six days and spread to other areas of Los Angeles. In the end 55 people were killed and many more were severely injured. One such unlucky person was Reginald Denny a white construction worker who was pulled out of his truck and almost beaten to death by some black men. Denny's beating which was broadcast live on TV by a helicopter hovering directly over the intersection became a pivotal point of the riots. That beating caused LAPD to call in the California Army National Guard, the 7th Infantry Division and the 1st Marine Division to try to stop the violence. When it was all over there was over $1 billion in property damage. I know first hand as I appraised some of the looted buildings for insurance companies.

I watched the first day of rioting on TV safely north of the riots in West Hollywood. The next day I had plans to go to the Kentucky Derby as I was invited by a client. No, I no longer go to horse races. I realize how cruel they are. When I was going to LAX for my flight I heard on the radio that the airport was closed due to poor visibility caused by the smoke from the fires. My client had a private jet. His pilot ignored the warning and we left for Kentucky the last plane out of LAX.

While I was in Kentucky my cat was at my veterinarian's office. I would usually board him at the Holiday Hotel for Cats but he was on antibiotics for a cut. I thought he'd get proper vet care being boarded for treatment at my vet. Every day I called to see how he was doing. They said he was fine.
The day that I left LA the city was put on sunset to sunrise curfew to try to stop the violence. I came back from the Kentucky Derby at night. I was lucky to find a taxi. I was driven home up the 405 and across the 10 freeways to a deserted city. I was the only car on the freeways! It felt like one of those "end of the world" nightmares.  It was surreal.

The next day I called my vet so I could pick up my cat. They said he was in surgery. Oh, BTW he was a black cat which I stupidly named "Lucky." Don't ever name a pet "Lucky." The vet told me Lucky was in surgery to remove his two front legs. It seemed the veterinarians did not go to the VCA Animal Hospital during the six day riots even though the hospital was in West Hollywood miles north of the rioting. Lucky got gangrene from infection. They said if they removed his two front legs, they still didn't have enough skin to close him up. I told them to euthanize him. My cat an unlucky victim of the riots.

There were many victims of the riots. Big stores, franchises, markets did not want to reopen or open anew in the riot areas deeming them too risky. The poor people in those areas lost many much needed grocery stores. Even though redlining is illegal banks did not want to loan on property in the area. I know because the banks would tell the borrow that my appraisal came in low when it didn't just so they could deny them. Many people were too frightened to do any business in the area and closed shop.

Because I speak Spanish I appraise in the area. I have to admit after the riots I would only do appraisals at certain times. I took freeway routes, not side streets. Seeing a big group of people while driving in that area made me very nervous. I thought because I have white skin like Reginald Denny that I could get dragged out of my car and severely beaten or killed. I always drive with the doors locked.

Over time tensions eased. Some stores agreed to open in those areas. There was some new development as a result of the riots. There were many community meetings to try to solve some of the issues which caused the rioting and looting. Most of the rioters, looters were poor younger people. I remember watching TV and a young black man had three boxes of tennis shoes which he just looted from a Payless Shoes store. He looked into the videocamera of the news media holding up a shoe saying "This is for you, Rodney!" How did he know what size shoe Rodney wore?

It's now 25 years after the riots. I had thought rioting was behind us. LA must have matured beyond rioting as a response to an unjust court ruling or other event. Now we have riots because of Donald Trump and his White Supremacist supporters and their opponents. Besides the fear of riots and looting we now have to fear Trump starting a nuclear war with North Korea. We are again in tumultuous times.

Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates is a wildlife rehabilitator licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game. Mary Cummins is also a licensed real estate appraiser in Los Angeles, California.

Mary Cummins, Mary K. Cummins, Mary Katherine Cummins, Mary Cummins-Cobb, Mary, Cummins, Cobb, real estate, appraiser, appraisal, instructor, teacher, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Brentwood, Bel Air, California, licensed, permitted, single family, condo, pud, hud, fannie mae, freddie mac, uspap, certified, residential, certified resident, apartment building, multi-family, commercial, industrial, expert witness, civil, criminal, orea, dre, insurance, bonded, experienced, bilingual, spanish, english, form, 1004, 2055, land, raw, acreage, vacant, insurance, cost, income approach, market analysis, comparative, theory, appraisal theory, cost approach, sales, matched pairs, plot, plat, map, diagram, photo, photographs, photography, rear, front, street, subject, comparable, sold, listed, active, pending, expired, cancelled, listing, mls, multiple listing service, claw, themls,

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