Analyze a Riot

TRIGGER The arrested of Marquette Fry initially which lead to his mother and brother getting into an altercation with police officers.
CROWD SIZE 200 to 300 people
DURATION The riot lasted five days, 144 hours, from Wednesday, August 11 to Sunday, August 15, 1965.


NUMBER & IDENTITY OF THOSE KILLED & INJURED 34 people were dead (26 justifiable homicides) 1,032 injured in total: 773 civilians, 136 firemen, 90 police officers, 10 national guardsmen, and 23 individuals from unspecified government agencies.
NUMBER & IDENTITY OF THOSE ARRESTED 3,438 individuals were arrested.


Local (LAPD, LAFD), State (California National Guard), Federal
AMOUNT & KIND OF DAMAGE Property damage was estimated $40 million, more than 600 buildings were burned or looted. 200 completely burned by fire.


The dimension that most defined the event of my racial disorder was the trigger. The trigger in the Watts riot was the arrest of Marquette Frye by his mother and his older brother. The crowd size, arrest made, injuries as well as the duration are other dimensions that further solidifies this was a riot. In my opinion if Marquette complied with what he was being told to do by the officer things would not have escalated as much as they did. Due to racial tension during the 1960s, I believe there still would have been a crowded. However, it would not have gotten as big and started rioting if they did not perceive the officers as beating on a black woman. The label that best describes my racial disorder is a riot defined by as “…involves at least one group publicly, and with little or no attempt at concealment, illegally assaulting at least one other group or illegally attacking or invading property.” (Halle & Rafter 2003). The area the riot took place in was predominately African Americans but there were other minorities present as well. This could also be defined as a rebellion but not according to “Sweet Land and Liberty” written by Thomas Sugrue which describes a rebellion as “a deliberate insurgency against an illegitimate regime, an act of political resistance with the intent of destabilizing or overturning the Status quo.” The rioters in this case study could be rebelling against the political climate, inequality, and mistreatment they faced daily.

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