Lifestyle

The LA Riots in Photos: 24 Years Later

National guard, LA Riots, 1992
HAL GARB/AFP/Getty Images

I remember the LA Riots. When the Rodney King verdict was announced I was a kid -- 12 years old -- but the fear and panic was real as I watched smoke plumes from my friend's rooftop in the middle of the city, and heard my parents talk about rumors of looting "spreading"; I was in the Tower Records on Ventura while it was evacuated, which now seems completely surreal. Sadly, as anyone who watches the news (or The People v O.J. Simpson) knows, the causes of the riots haven't exactly been solved: the past year has been full of news of police brutality, often racially charged, echoing the problems that were brewing beneath the surface in LA just before the riots.

That's why we're breaking from traditional Thrillist topics to bring you these stark black-and-white images (provided graciously by the LA Public Library) of where the city was nearly a quarter-century ago today; it's a sobering reminder that though we've come a long way since then, there's always room to grow.

LA Riots 1992 Mini-mall Fire
Gary Leonard/Los Angeles Public Library

One of LA's trademark mini-malls has its flames extinguished.

LA Riots 1992 Looted Store
Gary Leonard/Los Angeles Public Library

The aftermath of a looted shoe store.

LA Riots 1992 National Guardsman
Gary Leonard/Los Angeles Public Library

A National Guardsman keeps watch.

LA Riots 1992 Fires Aftermath
Cary Moore/Los Angeles Public Library

The aftermath of raging fires.

LA Riots 1992 Kids National Guard
Gary Leonard/Los Angeles Public Library

Two kids do handstands while the National Guard stands watch.

LA Riots 1992 Looting Pico
Gary Leonard/Los Angeles Public Library

Looting -- and its aftermath -- on Pico.

LA Riots 1992 Koreatown Fires
Gary Leonard/Los Angeles Public Library

A street in K-Town as fires rage.

LA Riots 1992 Volunteers
Gary Leonard/Los Angeles Public Library

Volunteers distribute supplies to people affected by the riots.

LA Riots 1992 Ralphs Looting
Gary Leonard/Los Angeles Public Library

Police outside a looted Ralphs.

LA Riots 1992 National Guard
Gary Leonard/Los Angeles Public Library

Police meet National Guardsmen on the street.

LA Riots 1992
Gary Leonard/Los Angeles Public Library

A Humvee makes its way down a mid-city street.

LA Riots 1992 Fires
Gary Leonard/Los Angeles Public Library

Smoke rises as police make their presence known.

LA Riots 1992 Sears Looters
Gary Leonard/Los Angeles Public Library

Looters leaving a Sears.

LA Riots 1992 Looters
Gary Leonard/Los Angeles Public Library

Looters at an electronics store.

LA Riots 1992 Protesters LAPD
Gary Leonard/Los Angeles Public Library

Protesters gathered at the LAPD headquarters.

LA Riots 1992 Protesters
Gary Leonard/Los Angeles Public Library

Protesters gather Downtown.

LA Riots 1992 Fires
Gary Leonard/Los Angeles Public Library

Smoke rises behind a store sign.

LA Riots 1992 Riot Police
Gary Leonard/Los Angeles Public Library

Riot police take to the street as a fire burns in the background.

LA Riots 1992 Gutted Building
Cary Moore/Los Angeles Public Library

The gutted remains of a burned-down building.

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Jeff Miller loves Los Angeles. He's at @jeffmillerla on Instagram.