By Fox 11 Anchor, and Guest Editor, Marla Tellez
I’ve known Civil Rights Attorney, Leo Terrell for almost seven years. You could say I met him on the job. Well, on the set actually. As a regular KTTV commentator, Terrell frequently graces our airwaves. I’ve interviewed him “live” probably a dozen times, but never has this happened. This raw moment in which Terrell was moved to tears is one I’ll never forget. To hear his pain is to feel it. This isn’t about taking sides or whether or not you agree with him. This is about listening because that’s exactly what this world needs right now: to listen, learn, and grow.
*This interview first aired on Fox LA on May 31st, 2020, and is re-published here courtesy of KTTV-TV
For people who have lived in Los Angeles for decades, the last four nights carried the disturbing and painful echoes of the past. Leo Terrell was ten years old at the time of the Watts Riots. He was already a Civil Rights Attorney here in L.A., when the city exploded again after the verdicts in the Rodney King case. Leo joins us now via Skype. Leo, thank you so much for your time on this early Sunday morning.
My pleasure. Thank you very much for having me.
Okay, so you've been part of our coverage since these protests started on Wednesday night. I just mentioned the Rodney King riots. You witnessed what happened last night in the city that we all love so much. Your reaction, and also how does this compare to the Rodney King riots?
Well first of all, let me be really clear right up front: There was a tragic killing in Minnesota of a black man, George Floyd. I have been a civil rights attorney for 25 years. It’s horrific. The one officer has been arrested and now facing murder charges. Notwithstanding that horrible incident in Minnesota, what hurts me, what pains me is the looting and rioting going on under the pretext of protesting the death of George Floyd. I saw the riots in ‘65. You’re right, I was ten years old during the Rodney King riots. What makes this so, so tragic is that we haven't learned anything. Burning down buildings does not resolve issues. We have to eliminate the system that creates police misconduct, and what I saw last night was painful because it hurt everyone in the city of L.A. You couple that with one of your reporters, Gigi, wearing a mask because we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and guess what, Marla? This hurts people of color, this pandemic, more than any other group, so if I wasn't a grown man I'd be crying right now, and it hurts.