At the start of the riots, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) offered next to no help to the Korean business owners, or indeed anyone caught in the fray and largely retreated from the situation as things slowly went from bad to worse. With no police force to protect people, the city was on the brink, with both racial and economic issues taking the forefront.
And it was this according to Kim that sparked it all “We saw the police didn’t care about our community, and was actually more interested in arresting us volunteer defenders (Roof Koreans) rather than looters and rioters and running away during gun fights. We couldn’t rely on the police; they were not there to protect us. They were there to protect wealthy White neighborhoods while letting Koreatown burn”
And as the situation intensified it would be almost a week before the besieged business owners would see any form of law enforcement, so they set about defending themselves. Thus, the Roof Koreans and the meme it created were born.