Civil rights attorney Connie Rice said there was "a rough and hostile relationship" between many Los Angeles residents and the LAPD at the time of the riots 20 years ago.
Take Rice, for example.
"I was at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, waking up every day, trying to figure out a new way to sue LAPD," she recalled Friday during a chat streamed live on latimes.com. "We were in full-fledged war."
Twenty years later, Rice, now co-director of the Advancement Project, says: "We’re in a place I never thought we would be."
In The Times' second live discussion Friday afternoon, Rice and Matt Lait, the paper's courts and police editor, continued discussions about LAPD reform after the riots.
Lait said the department is now more diverse, Rice added that police leadership has "changed its thinking" and both agreed that the LAPD is more progressive than some other departments in the state.
"There’s a lot of discussion about the LAPD and how it was and wasn't," Lait said. "But the fact is, it actually has civilian oversight and control. And many of the agencies throughout L.A. County and throughout the state really don’t have that."
Added Rice: "When I look at Oakland, we’re light years ahead."