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Late in the afternoon of Wednesday, April 29, 1992, south-central Los Angeles erupted in rioting, looting, arson and killing. The immediate cause of the outburst was a jury verdict in Ventura County, north of the city, rendered earlier that day. Four white policemen were found not guilty of assault in the beating of an African American, Rodney lung. The incident had taken place on March 3, 1991, on the highway 210, north of Los Angeles. King and two passengers had led the police on a high-speed chase. When they were stopped, the two passengers quickly surrendered. Only King put up resistance. It happened that someone in the vicinity made a videotape of the beating incident — a tape that was played repeatedly on television across the country. The verdict surprised a nation that had witnessed the video but had not been informed of other evidence in the case. When the violence began, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley imposed a curfew, but the rioting and looting still lasted three days. On the second night, the looting and arson spread briefly to other parts of Los Angeles. When it was over, it had become the worst urban disturbance in 20th-century America. More than 54 people had been killed. More than 5,270 buildings had been destroyed or badly damaged. At least 4.000 people had been injured and more than 12,000 arrested. Thousands of jobs had been lost and whole neighbourhoods wiped out. The rioting got a head start on the police because the verdict was so unexpected and the reaction to it so sudden.

One reason given in the passage for the police being unprepared for the rioting was that ......... .

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