Interview with John Conyers

Can you tell me, go to Sunday what it was like being on 12th Street. Can you paint a picture for me?


Well that night, the night that it started, it was start, we were hoping that it could still be turned off. It started off, we were saying, "Well, you know, if everybody will go home and go to sleep and, ah, we clear the streets." There had been, ah, up and down 12th Street the police had, ah, raided this after hours place which had thought that they were paying money to the police for protection and, ah, they ended up having these women thrown down the steps. And this is what really angered the crowd. That the, ah, the police captain on duty was not there that night and this lieutenant decided that they were going to raid this place. And it's just something as unforeseen, unpremeditated as this could kick it off. And that's how it started. That was the genesis. That's why it started on 12th Street. This place upstairs had been, been used, and, ah, people knew about it. It was almost a semi-legitimate business as a matter of fact. So it was just shock and outrage that this kind of, of violent police action could be brought to this, ah, this, ah, after hours place. And that's how it started, so when, when we got out there, ah, we, we, there was a hope that maybe we could head it off right now and, ah, and everybody calm down and cool out and things would, would become stabilized. But that was not to be the case.