Podcast Review: Slow Burn Season 6

The Los Angeles Riots was a significant event in U.S. history. Season six of Slow Burn provides background to the riot and a close look at the violence that occurred during it. The host, Joel Anderson, narrates the history behind the riot. This include the acquittal of L.A. police officers for savagely beating Rodney King and the light sentence Soon Ja Du was given for killing Latasha Harlins. The details included in Slow Burn will give you tremendous insight into the causes of LA Riots and why it happened.

The podcast begins with Joel Anderson talking about George Holliday who was the man who filmed the Rodney King beating. Anderson interviews Holliday about how he happened to be at the scene. Holliday recalls hearing noise outside his home and getting his video camera to film what was going on. He was disturbed by what he was witnessing but was not entirely sure what was going on. After selling the film footage to a news station, he became overwhelmed by news stations asking for interviews and wanting to the purchase the footage. The story behind the cameraman will interest listeners.

After hearing about George Holliday, Joel Anderson describes the specifics of Rodney King’s beating. You learn about why he was pulled over and how LAPD officers took over the scene from sheriffs who pulled him over. To hear the amount of times that King was struck by them is difficult but important to listen to . You will be especially appalled when hearing the extent of his injuries and how close he was to dying.  After hearing this information, you understand why people in Los Angeles were furious when the police officers involved in this beating where acquitted.       

Another catalyst for the LA Riots was the light sentence Soon Ja Du received for the murder of Latasha Harlins which occurred a year before the attack on Rodney King. Latasha went to the Empire Liquor Store in South Central Los Angeles to buy orange juice. Inside the store, Du accused Harlins of stealing orange juice and a fight ensued. Harlins was leaving the store when she was shot dead. Though a jury found Du guilty of manslaughter, which usually carries a 16 year sentence, Judge Joyce A. Karlin sentenced Du to just probation. With the detail talked about in the podcast about this case, you are baffled by the decision of the judge. With justice not being done for members of their community that were beaten and murdered, you understand the anger of African Americans in Los Angeles and why rioting started. 

Following the acquittal of LA police officers for the assault on Rodney King, anger erupted throughout the city of LA. At first there were protesters outside of police stations. Then, police officers apprehended a man for throwing a rock at the police that caused crowds to became more violent. Those that were rioters are interviewed and describe what made them act they way they did. Some got caught up in the mob mentality and acted in ways that they never had before. Interviews people on the ground during the ground are especially revealing of what the L.A. Riots were like. Interviewees are descriptive and their accounts are similar to oral history interviews.     

This season of Slow Burn is very raw and describes the riot from the street level. This is fitting to the savagery that caused the riots and occurred during it. They are interviews with a variety of people and you hear the perspective of numerous individuals who were in L.A. at the time. You baffled and amazed by the facts and stories talked about in this podcast. I recommend this podcast to anyone who wants to learn the blunt truth about the L.A. Riots.

This podcast contains explicit language and contains descriptions of violence. It is recommended for mature audiences only.

Slow Burn can be listened to on the Slate website. It can also be listened to on podcast apps such as Spotify and Apple Podcasts. There are seven episodes to season six. The season finale will be aired next week.

Mike Walsh

Will Branch-Adult Services

Mike’s favorite Christmas movie growing up was Home Alone. Now it is It’s A Wonderful Life.