Puerto Ricans Riots: Chicago again 1977

Chicago’s Puerto Rican 1977 riot has received little notice. Looting and fighting broke out in June 4, 1977. Two were killed. The first night, 70 were injured including 28 policemen, while 119 were arrested. A Puerto Rican celebration at a park led to fights between gangs (Kings vs Cobras). For six hours the fights spread to the neighborhood and then turned to fights between local people and the police with looting and two major fires. Different accounts explained how things escalated. Police claimed that one man fired shots at two officers missing them but wounding another Puerto Rican man. Police shot and killed him.  The police then tried to close the park but were “met with a barrage of bricks, bottles, stones, sticks, and chairs.  Puerto Rican witnesses claimed that the police had stormed the park attacking all people indiscriminately.  Police were not able to control the ensuing rioting and burning.  Dozens were injured and two killed. The second day, police grouped throughout the area while city crews cleaned up, but more confrontations broke out on the 5th.  Youth attacked police with bottles and rocks and looted along Division Street. Gangs and tremendous tension between black and PR students at a local high school were cited as contributing forces.  The Cobras, the Kings, the Mozart Pimps and the Latin Stones.  The usual ghetto problems of lack of jobs for youth, and adequate housing were mentioned by community leaders who met on the afternoon of the 5th.[9]

[9] The New York Times, 6 June 1977.