Monday, June 06, 1977

Looting, Vandalism Follow Chicago Riot

Sporadic looting and vandalism continued today in the Humbolt Park section of Chicago, which was rocked by rioting that left two men dead last night (Saturday night).

The riot erupted yesterday at a Puerto Rican Day celebration in the park. The police said that fighting broke out between two gangs, the Latin Kings and the Spanish Cobras. The violence lasted for about six hours, from 6 pm to midnight, and spread to included fights between residents and police, looting of stores and shops on Division Street and two major fires that left 15 families homeless.

For a while, rioting, looting and burning went unhampered by the outnumbered policemen. Many officers were on duty at Soldier Field where between 70,000 and 80,000 youths attended a rock concert.

Earlier yesterday, a bomb rocked the Cook County Building near the fifth floor office of acting mayor Michael Bilendic. The FALN said it was responsible for yesterday’s blast. There were similar explosions in 1976 and 1975 during celebrations of Puerto Rican Day.

The street had its share of problems and boarded up businesses before last night’s violence. As in slums across the city and the country, many lots are vacant. Rock throwing youths prevented fire fighters from reaching burning buildings last night. Many of the stores which were not hit by looters, who appeared to be selective in their targets, displayed the Puerto Rican flag in their windows.

On many streets just outside the Humboldt Park section, life was normal. Children skipped to Sunday school and their parents later went to and from church seemingly unaware of the activity a few blocks away.

excerpt from Paul Delaney 6/6/77 NYT

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