L.A. Lays The Groundwork For Another Riot


©2004 Patrick Rooney


Thirteen years ago, convicted criminal Rodney King led law enforcement on a chase at speeds estimated at up to 110 to 115 mph.  When finally stopped, the hulking King looked to be high as a kite, refused requests to get into the prone position and appeared to lunge at one of the officers.  After repeated Taser blasts had no serious affect, he was beaten and arrested, and soon the media was showing a homemade and incomplete videotape of the beating seemingly on a continuous loop, creating a frenzy.


When jurors subsequently acquitted the four officers involved, all hell broke loose in Los Angeles —six days of rioting, 54 dead, nearly 2,400 injured, 13,000 arrested, 11,000 fires. All in all not a bad outcome for many angry black racists in the City of the Angels.


This June, convicted criminal Stanley Miller led LAPD officers on a chase in a reported stolen car. LAPD sources have said that in radio transmissions during pursuit, officers indicated they saw Miller making “furtive movements and believed he might be arming himself.” Police Chief William Bratton said that wire cutters were found at the scene. After catching Miller, an officer hit him eleven times with a flashlight, causing an immediate uproar among many blacks, who didn’t display similar outrage at the alleged car thief.


In ’92, infamous Congresswoman Maxine Waters excused the King-inspired riot, calling it a “rebellion.” She said it was "a spontaneous reaction to a lot of injustice and a lot of alienation and frustration." Regarding the looting, Maxine said, "One lady said her children didn't have any shoes. She just saw those shoes there, a chance for all of her children to have new shoes. Goddamn it! It was such a tearjerker. I might have gone in and taken them for her myself."  Believe it or not, Waters is a respected leader in the black community!


Then-mayor Tom Bradley poured fuel on the fire with this inappropriate outburst just after the officer’s “not guilty” verdicts were read: "We will not tolerate the savage beating of our citizens by a few renegade cops.” Sure enough, the riots soon followed.


White no-nonsense Police Chief Darryl Gates was made the primary scapegoat for the beating and general black anger. After the riots, he was forced out and replaced with a black chief, the weak and ineffective Willie Williams, who was later replaced with a marginally more effective black chief, Bernard Parks.


This is where the Rodney King past and the Stanley Miller present start to intersect.


Police Chief Parks’ expired term was not renewed by current mayor James Hahn, a move that was considered a slap in the face by many in the black community. Parks decided to run for city council, winning a seat, and recently announced he is running for mayor against rival Hahn!


Hahn is a white liberal who relied on black support to win his recent mayoral election against radical Hispanic city councilman Antonio Villaraigosa. After the Stanley Miller incident, Mayor Hahn, in an obvious ploy to save his hide with the black community, said at a community meeting, “No one is above the law in Los Angeles…[the incident] "upset me, it made me angry." Hahn said that if officers involved in the arrest "are found to have violated the law, those officers ought to be terminated. They ought to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."


Hahn’s desperate pandering won’t be enough to save his standing with the black community. Because he is white, he’ll be tossed overboard in a Los Angeles minute by the black community, who will likely install former police chief Parks in his place.


The mayor has named a “citizen’s committee”, which includes the usual cast of unsavory characters, including the likes of Rev. Cecil "Chip" Murray of First African Methodist Episcopal Church, who is known for giving out condoms in his church; and Ronald Antwine, said to be a founding member of the Bounty Hunters street gang.


One of the committee members, Project Islamic Hope’s Najee Ali, who made something of a name for himself leading protests during the recent Jeremy Morse—Donovan Jackson racially-charged police brutality case, was quoted as saying, “It’s Rodney King all over again.” Police chief Bratton called Ali “one of the biggest nitwits in Los Angeles ” on CNN, just before Ali was named to the citizen’s committee.


After it was publicized that Ali has a trial pending for allegedly leaving the scene of an accident and identity theft, Ali hastily quit the citizen’s committee. Ali is reportedly a former member of the notorious Crips gang who was convicted of armed robbery in 1988 and who spent two years at the California Correctional Institute in Tehachapi.

But even more interesting, the Christian Science Monitor interviewed Ali two years ago, and he revealed that he was an active participant in the ’92 L.A. riots! His name was reportedly Todd Eskew (before later changing it to a Muslim name in prison):

“Ali can't recall how many windows he broke, or how many fires he and his friends started. They'd light anything in a store that would burn and spread flames quickly – and then run. Their rage was born of poverty and humiliation, and years of perceived abuse by police and neighborhood Korean stores. ‘I was so angry I wanted to continue. But I stopped after two days out of sheer, physical exhaustion,’ says Mr. Eskew, who goes by the name of Najee Ali today…”

Amazingly, regarding the soiled histories of some on the committee, Mayor Hahn said, "We weren't putting together a blue ribbon commission here. We were putting together a commission of people who represented all aspects of life in the community." I’ll say!


But “all aspects” does not stretch to include law-abiding black conservatives such as Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson of BOND, who has been working tirelessly in the community for years. What a shame, and a sham—the so-called “citizen’s committee”—that is.

Of course this fiasco wouldn’t be complete without the arrival of a fake out-of-area civil rights fighter, and on cue, the “Riot King”, Al Sharpton rode into town, meeting with Chief Bratton and Ali. Bratton, apparently sensing, as a new white police chief in a sea of angry blacks, that he was short of friends, backpedaled in a pathetic fashion from his earlier comments aimed at “nitwit” Ali, saying the comments were “intemperate and unfortunate.”


Worse, woefully underdressed in his shirt sleeves at a press conference, and flanked by Sharpton and Ali in suits and power ties, Chief Bratton told listeners he didn’t mean to offend anyone when he declared a war on gangs, calling them “terrorists” and “tribal thugs”. This is the same guy who, along with Mayor Rudy Guiliani, supposedly cleaned up big, bad New York ? One of the problems here is that L.A. Mayor Hahn is no Rudy Guiliani. In other words, Bratton knows Hahn won’t provide needed backup if he were to speak openly about the real problem—black misbehavior fueled by rabble-rousers like Sharpton and Ali.


One bright light is L.A. Councilman Dennis Zine, who said the citizen’s committee is unnecessary because the incident is already being looked at by numerous organizations, including the Police Department inspector general, the FBI and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.


But as in ’92, there simply are not enough voices with the courage to tell the truth in Los Angeles . Because of that, the inmates are running the asylum, and the city is heading toward dangerous ground—a possible replay of Rodney King.


The city’s black media in particular is savoring the comparisons. For instance, the Wave, a major newspaper in the black community, is currently running a grainy, strangely familiar aerial photo of a group of cops apparently on top of Stanley Miller, with officer John Hatfield raising his right arm, a ready-to-strike flashlight clearly visible. Superimposed over the photo, in red and white letters, is a garish headline: “THE STANLEY MILLER BEATING”.


Announcement of roundtable discussions and other meetings to discuss this and other recent “rough arrests” are sprouting up in the community.


While a reasonable person would shudder at the possibility of another riot, the angry and irrational continue to beat the “No Justice, No Peace!” drum. As usual, if anything destructive—God forbid—comes to pass, the real losers will be the black community themselves, just as in ’92. Because today’s L.A. black community—twelve years after the riots and all the “rebuilding” money, is in some ways worse off now than it was then.


The “rebuild L.A. ” money came, but where did it go? Some “community leaders” apparently have done well, but what about the community itself? L.A. ’s black community continues to suffer from, first and foremost, moral poverty, which gives rise to grievous, self and outer-directed wounds.


My hope and prayer for the City of the Angels is that it will head off this potential train wreck before it occurs. That people of common sense will make their voices heard, and tell the truth that black problems are internal, not external. I also hope and pray that the people will tell all the self-appointed leaders it’s time for them to take a good, long vacation. Unfortunately the average black Los Angeles resident appears to be a stubborn, willing passenger on this runaway train.


If this course is not changed, it could be another “long hot summer” in L.A. And that is a price we cannot afford to pay again.