« Slow Burn

SB6 Extra: Leading Up to the Riots

2021-12-01

This week, we're highlighting a few excerpts from this season's Slate Plus episodes—interviews with George Holliday, professor Edward Chang, L.A. Times journalist Jim Newton, and Rodney King’s best friend Johnnie Kelly—all who help to explain the cultural and social tensions building in Los Angeles in the 1980s and 1990s.

To listen to these interviews in full, learn more about the making of this season, skip all the ads, and support Slow Burn, sign up for Slate Plus now. It's only $1 for your first month.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
They were set out its job, we're taking a break from the slovak story this week to talk about. wait twice and how our members support that? What we do here and if you want, it promos and adds like this one. The best way to do that is by signing up for slight plus you can go ahead and do that right now, it's late dot com, slash, slow burn so here's what it's like, making a narrative podcast like slow burn. I started working on the seas and backing art and I immediately Deauville by reading books and articles watching your and interviews and searching through archives. This all helps the producers and I find the right people to talk to the people who are integral to the story who if through it and can give us a better sense of everything that happened and we ve talked to a lot of people so far. I think we ve done no, but nearly forty interview so far, the season alone, but its slight plus memberships that
now is the time and resources to really give this story of due diligence. We obviously try to include everything we ve learned into the main show, but there's a lot of interesting stories that we just can't fit. So that's why we bonus episodes where every week that produces an I got to tell you about the make. the show and you get to hear more from a really great sources the season. So let's talk about some of the extended interviews you ve missed so far First, we had was believed to be one of final interviews with George Holiday, the men who caught Rodney kings, beating on tape? make sure everyone else got to see it holiday died in September of complications from carbon nineteen? He was sixty one but what we spoke with him in June. He was really open and told us everything about the tape even this cool story that involves Arnold Schwarzenegger, but what I couldn't believe with a story. how he sold the videotape. Did you just get a five hundred dollar check from
Eighty allay that's the figure that keeps coming up. You got five hundred dollars so like how did that come about, and how did you get that money We remember all the other tv stations over the form that very first night here. We need a copy to take when you took up the tape so the next morning I called from my office Hey I'm getting all these calls from your stations, And then they are actually offering to pay like a hundred bucks. A hundred and fifty bucks to get a copy of the tape. And so I call them is a hair like to get my tape back so that I can make copies and just make a bit of money for from something to these people. There is a lot of people wanting it. I forget mix little bit of money. There, sure why you come on in and will give you the take back. though, that afternoon I went to this Katy away. We gotta watch me to an office and the kind of I realize now that the limit of an ambush they had a video camera there and had somebody ask me questions and I wasn't being attention
they said you know what we'd like to hold onto exclusivity of this tape, fur a couple of days. We give you a five hundred dollars check now will hold onto it for two more days and then we give it back to you and you can disseminate it. If you want Hey look. I don't have the means to make take copies, cuz one of the things I was worried about his high. Am I going to make copies of this tape? You know it's. I don't have the equipment to do it I would have to figure that out. I said: ok, let's do it. do the five hundred now and then I'll worry about it later. So I got that check for five hundred dollars and I was going to go pick up the couple days later, but by it had been subpoena from Channel five by the police. Depart because they were doing there in the internal affairs investigation? So I was but to get the original back, but luckily I was able to get they had made. I ve just copy of it for me, so I got that instead, but then the original tape that got subpoenaed by the police department eventually
his way into the FBI? S hands? I guess that's because of the second trial and they have to this day I've been trying to get it back. like talking to wore nothing and I mean this is a question to ask, but would do you wish you you knew that you know about it today, like what do you think you would have done differently, then, totally are marketed the tape differently. I mean it sounds like a accrued thing to say marketing a table showing a gentleman get beaten up right, Bertha.
We are definitely had gone about the way I handle the tape, not differently. Seasons are changing, and so your personal text are you ready for something new freshen up your fall with a change in the core, all while upgrading their comfort? That's where Brooklyn incomes in Brooklyn has something for your every comfort me ideal for a season, a refresh because the launching new products colours and patterns all the time. I'm talking, buttery, soft and breathable sheets, plush, Absorbent Taos, cosy, robes and company lounge, where you want to put on in never take off. So I was lucky enough to get a bed set from Brooklyn and it's the lux do. Course, sheet set and pillowcases. Let me tell you something: I don't know what took me so long. I didn't even know that I could sleep so comfortably at home. So let me be the one to insist. You get rid of those old scratchy sheets that you been sleeping on. For
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ninety one understand that you arrived in the United States and nineteen seventy four at the age of eighteen? You got there obviously very fascinating time right because, like you know that first generation of asian immigrants would also korean immigrants that have come to this country after the immigration active sixty five right. So you seeing this unfold. You notice this tension between recent immigrants and black Americans and L, Can you dislike lay up what that landscape? Look like at the time cause you. Obviously it was so salient the tension that you'd thought. I've got to study this so like four people that we're not around, then what was it like Are you saying? Well initially, it was difficult because the majority of creative emerges. Did you see that as a problem there can hardly day you nothing but work, work work so to them There were just working to realise American about
because I was fellow Cree enemy grounds. I was able to communicate in clear language in persuading them now We need to review Tunisia. We need to understand each other better n side, they gradually accepted me. Sometimes I volunteer to work as a merchant on weekends. Now was able to get a full grasp of growth. In tension between them two communities and I knew he was a ticking time bomb noises getting worse and worse. What did the tension? Look like that? Like was it like fights? was a distrust day. We didn't trust each other You create, immigrants spoke very a little english language unable to communicate effectively with their customers. and are many african american customers. Didn't trust reemergence. Do lots of rumours going around at the time loss of rumours about create immigrants really
get the money to start business, whereas african Americans have been here more than two hundred years to having a hard time getting along from the financial institutions, are able to start a business, and yet here no merchant. Screen immigration, just land, a few months ago. I they are able to purchase growing market or look. I saw end stores in my community and, as you know, does rumors were going around day day The government was providing special funding stones to Korea, merchants and African Americans are not right. Korea. Mergers were selling, invariably Alongside a much higher price there were over. Complaining that Korea, mergers were rude and disrespectful but a customer reason they do not live in the community. They do not give it back to the community
decree emergence dean do you know, about giving back to the community because it creates support. Everyone is survival mode the time I know I went on decree and radio and news. labor they making efforts to make sure you need to learn Papa in a business advocates. The United States, slow burn of blogs you buy Melcher Milton is in the business of growing business. so no matter what stage during Melcher Smart marketing platform can help you grow and get your brand out there. You more than a small business and merchants got intelligent marketing too to help you grow it with marketing automation, design, tools and recommendations that all work together to help you so more stuff melt, jump built for growing businesses
One person we really wanted to focus on the and as LAPD Chief Darrow Gates, we had allowed in our view of Jim Newton, who covered the police for the Ellie time, the nineteen nineties, Newton told us some really wild stories about chief gates that I think exemplifies the power he bewildered over the city and the department at the time. In your experience covering other enforcement agencies. Was there anything, distinguish the LAPD from those that you you get the scent It was fundamentally different at some sort of way from the other agencies. you are familiar with. One of the very first things I did it in taking over the ivy was so glad to breakfast with their own gates, who was then the recently retired chief availability. And the main thing that I was struck with amendment is the degree of hostility from him toward the paper immediately transferred to me by the lad, never even met a man who is hostile from oh, almost the first one out of his mouth. In that
there. We had breakfasted unpleasant San Marino, suburban LOS Angeles, their Pasadena, he picked up the matter and it is good that got keep something for you, Jim and that is to say I gotta, be frightened. Carry me weary and say hello, and he went on to tell me about a colleague that the LAPD had been spy and automated found cocaine in his in a pocket Panza Laundromat, and I mean it was this incredibly confrontation, all kind of threatening, first experience, and so I regard your question when I started covering LAPD. My first impressions were of the bad, not just of today, although gates with the right first impression but the combativeness of the institution. Still, attitude towards the paper, You know I must say that persisted through to my time, covering the place far the LAPD, a lot of institutional,
defensiveness ascends, the others in the political and journalism universes were out to get on that day. the band together to resist politics and kind of nosey civilians was really striking. For me, I'm in I had covered city hall Why not police related issues there, MR never run into. Detention that seems so top to bottom hostile? to any kind of innocent question private. What can I do It is one of car linger in their breakfast with Darrow gave so like that introduction to him, I mean, did Rick not tell you that hey man, by the way chief gates, Cotta hates off? I know I wasn't surprised that he didn't love the eyes of those. I was there pretty much. It knew that wasn't. I just was surprised at how quickly that answer. me personally, as I guess most of my life talking on politics, and most people in politics works I have a good relationship with the person covering them so either rather like me. He didn't
out of their way, to tell me how much they dislike me? It was. It is only. We met or feed outside the restaurant we walked inside, sat down. I don't recall even saying good morning or how do you do before? I was like that occasion for you, I think your point is exactly what I didn't expect that this was going to be a friendly get together or that it was going to be chummy or anything like that. I just was surprised at how forward the hostility was. How much it seemed to be directed at me. A virtual gaze adjust retired, so there wasn't reason for him institutionally for him. butter me up in some way amend, but there's just kind of human civility and a kind of strategic calculation that usually goes into that first meeting with the reporter, so it was notable different than that and I was taken here we are thirty years later chosen by itself
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It was important for us to really get to know who ride me. King was beyond George Holidays videotape Johnny Kelly, who was one of kings best friends and later his bodyguard was an important source for that he was arson it interview for the season, and he gave us a lot of perspective on what it was like growing up with Rodney and how things changed for him, after the beating. Let's go back the very beginning down. Let's, let's go back to your childhood because I know that you grew up and pass a data, and so this would have been like what the seventies eighties. Yes, you grown up so for people there weren't around in like what was passing alike then levels by growing tobacco Pasadena was nice. It was nice quiet place, they did have some gang activity. We chemist away from the gangs as a kid there, the police Department was Keller, shady that you know it s, just like every other police department. Today, you know when you color, so that's what we deal with mostly where the police even
the kid alchemists Daphne as a kid who did that I feel I would they just ass, a young you walk down the street, do to you are yet at you, walking down the street their poor, you over check your pockets, Hausa! You ask. Is grown up. Our pass were always tell us what have you do stay away from the police, so we nor to stay away from the police. Do you remember meeting gleamed like the first time like how you met him? Oh yeah was deafening What was it I'm a godparents about me? I don't write motorcycle and over by J P. Our there was a frisbie pike, and damn over there, what water in and run new was over. There was all key, is ours ride? My bike in writing? Was Oda generated, go efficient, and so I stopped Edna. our talking to was digging for airforce, so we can go fishing and we said there are day would pull in water, try to fish and found a lady of an efficient.
We're hollow yard, with our values this kind of south country here where I came from the country, ass, Romero, crackers, Luxor, My first Y know that his pops was was nicknamed king fish. Yes, sounds like fish and was just like a big part of which I like to do right was deafening. Fishing was a big thing for us that was I get away. There was only thing we had to do back then it in half and tender as in all types of you to get our scientists as you got to the end, the high school at? What was a direction shower headed in I was here, to the construction fear, but for Ronnie are actually thirty's, Gambier Probus ballplayer, while use a good aim, is good at that he's not go pro doubt that's where his heart was. It will happen. He end up going to jail for one thing, he started getting in trouble star, goin off on the wrong path, a camera ended things. Why did you know that he was gone on the wrong path as it was Adam idea idea? I would be women, sometimes we both with the Gatt,
worn off on the right path, but he can a ticket from through the right now and to the left. You know I'm, not asking you to snatch bit. He talked about drinking smoke. unlike at a very young age. Try so like was it that sort of stuff that was contributing to that? Are you drinking How can you must ask me, I mean going to liquor, stores and stuff and still be ran out in that type of stuff. You don't tell me who's, kids growing up, you know it's nothing beautiful about it now, but when you look back, that's what we was doing, did you recognize him as having an alcohol problem, even as a kid We recognize him ass, Heaven, it alcohol problematic, of whose both doin it and it didn't count. It become a big I'm into after beaten in he mean he would still be area and drink a ever. How Harlequin stuff like that? We both did but the incident triple, it was bad. Ok, if you ve made it this far. I know you're afraid
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Transcript generated on 2021-12-02.