Listeners Remember: ‘It felt like the entire city was trying to flee Los Angeles’

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When the verdict was announced, I was in the lower-level cafeteria at USC. I remember the entire cafeteria going silent when the news was read on the four televisions that were there. I remember shaking my head and wondering how a verdict like that was even possible. I also remember thinking “this is not going to be good,” but returned to my Westside apartment unprepared for what started happening a few hours later. I didn’t realize the gravity of the situation until some friends from campus knocked on my door asking if they could stay over as they were afraid of returning to the campus.

Did the events change your perception about justice?

The LAPD always struck me as very militaristic during the time I lived in Los Angeles (1988 – 1993). Being from the New York area, I was not used to helicopters flying over my apartment at night and during my few encounters with LAPD officers, they seemed to lack the more-jovial-than-threatening “seen it all” vibe I always got from NYPD officers. What happened during the LA Riots was something that came out of nowhere for me as a 22 year old kid from the East Coast. It felt very tied to the place, if that makes sense.

–David Hernandez

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