Here is what FAQ Farmers have had to say: * The 1968 riot had nothing to do with the killing of Doctor Martin Luther King. That had happened earlier in the year. Later in the year, Chicago was also the scene of the anti-war "Days of Rage." The '68 Democratic Convention was the site of the riot. Student radicals, led by the Students for a Democratic Society (S.D.S) and Youth International Party ("yippies"), and thousands of other young people came to Chicago to protest the Vietnam War, and the Johnson/Humphrey party leadership which had escaleted it. They wanted to camp overnight in Grant Park, which is closed at 11:00 pm, like all Chicago parks. When they refused to leave, the Chicago police gave them a "helping hand". The next day, as they tried to interrupt the convention, the CPD forcibly put down the demonstrations.The images of violence in the streets, the harsh methods used by the police and mayhem on the convention floor, became symbols of the strife over the Vietnam War. In retrospect, it marked the fault line which still exists between "conservatives" and "liberals" in American politics, and world-view.
* In 1968 The Chicago Police Department was far from what it is today. Which is good and bad. In those days it was not uncommon to "duke" an officer to get out of a ticket or have them look the other way. The same went for the victims of the police and police brutality among a new generation. Plain and simple, the police did pretty much what they wanted. Not that it was a bad thing or they were bad men. Some were, some weren't. However at the time Mayor Richard J. Daley was very powerful and influentional among the Police. And it was understood that heads were gonna get cracked before the hippies and protesters even got to Chicago. Mayor Daley wasn't going to let HIS city be the dance floor for protesters or hippies, yippies, etc. The Chicago Police at the time had a history of picking on hippies and blacks. There are many many reports and stories to back room beatings, phonebooking, nightclubbing ect. This was the sign of the times then. I look at it now as good Chicago history. But the riots were premeditated by the police in 1968. The 11pm park closer was their lame excuse to start beating people. No matter what anybody says, if you read all the articles and all the history, the stories you read and hear will tell you that the police were wrong and abused their power that day under Mayor Daley's orders. On the contrary he was the best mayor we ever had. Try reading "The Boss" by Mike Royco for starters. * Police riot? Not hardly. Having some time to kill and hearing about all the goings on, I went down to Lincoln Park one night and to Grant Park (across from the Hilton another night). While by today's standards (not mine) the CPD could be considered a bit heavy-handed, had the crowds simply dispersed as they were ordered to do, there would have not been a "police" riot or any other kind of riot. I feel for the people who had their cars parked between Lincoln Park and Old Town. They were trashed by the crowds running from the park. I also witnessed people hanging out of the Hilton's windows throwing water glasses, pitchers, etc. down on the Police. * There was more than one riot in Chicago in 1968. In April, following the murder of Martin Luther King, riots broke out in black neighborhoods in quite a few cities, including the west side of Chicago. Twenty blocks were burned and nine blacks were killed. Mayor Richard J. Daley, however, thought the police had been too lenient and so he issued his famous order "to shoot to kill any arsonist" and "to shoot to maim anyone looting." At the end of April 1968 there was an antiwar rally in downtown Chicago. At the conclusion, the police ordered the crowd to disperse and when they did not do so fast enough, the police waded into the crowd with their nightsticks beating people. And then there was the 1968 Democratic Convention. That event -- often just called Chicago '68 -- was an entire week of protests in the streets and in the parks of Chicago which more often than not ended with protestors, bystanders, journalists, and photographers beaten by police wielding clubs. Whose riot was it? An official government study team concluded that it was a "police riot." But the word "riot" implies a degree of spontaneity. Given what had happened in Chicago in April 1968 the police actions look quite predictable, not spontaneous acts of violence. To be sure, especially as the week wore on the protestors were increasingly confrontational and combative. Chicago was trying to shut them down and they refused to go quietly.
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