GLOBALPEDIA 2029 - THE LOS ANGELES RIOTS OF 2027
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The Los Angeles Riots of 2027, otherwise known simply as the ’27 Riots, were the deadliest riots in the city’s history. They were the result of a long series of events beginning in September of the previous year. The riots lasted over a month, starting with the Jackson 5 Incident on July 19th, 2027 to the implementation of the Riot Control Act on August 20th, 2027, passed under the authority of the Chronosoft Local Governance License granted on August 17th. In all, 1358 civilians and 76 police officers were killed, over 5,000 people were wounded and more than 9,800 arrests were made. Property damage was extensive. While the total cost is still being counted, most estimate over $3 billion in both public and private assets were lost.
The Budget Crisis
On September 23rd, 2026, the United States Congress declared that the Federal Government was completely bankrupt, its deficit so massive that it was unable to secure financing to maintain government operations. All creditor nations called on the U.S. to pay all of its debts immediately. A previously undiscovered bug in the accounting software used by the General Accounting Office and the IRS caused the restatement of tax revenues for all the years since the end of the war in Guatemala. The result was that revenues had been grossly overstated, adding trillions to the already unmanageable debt. Until some form of financing or budget compromise could be reached all superfluous federal operations were suspended and all federal funds to state and local governments were immediately cut off.
The California legislature, always a contentious center of debate where budgets were concerned, immediately declared the state bankrupt. Each political faction refused to sign off on any emergency budget measures to address the shortfall. State Senator Mark Ackerman became infamous for stating “This bunch of commie hippy tree-hugging immigrant-loving pussies can spend like drunken sailors in some Mexican hump-hump bar if they want to, but not on my dime!” He was later censured and resigned in disgrace in early 2027. As state and local coffers began to dwindle, multiple ballot initiatives to raise taxes were offered to the population, each one defeated by a hefty margin. Local and state budgets were already stretched thin, and by May 1st, 2027, the state of California ordered a mandatory shutdown of all non-essential state facilities, with the commiserate arguments over which social services were essential and which were “socialist entitlement programs for illegals and deadbeats” [Sen. Ackerman]. Even those essentials were left with scraps, forcing massive layoffs. Workers were sent home without pay. Many policemen and firefighters were severely overworked.
The furloughed employees began to protest loudly, and many of the workers who remained began to strike due to the increased strain and the unfair treatment of their co-workers. The Los Angeles police force was estimated to be operating at 10% of its needed capacity by mid-June, and those officers who still showed up for work did so without pay. Their ammunition and fuel were rationed to almost unmanageable levels, and most patrols were restricted to areas no farther than three miles from their stations to conserve fuel and allow for support. The crime rate exploded overnight.
Food supplies into the city were stretched thin, especially in the poorer neighborhoods. Food programs for the impoverished were curtailed at first, but by mid-June, they were ended abruptly. A number of incidents of unrest erupted at local supermarkets as residents were informed that no form of state or federal assistance debit cards would be honored. Welfare food banks were closed for all but one day of the week. Despite having adequate food supplies for the next month, much of the food was lost to spoilage due to the offices being closed and customers turned away.
The Jackson 5 Incident
Though there had been many occurrences of violence and overt hostility due to food shortages before the Jackson 5 Incident, most agree that the killing of the so-called “Jackson 5” by white police officers on July 19th was the spark that lit the fire. Five black youths in a South Los Angeles neighborhood argued with the owner of a tiny convenience store run by a second-generation Korean-American named Bae Lee, named the Lee Grocery on Central Boulevard. The youths were proclaiming loudly that the owner had given them incorrect change, while the owner claimed that the youths had been shoplifting. When the police arrived, the argument had become extremely heated and a crowd had gathered. According to the surviving officer, one of the youths brandished a firearm, a claim the witnesses, the store owner and the police video disputes. The officers began firing indiscriminately, hitting the youths and members of the gathered crowd. While the youths were posthumously found to be unarmed, members of the crowd were, and they began firing back. One of the officers was killed and Sgt. Benson was wounded, barely managing to drive his cruiser three blocks from the scene before it ran out of gas. The angry crowd, incensed at the deaths of the five youths as well as the injuries sustained by the officers’ careless shots, set fire to the Lee Grocery. In the midst of such a dry summer, several other buildings caught fire as well. The fire department, suffering from similar workforce issues as the police, took two hours to arrive. They were also fired upon, and retreated from the area. By morning, a one-mile swath of Central Boulevard was a burned-out scar.
With the police unable to respond, the crowd grew aided by coverage on the GlobalNet from both amateur vloggers and professional reporters. Violence broke out all over the city, the message spreading like a virus. The neighborhoods of Echo Park were devastated in the first night, and Southeast Hollywood erupted a day later. Residents who did not participate barricaded themselves in their homes. Some areas banded together to fend off the rioters, the most notable being those in Boyle Heights led by current Los Angeles mayor Arturo Soto FASCIST SELLOUT . Due to the efforts of Soto’s defenders, Boyle Heights escaped the riots mostly unscathed.
The first week of the riots, while spectacularly violent, were mostly unfocused outpourings of spontaneous rage, as the controversy over the Jackson 5 Incident dominated the news. But as food grew scarcer, and the government seemed less inclined to make any efforts to alleviate the situation, the rioters organized. Calling themselves urban revolutionaries, several anonymous leaders emerged to create mini-militias based along neighborhood lines. The focus of their aggression was twofold. The South Central Crew, from neighborhoods like Crenshaw and Baldwin Hills, targeted the police as retaliation for the deaths of the Jackson 5. The Hollywood Starlets, a white militia from southeast Hollywood, and the Echos, a multi-cultural militia from Echo Park, blamed the food shortages on the corporations. They targeted chain supermarkets, retail outlets, banks and anything they thought was owned by multinational corporations. Coordinated by GlobalNet cyberpunks, these militias were extremely effective. The police were outnumbered and in many cases, outgunned as the militias had no restrictions on their use of ammunition or regulations against excessive force. The culmination of the militia attacks was the burning of a Los Angeles icon, the Hollywood sign on August 4th, 2027. The burning sign could be seen all over the city, and it marked a severe escalation in the battle for Los Angeles.
The National Guard and Corporate Intervention
Before the vandalism of the Hollywood sign, the California state government had ignored the riots, able to place the blame on disorganized bad actors and cash-strapped local governments. The symbolic destruction of so visible a landmark seemed to shake them out of their complacence. The legislature turned its criticisms towards the governor, Harold Baker and the Los Angeles mayor, Creed Layton. Layton begged for National Guard support publicly, but Baker denied the requests. According to the Governor’s recently released memoirs, he ordered the National Guard to intervene and was told by the commanding general that such intervention was impossible due to the federal budget crisis. A week was lost to recriminations and “blame game” statements in the press, while the city of Los Angeles continued to burn. Mayor Layton declared martial law in the city, but was unable to enforce the proclamation.
In an unprecedented turn of events, a coalition of multinational corporations with operations in Los Angeles banded together and formed their own private militias. Participating entities included Chronosoft, Inc., Botts & Gardner, and Global Entertainment among others. The militias were coordinated by Ret. General Sam Collins, the CEO of private security firm Condor Global MERCENARIES AND ASSASSINS . The wealthy homes of North Hollywood, the Financial District and other key assets in Downtown Los Angeles, as well as anyone else who could pay for the privilege were patrolled by corporate forces. Many of these mercenary forces were staffed by former police officers who had been laid off. Such efforts were given their blessing by the beleaguered governor and mayor. While they concentrated on defense at first, there are unconfirmed reports that the Condor forces made offensive strikes into residential neighborhoods in an effort to quell the riots as well as rumors of the assassinations of key militia leaders. These reports are still under investigation.
The Local Governance License Act of 2027
Though the riots would continue sporadically for three days after, the end is generally considered to be August 17th, the day the U.S. Congress passed the Local Governance License Act of 2027. This act gave corporations the chance to bid for civil control of cities, counties and states. Not only were the bid winners allowed to collect local and state taxes for their LGL, they were charged with providing all civil services previously offered by government organizations, including law enforcement. A little-publicized provision in the bill granted immunity from prosecution for any agent of the LGL who might have performed illegal acts in the protection of corporate assets during the riots. This provision has been challenged unsuccessfully numerous times in lawsuits filed by victims of Condor Global.
Much of the Condor forces were immediately deputized as police officers in the newly-formed Chornosoft Legal Enforcement Division or CLED. Gen. Collins was appointed as chief of police. Los Angeles Police Department employees were allowed to interview for their old jobs, though many bristled under the new corporate culture. The last death of the ’27 Riots took place on August 20th, when an African-American teenager, Shawna Frederickson, lit herself on fire on the steps of Chronosoft Headquarters holding a sign that read “Welcome Your New Corporate Overlords! Howdy Massas!”
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