April 28, 2012

RETROSPECTIVE: L.A. riots: Good Samaritan remembers his scary truck-driver rescue.

In one of the most disturbing images from the Los Angeles riots, six black assailants dragged Reginald Denny, a 33-year-old truck driver, out of his cab in South Los Angeles and bashed his head in with a brick. A television chopper broadcast the violence live. The attack happened shortly after not-guilty verdicts were handed down in the racially charged trail of the police beating of Rodney King, which kicked off six days of rioting that left dozens dead and thousands injured.

About a mile and a half away, Titus Murphy and his then-girlfriend Terri Barnett were watching the Denny attack on live television. Murphy, who was an unemployed engineer at the time, couldn’t believe what he saw.

“When this gentleman was getting beat something was just telling me this isn’t right, this isn’t what it’s all about,” he told Yahoo News 20 years later. “When he got hit in the head with the brick something told me to go down there. I just reacted.”

Read the whole thing. But I don’t think you can blame this on a “class of have-nots.” At least, if the races were reversed, you wouldn’t be getting socioeconomic excuses.