The 1992 Los Angeles riots began at the intersection of Florence and Normandie with two horrific beatings. This is video of both.
Reginald Denny beating
At approximately 6:45 pm, Reginald Oliver Denny, a white truck driver who stopped at a traffic light at the intersection of Florence and South Normandie Avenues, was dragged from his vehicle and severely beaten by a mob of local black residents as news helicopters hovered above, recording every blow, including a concrete fragment connecting with Denny's temple and a cinder block thrown at his head as he lay unconscious in the street. The police never appeared, having been ordered to withdraw for their own safety, although several assailants (the so-called L.A. Four) were later arrested and one, Damian Williams, was sent to prison. Instead, Denny was rescued by an unarmed, African American civilian named Bobby Green Jr. who, seeing the assault live on television, rushed to the scene and drove Denny to the hospital using the victim's own truck, which carried twenty-seven tons of sand. Denny had to undergo years of rehabilitative therapy, and his speech and ability to walk were permanently damaged. Although several other motorists were brutally beaten by the same mob, Denny remains the best-known victim of the riots because of the live television coverage.
Fidel Lopez beating
At the same intersection, just minutes after Denny was rescued, another beating was captured on video tape. Fidel Lopez, a self-employed construction worker and Guatemalan immigrant, was ripped from his truck and robbed of nearly $2,000. Damian Williams smashed his forehead open with a car stereo as another rioter attempted to slice his ear off. After Lopez lost consciousness, the crowd spray painted his chest, torso and genitals black. Rev. Bennie Newton, an African-American minister who ran an inner-city ministry for troubled youth, prevented others from beating Lopez by placing himself between Lopez and his attackers and shouting "Kill him and you have to kill me, too". He was also instrumental in helping Lopez get medical aid by taking him to the hospital. Lopez survived the attack, undergoing extensive surgery to reattach his partially severed ear, and months of recovery.
Both beatings were covered on live television.
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