It’s been 25 years since the 1992 Los Angeles riots, and at least six films chronicling those events will be released this year. One film, “LA 92,” screened at the University of Baltimore on April 22.

FILE – This March 3, 1991 image made from video provided by KTLA Los Angeles shows police officers beating Rodney King. King was pulled over by California Highway Patrol officers for speeding on a Los Angeles freeway. King, who later admitted he tried to elude authorities because he had been drinking and was on probation for a robbery conviction, pulled off the freeway and eventually stopped his car in front of a San Fernando Valley apartment building. At that point, Los Angeles police officers took charge of the traffic stop. George Holliday, who lived in the apartment building and was awakened by the noise, came out to videotape the scene. After Holliday turned the video over to a local TV station, it quickly spread and created an international outrage. (George Holliday/KTLA Los Angeles via AP)

Co-directors and co-editors Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin appeared at the screening to promote the film as part of a panel and answered questions from a moderator and the audience. Lindsay and Martin both won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2012 for “The Undefeated.” Martin is the first director of African-American descent to win this Oscar.

“LA 92” is assembled from approximately 1500 hours of archival footage sourced from professional and citizen journalists, the city government, and even the LAPD’s internal media unit. The footage takes the viewer from the Watts riots of 1965 to the murder of Latasha Harlins and then seemingly hour by hour through the 1992 riots.

In a deliberate choice by the filmmakers, “LA 92” offers no criticism or analysis of the actors, conditions or structures at play in the lead-up to the riots.

“We wanted to remove that filter of an expert per se of holding your hand through the piece,” Martin told the AFRO. “Get closer to the raw emotion and the raw experience and give the audience the benefit of the doubt to wrestle with those ideas on their own.”

The lack of experts, creates a sometimes bewildering experience as there are no real heroes or real villains in the piece. There are character moments, such as Sergeant Stacey Koon’s, one of the officers accused and acquitted of beating Rodney King in 1992, distinctly affected voice and his flapping arms on his march into the Simi Valley courthouse. Another accused and acquitted police officer, Timothy E. Wind, spends an agonizing few seconds that drag on like minutes before a locked courthouse entrance. Motionless and staring straight ahead under a barrage of reporters questions, he like Koon, both come off as all-too-human, neither seems like the master of their destiny.

“As much as I am appalled by the actions of the four officers: Wind, Powell, Koon, and Briseno, you still don’t want to make caricatures of them,” Martin said. “You don’t want to other them. Those are real people and you should be appalled by those actions and you don’t want to create a figure out of them. Because those sentiments and that same type of mentality exists today. You want to humanize them, if anything, that’s more scary.”

Without characters, or analysis, the film becomes an artifact of its time. When a Latino man testifies at a community meeting about his violent encounter with the LAPD, he describes the force used as putting him a position where “I cannot breathe”, foreshadowing what Eric Garner in New York would say while he died during an arrest.

As order in the city breaks down further, the film portrays a running gun battle between Korean shop-owners and off-screen assailants. The film deliberately places the time after the cessations of hostilities in Iraq; but in another desert town shaded by burning palm trees it’s hard to feel the viewer ever left. This, combined with bleeding colors, double images, and loss of tracking in the footage itself creates another feeling of being trapped. It begins to feel like motorist beatings, burning storefronts and wailing faces are on every channel.

“I think it’s a very fine line and I think we’re walking a tightrope,” Lindsay said. “We feel that we have created something that falls on the side of creating empathy for an audience and not being exploitative. That said, we take a massive risk not having the talking heads provide very specific context.”

Jason Moore, 39, would have appreciated that guidance while watching the film.

“You’re 19 years old and you didn’t learn about this in school,” Moore said. “What am I supposed to take from this? And then how do I parallel it to what’s going on now and how am I supposed to feel? Because it keeps happening and happening and happening.”

“LA 92” is currently showing on the National Geographic channel.