Interview with Robert Finley

Tell me about the first day of the riot, what did you do in the bar?


On the first day of the riot I was uh--at my place, business, bar located at 1101 Clay, corner of Cameron when, ah, through listening to the conversation of customers that were coming through, had been all moving around the, the, came "We've got quite a situation going, there are riots in process here." I said, "Yes", ah, and then, ah, I became alert and, ah, decided that, ah, this is kind of a crisis so perhaps I better take some measures to prevent any harm to come to the place or myself. So, ah, as a result, ah, we did business as usual d- during the day and about dark, as it became dark I, ah, turned the lights on around the place and I have a cement stoop in the front door and I took my 16 gauge shotgun and, ah, put a chair out on the stoop and set there on there, and, ah, observed things that were happening. On uh till very wee hours of the morning and then I went into the bar and, ah, still doing business as usual but, ah, going to the door every once in awhile and observing what's happening outside. And I, ah, saw some of the people I was surprised, ah, to see in the act of, ah, breaking in the--there was a liquor store across the street from the bar--breaking into that and coming out with cases of liquor. None of the, ah, businessmen on the street attempted to came and open their places, none just showed on the scene at all. I think I was the only one there. I w- I was the only one there, ah, we had, ah, other proprietors who did not come down and I, as I said to myself there well if they, ah, fail to come down and protect their property I certainly not going take any , ah, part of it just past me by. And I watched cars come by and, ah, people observed, observed me with my gun and, ah, they'd continue on their way riding about, ah, blowing horns, just, ah, making a holiday of it, just seemingly. This continued throughout the day until just, they just about emptied the whiskey store of all of its, ah, beer, whiskey and wine. Across the--