Twenty years ago this week, Los Angeles was engulfed by anarchy.
April 26, 1992 marked the beginning of the L.A. riots, a period of unrest sparked by the acquittal of three white policemen caught on tape violently beating black motorist Rodney King.
Chaos ensued as widespread looting, arson, and even murder occurred, and local police deserted the city. But if frightened and injured civilians had Twitter news feeds to keep them informed and guide them to safety, maybe things would have been different.
This week, @RealTimeLARiots is offering a glimpse into how Twitter may have helped keep the public informed, had it existed at the time. Powered by NBC Los Angeles, the feed is part of a larger NBC project: “L.A. Riots: 20 Years Later.”
The Twitter account’s coverage includes breaking news updates, quotes from the mayor, and links to archival video footage, punctuated with plenty of hashtags. Today’s hindsight makes some tweets particularly interesting.
Even 20 years later, the tweets are chilling, evoking the extreme violence and danger that L.A. citizens faced. The Twitter account may not have been able to assist the riots’ thousands of injured victims, but it ensures that we do not forget their suffering today.
Photo by @RealTimeLARiots