Interview with John Nichols

Now when did you first hear about the riot starting on 12th Street?


My first recollection of the riot was a phone call about 5:45 from the duty officer, who told me that there had been a raid on a place in the then 10th Precinct and that the crowd had failed to disperse and it was growing and they had stoned a police vehicle, injured a police lieutenant and they were starting to break some windows. I responded to, ah, police headquarters. I called the precinct commander, at that time, Inspector Charlie Gentry, I asked him what the situation was, advised him to sweep the 12th street area and he said, "With what, six men?" because that's all he had on duty at the time. And from that point on I then issued a full mobilization of the department begin notification of the other senior officers.