50 years later, images from the Watts riots still startle

A short article in the Aug. 11, 2006, Los Angeles Times reported on the origins of the 1965 riots in Los Angeles' Watts neighborhood:


"Aug. 11, 1965: At 7:19 p.m. in Watts, a California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer named Lee Minikus pulled over 21-year-old Marquette Frye on suspicion of drunk driving. Minikus was white. Frye was black. When the two scuffled at Avalon Boulevard and 116th Street, a crowd gathered.

"That night, 1,000 people rioted in Watts, some throwing bricks, rocks and bottles at police and motorists, The Times reported. About 100 officers were brought in to attempt 'to quell the five-hour melee by sealing off an eight-block area,' the newspaper said.

"'It was just a night to throw rocks at policemen,' Deputy Police Chief Roger Murdock, who headed the riot squads, told The Times.

"What followed was six days of rioting -- in which 34 people died, more than 1,000 were injured and property damage was estimated at $40 million."



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