Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992 documents the years leading up to the explosive L.A. riots in 1992.
This documentary is one of several that have been aired over the last few weeks but Let it Fall takes a slightly different tack and looks at the longer term background to the riots.
The acquittal of the policemen who beat Rodney King might have been the spark that set off the riots but the tinder for those flames had been laid down long before.
Poverty and lack of education fueled the formation of street gangs and when they connecting with drug dealers, the street of L.A. become battleground. Innocents were caught in the crossfire and the LAPD used tactics like Operation Hammer to come down hard on the gangs.
However, many of these tactics were counterproductive and only isolated the black community from law enforcement even more. These heavy handed tactics together with death in police custody piled fuel upon fuel, ready to burn.
When the city finally went up in flames the toll was high with man deaths and thousands wounded. Communities were left at odd with each other as shopkeepers defended their stores with deadly force and locals watched their neighborhood reduced to ashes.
John Ridley’s documentary gives context to the riots and perhaps some insight on how to avoid similar riots happening again.
Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992 airs at 9:00 PM on ABC.