On April 29th,1992, violent protests broke out in Los Angeles. It was the result of the Los Angeles County District Court verdict for the Rodney King case. The verdict acquitted four Los Angeles police officers from excessive force charges levied because of actions during the arrest of Rodney King (a black man). Within two days the entire south central side of Los Angeles was enveloped in riots. By the third day, the Los Angeles police department, as well as the State of California, realized that they were unable to quell the unrest and requested federal assistance.
“The total federal response to the LA Riots reached 13,500 troops. A total of 55 people died during the riots, including eight who were killed by police officers and two who were killed by guardsmen. As many as 2,000 people were reported injured. Estimates of the material losses vary between about $800 million and $1 billion.”
In a rare act of reestablishing order, the president invoked what is called the Insurrection Act where Federal troops were called up to quell a riot. The federal government was essentially put in charge of a state’s responsibility, testing the very fabric of our constitutional republic. Similarly, we have seen a recent rash of violent protests over racial and post-election issues; with states or local authorities providing little attempt in suppressing them. Could President Trump be on the verge of a similar response? And what does that mean to the larger picture of liberty and governance? [Read more…]