Maxine Waters’ comments during Rodney King riots resurface amid ‘confrontational’ controversy

A video of Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., comments during the Rodney King riots resurfaced amid the controversy surrounding her inflammatory remarks about the Derek Chauvin trial. Waters has faced backlash after saying protesters should get more “confrontational” if Derek Chauvin is acquitted.


Amid the controversy over her most recent remarks, a video of Waters’ remarks during the Rodney King riots resurfaced on social media Thursday. The footage shows Waters’ reaction at a press conference in 1992 after riots raged in the City of Angels following the not-guilty verdicts for the four Los Angeles police officers charged with beating Rodney King after a high-speed chase. The ensuing riots left dozens of people dead and thousands of National Guard troops deployed to the city.

In the video, Waters described the chaos following the verdict, including fires around the city and “scores of injuries” in her district, before addressing calls for her to urge peace. “There are those who would like for me and others and all of us to tell people to go inside, to be peaceful, that they have to accept the verdict,” Waters said. “I accept the responsibility of asking people not to endanger their lives. I am not asking people not to be angry.” The California Democrat said she was angry about the verdict and had “a right to that anger,” as well as the people rioting after the verdict. “We don’t want anybody killed. We don’t believe in violence,” continued Waters.


“But there are some angry people in America, and young Black males in my district are feeling at this moment, if they could not get a conviction with the Rodney King video available to the jurors, that there can be no justice in America.” The video resurfaced after Waters urged protesters on Saturday to become “more confrontational,” depending on the jury’s verdict. If Chauvin isn’t found guilty of murder, Waters said Saturday night, “We’ve got to stay on the street, and we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to ensure they know that we mean business.”

“We’ve got to stay on the street, and we’ve got to get more active; we’ve got to get more confrontational,” said Waters. “We’ve got to make sure they know that we mean business.” The comments irked Judge Peter Cahill, who mentioned Waters by name before saying he wished elected officials would stop referencing the case “especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law” to let the judicial process play out as intended. He added, however, that he did not believe the comments unduly influenced the jury as they had been told not to watch the news.

Tyson Houlding
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