Rep. Karen Bass, a top contender to be Joe Biden’s running mate, said in 1992 that the burning of hundreds of liquor stores during the L.A. riots was a “miracle” because it rid poor neighborhoods of hotspots for crime and drug activity.
Form the NY Times – Nov 29, 1992
DailyCaller reports as a community organizer in Los Angeles before entering politics, California Rep. Karen Bass said it was a “miracle” that hundreds of neighborhood liquor stores were burned down during the riots of 1992, asserting that the arsons “accomplished” what her activist group had fought for years to achieve.
“That’s not the way we wanted it to happen, but the rioting accomplished in a few days what we have spent decades working to achieve,” Bass told The New York Times in an article published in November 1992.
Bass, who is now considered a top contender for Joe Biden’s running mate, began organizing in 1991 to shut down liquor stores, many of which were owned by Korean immigrants. She argued that the stores served as hotspots for violence, prostitution and other crimes that blighted poor, majority-black neighborhoods in Los Angeles.
Bass and members of the group she founded, the Community Coalition for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment, met with then-Mayor Tom Bradley the night before the riots started (they began on April 29, 1992 after the acquittal of police officers who beat Rodney King) to discuss strategies to force liquor stores out of business, according to a report that the organization published in 2018. (RELATED: Karen Bass Praised Scientology In 2010)
She also referenced the meeting in her comments to the Times back in 1992.
“The night before the uprising, a lot of us were in a meeting discussing how we might reduce the number of liquor stores in South Central, and a few days later, like a miracle, a large chunk of the stores we wanted to close were burned to the ground,” Bass told the newspaper.
Bass has seen her star rise in the Biden veep-stakes thanks to her push for police reform in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer in May. Biden has come under heavy pressure to choose a woman of color as his running mate, and Bass has reportedly received private endorsements from prominent California Democrats, including House Speak Nancy Pelosi.
She has offered a more nuanced view of the riots in recent years.
“I just drove around feeling that all of the years of my involvement and all of the things I had tried to do had been a failure,” she said of the L.A. riots in 2011, according to a profile that the Times published on her in June.
“I failed the young people because they felt no outlet other than to destroy.”
Bass said in an interview on MSNBC on May 29, in the wake of George Floyd’s death, that the L.A. riots were “just awful, many people died.”
A spokesman for Bass told The Daily Caller News Foundation for this story that “any assertion that Rep. Bass supports violence then or now is fundamentally false and disingenuous.”
“Rep. Bass believes riots and violence are never solutions to systemic societal problems, not in 1992 and not in 2020,” the spokesman said.