Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas reflects on the 1992 Civil Unrest

Rev. Al Sharpton interviews Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas for MSNBC’s PoliticsNation.

Twenty years ago I turned the television on and watched the videotaped beating of Rodney King. Outraged, appalled, and saddened from the images on the screen a part of me was also hopeful. I remember thinking, now the reality of the excessive force used by the police department was evident for the whole world to see. This time there was no denying the wrongful actions of the four police officers tasked with protecting and serving all citizens.

Reporter Marc Brown interviews Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas about the 1992 riots for ABC-7 News.

Like most Americans, I expected a verdict of guilty. I presumed there would be a public recognition that the police brutality, too often used on unarmed black men, would not be condoned.

ABC-7 News’ coverage of 2012 “Day of Dialogue: A Dialogue on Civil Unrest”.

When the verdict exonerated the four police officers and the community exploded, it was not just in response to the beating of Rodney King, but for years of indifference to suffering. I condemned the violence that ensured 20 years ago after the verdict was read and I still do to this day, nonviolence brings about lasting social change not chaos.

On this anniversary people are asking themselves: how far have we come? I believe the answer is far.

NBC News coverage of 2012 “Day of Dialogue: A Dialogue on Civil Unrest”.

We have a police department that is actively engaged with the community, a police chief that that understands that goodwill and trust between communities is essential to peacekeeping, and open dialogue and greatly improved relationships between Korean-Americans and African-Americans thanks to the work of leaders from both communities.

“Day of Dialogue: A Dialogue on Civil Unrest” video shown April 27, 2012.

Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of new developments have either been built or are in the process of being built and almost all the buildings that were destroyed during the riots in South Los Angeles have been rebuilt or replaced.

Yes, there is still much to be done, but looking back twenty years later we have made great strides in our recovery efforts.

CBS-2 / KCAL-9 News coverage of 2012 “Day of Dialogue: A Dialogue on Civil Unrest”.

Click here to listen to Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas discuss the Los Angeles Riots on National Public Radio.