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Our helicopter whirled in a tight circle over Florence and Normandie in South Central Los Angeles Pilot Mike Smith kept the ship at an almost constant bank I was in the left seat next to the pilot and had a clear view of the rampaging clutter on the street below Cameraman Martin Clancey strapped in a shoulder harness was hanging out of the helicopter He had opened the left side door placed his mini-cam on his shoulder and was recording the helter-skelter action This was the early evening of April 29 1992 The Los Angeles Riots were erupting below us We had begun to get reports of scattered violence shortly after we had watched on television the barbaric video tape of motorists being ripped out of their cars hammered pounded and chased by rock-throwing men on the ground The image of a man later identified as Reginald Denny being pulled from his truck by thugs still burned in my mind My memory was seared by the vivid imprint of the motionless beaten man lying on the ground being kicked and brutalized I was still filled with rage at the sight of one of the assailants picking up a large piece of cinder-block and throwing it at his apparently lifeless body smashing him in the head Then after the savage beating the attacker appeared to do a dance raise his hands towards the helicopter overhead and flashed a gang sign Then to my utter disbelief another person on the street reached into the pocket of the fallen driver and stole his wallet This was my television memory now I was seeing first hand what was really happening I peered through my side-window as the copter continued to circle in a steep bank I could see that traffic was moving through the intersection below us I watched as various cars whipped in a U-turn around to avoid the ominous chaos ahead There were clusters of people milling
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