25 years later: Mayor Eric Garcetti reflects on 1992 L.A. riots

L.A. mayor recalls riots

NEW YORK -- Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke exclusively with CBS News on Friday, reflecting on how the history of the 1992 Los Angeles riots has shaped the city over the years.

Garcetti said the disconnect between the public and authorities appeared to be the main source of turmoil years ago. 

"Los Angeles in 1992 was a different place," Garcetti said. "It was much more segregated. [People] felt helpless because their voices hadn't been heard. This was something that happened long before there were cell phones." 

"We had too many disconnects where there was no accountability," he continued. "We had to find projects to bring our city together. Ultimately, it took the federal government's consent to take over our police department."   

Garcetti says he is hopeful about the future safety of the city, which has adopted radical changes such as the police department's use of body cameras. 

"The trust is much stronger now," he said. "I think there is more accountability. We are never perfect, but I would say we're half way up the mountain. We're still vulnerable, and that's why we have to keep improving every day." 

"I think any city in America can erupt in violence," the mayor added. "Violence happens spontaneously and quickly. I think what you can do in the meantime is change the system, vent the feelings, and let human beings know that there is accountability." 

1992 L.A. riots 

Chaos erupted in the streets on April 29, 1992, moments after a jury acquitted four police officers accused in the videotaped beating of Rodney King, an African American man, during a traffic stop. 

The verdict led to widespread anger and mass rioting over several days, which was largely driven by social unrest. The incident caused destruction and turmoil of historic proportions. 

Saturday marks the 25th anniversary of the riots.