Interview with Dale Bowlin
QUESTION 13
INTERVIEWER:

Ah, describe what happened after the, um, when some of the first events started. I don't want to go into moment-by-moment account, but just tell me what the general reactions were as you tried to command the, the district and prepare for the riot that was developing.

DALE BOWLIN:

Well, nobody expected the type of reaction that we got, ah, most riots start off at a level of anger and violence and so forth that escalate to burning buildings and finally escalate to killing people and things of that nature. This riot started off with such a level of anger by the citizens immediately, there were killings taking place. People were being dragged from cars, their tongues were being cut out, they were being set afire alive in their cars right at the start of the riot. Police officers on their patrol were being shot at. And so I was trying to bring some order to s--set up a perimeter around this to keep the White citizens from getting into those areas where they were being attacked and killed. And so I would order police officers, for example, to set up at Northwest 22nd Avenue and 62nd Street. And I want you--

INTERVIEWER:

OK, just say, "I would direct officers to set up--"

DALE BOWLIN:

OK, I would direct officers to set up at certain intersections, and I would say, "Stop the citizens from going in there. Let's seal this area off where the violence is taking place." And they would come back on the radio and say, "I'm not staying here. I'm being shot at. I'm pulling out of here. You get somebody else to do it." I mean, just open defiance on the air. And looking back on it, I can't blame them. We were totally overwhelmed by the anger and the number of people that were angry and the violence that was taking place. We weren't ready for it.