Interview with John Conyers
QUESTION 22
INTERVIEWER:

In terms of other, other views of the rioting in that it should have been allowed to take its course, and what happened was the more that was tried to repress it, it became an occupied, an occupied community.

JOHN CONYERS:

Well there were two views, ah, that generally dominated how, how this, ah, riot ought to be handled. One is that, ah, if you take it easy, ah, it would, ah, run out of steam, it would run its course and we'd, we'd end up, ah, with everything, ah, it might take a little bit longer, ah, but it would, it would be safer. The other point of view was that, ah, if, if we allowed it to run its course, ah, more lives and property could be lost and that what we've got to do is, ah, reestablish the, ah, preeminence of, of government and law and that we've got to clamp down on it, we've got to snuff this thing out immediately. And of course it was the, ah, latter view that prevailed. And out of that determination came the, ah, view that, that, ah, we've got to show everybody that we mean business, that this is, this is, we're gonna, ah, have curfews, ah, people w- were arrested going to the store and, and detained for days. The whole thing, the whole thing was a reflection of the attitudes of the government and, and the law enforcement agencies toward Black people which created the problem in the first place. Namely hostility. And of course mixed with some fear.