Tag Archives: LAPD
SXSW ’12: ‘Uprising: Hip Hop & The LA Riots’ Is An Explosive Chronicle of A Pivotal Moment In Our Nation’s History
“Uprising: Hip Hop & the LA Riots” gets right to the point, starting off with a bang, or perhaps a police baton to the face, as Rodney King walks down the stretch of highway where his notorious beating took place, reenacting that fateful night. The film, produced by VH1 Rock Docs and directed by Mark Ford, tells the story of the 1992 LA riots, using stunning archival footage and interviews with people who were there, while also drawing the connection between the riots and the gangsta rap of the time, featuring N.W.A., Ice Cube and Ice T as both the poets and prophets of this outburst of rage and destruction. Fittingly, it’s narrated by Snoop Dogg, who found his success in the wake of the riots. The film is an explosive, blistering analysis of this historic event in American history, viewed through the lens of hindsight 20 years later.
‘Uprising’ lays out the blueprint of the atmosphere in Los Angeles at this time, illustrating how police chief Darryl Gates recruited white Southern military men for his force, which, combined with Ronald Reagan‘s no tolerance drug policy created an environment of stunning police brutality and racial profiling in the ghettos of L.A. The violence and persecution at the hands of the police force this community was subject to (tanks with battering rams were knocking down houses and thousands of people were being arrested every week) was articulated with precise anger and threats and prophecies of vengeance by the rappers of this time, most notably in N.W.A.’s “Fuck Tha Police,” which became the theme song of the riots.
Upon the news of the not-guilty verdict in the trial of the LAPD officers who beat King, the simmering anger and rage erupted on the streets of L.A., creating a scene of total violence and anarchy that raged for three days. The film recreates this detonation via home video, helicopter news camera footage, and the photographs of Bart Bartholomew, a photographer who was essentially the first victim of the angry mob that turned on him after police fled the scene, escaping in his car as the windows shattered around him. At the corner of Florence and Normandie, drivers were pulled from their vehicles and beaten to near death. One of the “L.A. Four,” who beat truck driver Reginald Denny in the street, Henry Watson is one of the most compelling figures in the film. He feels little remorse for the incident, and who can blame him? This outburst of violence came after 400 years of the white man’s oppression, and the riots served as a primal scream, a demand for respect and understanding.
The archival footage used in ‘Uprising’ is absolutely stunning. Filmmaker Matthew McDaniel captured a street level view of the madness and anarchy on his Magnavox video camera, and his interviews with rioters were sampled by Dr. Dre on his seminal album The Chronic. The film also illustrates the violence that occurred between the Korean and black populations, as tensions had been running high since a Korean shop owner was let off with probation after shooting and killing a young black girl during an altercation at her store. Footage of Korean shop owners defending their turf by firing handguns at random in the streets is chilling. And yet, as described by interviews throughout the film, much of the anarchy and looting served to unify the groups such as blacks and latinos, Crips and Bloods.
Even though 53 people were killed during the riots, many injured, and property destroyed and looted, the film takes the stance that this event was the necessary steam vent on the boiling pot that had been simmering since at least the Watts riots in 1965. Henry Watson’s lack of remorse for the event illustrates that perfectly. Watson doesn’t feel guilty for the emotional cry that these riots were — a reaction to the problems of a broken and corrupt system, the demand for respect by the black man. ‘Uprising’ is an absolutely necessary documentation of this event, especially in a post-Occupy world, as OWS seemed to be a similar emotional movement demanding a change to the ideology and infrastructure that oppresses so many. As the bass to “Fuck Tha Police” and Sublime’s “April 29th, 1992” reverberates through your chest, you just may be inspired to hurl a trash can through a plate glass window yourself.
According to the police detective who spent three years investigating the murder of Biggie Smalls, the man pictured above—Wardell Fouse a.k.a Darnell Bolton a.k.a. “Poochie”—was the triggerman who killed Biggie fifteen years ago today. His fee for murdering the greatest rapper of all time? $13,000.
On March 9, 1997, Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G., was shot to death while sitting in a Chevy Suburban outside of a hip-hop industry party in Los Angeles. Biggie’s drive-by shooting occurred just six months after his friend turned foe, 25-year-old Tupac Shakur, suffered a similar fate after a boxing match in Las Vegas. These killings remain the worst tragedies in hip-hop history.
Seeing the two greatest rappers of a generation cut down in their prime was bad enough. The death of two young men who were so beloved by their family, friends, and fans was worse still. Adding insult to injury, Big and Pac were both murdered on busy city streets, in view of numerous witnesses. Yet there has never been an arrest in either case and both murders remain officially unsolved to this day.
Although the police investigations in Los Angeles and Las Vegas have failed to bring the truth to light, there is no shortage of websites, documentaries, and books detailing various theories and counter-theories—ranging from rap beef and gang violence to crooked cops and government conspiracies. But the latest book to be published, Murder Rap: The Untold Story of the Biggie Smalls & Tupac Shakur Murder Investigations. by Greg Kading (second photo), is different from the rest.
Kading is neither a journalist nor a conspiracy theorist. A retired L.A.P.D. detective, he was in charge of the special task force that investigated Christopher Wallace’s murder between 2006 and 2009. After Biggie’s mother Voletta Wallace filed suit against the City of Los Angeles and the L.A.P.D.—seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages—the department was highly motivated to solve the case. That’s when Kading got the assignment.
After his efforts led to two sworn confessions from people who said they played a part in the killings of Wallace and Shakur, Kading was suddenly pulled off the case. At the time, he was under investigation by L.A.P.D. Internal Affairs for allegedly making false statements on an affidavit in a separate case. However, in the end, Internal Affairs cleared Kading of any wrongdoing. Around the same time, the Wallace family’s lawsuit was dismissed.
When the 22-year veteran saw the case he built being shelved, he became so frustrated that he quit the force—but not before making copies of his evidence so that he could put all his findings into a book. His conclusions are controversial to be sure, but they are so thoroughly researched that they’re hard to ignore.
For the full story and interview click here
From the LAtimes:
“Soul Train” creator Don Cornelius was found dead at his Sherman Oaks on home Wednesday morning.
Law enforcement sources said police arrived at Cornelius’ home around 4 a.m. He apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case was ongoing.
The sources said there was no sign of foul play, but the Los Angeles Police Department was investigating.
In a 2010 interview with The Times, he said he was excited about a movie project he was developing about “Soul Train.”
“We’ve been in discussions with several people about getting a movie off the ground. It wouldn’t be the ‘Soul Train’ dance show, it would be more of a biographical look at the project,” he said. “It’s going to be about some of the things that really happened on the show.”
According to a Times article, Cornelius’ “Soul Train” became the longest-running first-run nationally syndicated show in television history, bringing African American music and style to the world for 35 years.
Cornelius stopped hosting the show in 1993, and “Soul Train” ceased production in 2006.
[Updated at 7:31 a.m.: Cornelius was 75 and had recently been divorced.
The sources say he was discovered by a family member early Wednesday morning, suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. He was rushed to a hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead.
So how’d he get into this mess?
According to an LAPD spokesman, an officer in a patrol car witnessed the TV hunk jump a curb. The cops pulled over Rottman, who allegedly reeked of booze. He was given and flubbed a field sobriety test and then blew a 0.19 on a Breathalyzer — more than double California’s legal limit.
Rottman was taken into custody and booked on suspicion of DUI. He was released from jail a few hours later without posting a bond.
Rottman got his start as an extra in the 2008 big-screen comedy “The House Bunny” and appeared in bit roles in a few other features before landing a plum part last year on “Gigantic” opposite Grace Gummer and Gia Mantegna (better known as the respective daughters of Meryl Streep and Joe Mantegna). The teen dramedy ran for one season before it was canceled in April.
Rottman also dates fellow Nickelodeon star Victoria Justice of “Zoey 101″ fame.