LA riots – 20 years ago…

Otto, Los Angeles, 1992 © Sam Harris

It’s hard to believe it’s 20 years ago that i was living in Los Angeles… After traveling in Asia with my mate Will we flew into LA to meet another good friend, Jimo, who was working there at the time. Next thing i knew we’d all moved into this art deco apartment and… well, good times…

I have many memories from those days… The LA riots being one of them…

The second day of the riots the action moved from South Central up to Hollywood where we were living. There was an immediate curfew and nothing to do but go up onto the roof of our apartment building and watch Hollywood burn all around us. I took my camera, loaded with a roll of Polaroid PolaGraph and took this shot of our neighbor Otto.

Otto was a character and a half. He always wore the face mask and slippers with parcel tape soles. I remember when we moved into the apartment building we had to get the basement key from Otto to let the meter guy take a reading. We knocked on Otto’s door and he opened the small 1920’s speak easy style peep-hole and fed the key to us on a very long piece of string… It was all very David Lynch…

Sunday 29th April marks the twenty year anniversary of the LA riots. The acquittal of four white LAPD officers who savagely beat Rodney King an African-American man and were caught on video was the tipping point.


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