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The Watts Riots, 53 Years Later

They were a forerunner to the Rodney King riots of 1992. The Watts Riots uncovered the racism within the Los Angeles Police Department and officers' contempt for the Black community.
When a routine stop for drunk driving escalted, the community decided it had had enough, sparking off a dramatic and violent response to the police, in the city and the rest of the United States.

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Two women walk past ruins from the Watts Riot, or Rebellion, of August 11, 1965
Two women walk past ruins from the Watts Riot, or Rebellion, of August 11, 1965 Photo:Twitter / @WattsRiots50
A drunk driving arrest escalated, and uncovered the latent racism within the LAPD years before the LA Riots of 1992
A drunk driving arrest escalated, and uncovered the latent racism within the LAPD years before the LA Riots of 1992 Photo:Twitter / @WattsRiots50
Hundreds of properties were damaged or totally destroyed. In addition to the deaths, 1,032 others were injured and over 3000 persons were arrested
Hundreds of properties were damaged or totally destroyed. In addition to the deaths, 1,032 others were injured and over 3000 persons were arrested Photo:Twitter / @WattsRiots50
 Governor Pat Brown tours the damage. He is met with hostility from the community
Governor Pat Brown tours the damage. He is met with hostility from the community Photo:Twitter / @WattsRiots50
In a desperate attempt to quell the violence thousands of national security forces were on the streets of Watts, Los Angeles
In a desperate attempt to quell the violence thousands of national security forces were on the streets of Watts, Los Angeles Photo:Twitter / @WattsRiots50
Persons were arrested en masse during the riots. Random searches were conducted as law and order completely broke down
Persons were arrested en masse during the riots. Random searches were conducted as law and order completely broke down Photo:Twitter / @WattsRiots50
Over 3000 people were arrested, many more were injured during the brutal police response
Over 3000 people were arrested, many more were injured during the brutal police response Photo:Twitter / @WattsRiots50
Most of those arrested had no previous convictions, but the Los Angeles police chief called the rioters "monkeys in the zoo.
Most of those arrested had no previous convictions, but the Los Angeles police chief called the rioters "monkeys in the zoo. Photo:Wikimedia
The riots took a heavy financial toll, over $40 million worth of damage was caused
The riots took a heavy financial toll, over $40 million worth of damage was caused Photo:Twitter / @WattsRiots50
A man tries to pick up the pieces after the riots
A man tries to pick up the pieces after the riots Photo:Twitter / @WattsRiots50
Dr. Martin Luther King visited Watts after the riots, some reports suggest he wasn
Dr. Martin Luther King visited Watts after the riots, some reports suggest he wasn't warmly received by residents Photo:Twitter / @WattsRiots50
The 21-year old at the center of the Watts Riots was Marquette Frye. He appears to have tried to escape the legacy of Watts all of his life, ultimately dying of pneumonia in 1986
The 21-year old at the center of the Watts Riots was Marquette Frye. He appears to have tried to escape the legacy of Watts all of his life, ultimately dying of pneumonia in 1986 Photo:Morphological confetti
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