|Spoiler Warning: Plot and/or ending details are in the text which follows.|
The Riots Start
At Tenpenny's trial, he is acquitted of all of charges against him and Eddie Pulaski (who is dead due to the events in High Noon but is presumed by the media to be on the run) due to lack of evidence (due to the events seen in Misappropriation). The charges include corruption, sexual assault and the murder of fellow officer Ralph Pendelbury. This sparks mass public outrage, leading to city-wide riots, yet these are mostly centered on the lower-class areas in eastern Los Santos. During the riots pedestrians will attack other characters including CJ without provocation.
The Riots End
In the final mission of the game, Carl Johnson takes down Big Smoke in his crack-den in Los Flores/East Los Santos. After Big Smoke's death, the building is blown up by Tenpenny, who then escapes in a fire truck, attempting to escape to the airport. Sweet grabs onto the firetruck, with CJ pursuing him in a white Feltzer. After Sweet is pushed off the truck by another officer, it is pursued through Los Santos, with many of the rioters throwing molotov cocktails and creating blockades. In crossing a bridge over Grove Street, Tenpenny loses control of the truck, crashing it into the road below and dying on the pavement. It is thereafter apparently looted by the homeless and later recovered. Due to his death, justice is seen to be done and the riots subside.
In the end, Smoke and Tenpenny were killed, and the crack palace in East Los Santos was destroyed. Many buildings and property were damaged, as well as numerous people killed. The riots were the largest and most dangerous event depicted in the Grand Theft Auto series to date.
- The riots are clearly a reference to the 1992 LA Riots. These were caused by the acquittal at a trial of several police officers accused of unfair treatment to African-American Rodney King. No charges were levied against the officers, sparking outrage, clearly forming the inspiration for the Los Santos riots, both events also having taken place in the same year.
- If the player attacks a looter with a TV the TV will drop and fall through the floor, if this is done on a bridge, the player can go to the water under the bridge and see the TV floating in the water.
- When you enter any emergency vehicle, then go to an area where the riot occurred, the following dialogues on the police scanner has changed. While listening to one of the conversations, you can hear screaming, people shouting, sirens, explosions, alarms, etc.
- When a train passes where the riot is started, its engineer will get out, even though the train is indestructible.