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The 1992 Los Santos riots, sometimes called the 1992 Los Santos uprising, were a series of riots and civil disturbances that occurred in San Andreas County in April and May 1992. Unrest began in South Central Los Santos on April 29th, after a trial acquitted the four officers of the Los Santos Police Department for excessive force in the arrest and beating of Jim Queen, which had been videotaped and widely viewed in TV broadcasts.


The rioting took place in several areas in the Los Santos metropolitan area. Widespread looting, assault, and arson occurred during the riots, which local police forces had difficulty controlling due to lack of personnel and resources. The situation in the Los Santos area was only resolved after the San Andreas National Guard, the United States military, and several federal law enforcement agencies were deployed to assist in ending the violence and unrest.



Ethnic tensions:


On March 16th, 1991, a year before the Los Santos riots, storekeeper Yu Chen-Hei shot and killed an African-American ninth-grader Latisha Harland after a physical altercation. Yu was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and the jury recommended the maximum sentence of 16 years, but the judge, Chloe Reynolds, decided against prison time and sentenced Yu to five years of probation. Relationships between African-Americans and Korean communities significantly worsened after this, and the former became increasingly mistrustful of the criminal justice system. 



The Los Santos Times reported on several other significant incidents of violence between the two communities at the time:


          Other recent incidents include the May 25, 1991 shooting of two employees in a liquor store near Palomino avenue. The victims, both recent emigrants from Korea, were killed after complying with robbery demands made by an assailant described to the police as African American. Thursday prior, an African-American man suspected of committing a robbery in an auto parts store on Vespucci Boulevard was fatally wounded by his accomplice, who accidentally fired a shotgun round during a struggle with the shop’s Korean-American owner. “The violence is disturbing, too.” store owner Paek said. “But who cries for these victims?”



Involvement by Korean Americans:


Many Korean Americans in Los Santos refer to the event as ‘Sa-I-Gu’, meaning “four-two-nine” in the Korean language (4.29), in reference to April 29, 1992. Over 2,300 mom-and-pop shops run by Korean business owners were damaged through ransacking and looting during the riots, sustaining close to $400 million in damages.


During the riots, Korean Americans received very little aid or protection from police authorities, due to their low social status and language barriers. Many Koreans rushed to Little Seoul after Korean-language radio stations called for volunteers to guard against rioters. Many were armed, with a variety of improvised weapons, handguns, shotguns, and semi-automatic rifles.




Television coverage of two Korean merchants firing pistols repeatedly at roving looters was widely seen and controversial. The Liberty City times said “that the image seemed to speak of race war, and of vigilantes taking the law into their own hands.” The merchants reacting to the shooting of Mr. Yuen’s wife and her sister were looters who had converged on the shopping center where the shops were located.


The riots have been considered a major turning point in the development of distinct Korean American identity and community. Korean Americans responded in various ways, including the development of new ethnic agendas and organization and increased political activism.


(credits to @hipsxnfor the poses)

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