WATTS RIOTS LOOTERS (ON FLOOR OF STORE) LOS ANGELES, CA 1964
The Watts Riots took place in the Watts Neighborhood of Los Angeles in August 1965.
That year, a 21-year-old African American man was pulled over for drunk driving. The police attempted to arrest him after a failed sobriety test. The man resisted and a physical confrontation ensued. Meanwhile, a crowd of onlookers had gathered. Six days of civil unrest followed, motivated in part by allegations of police abuse. The California Army National Guard was called in to suppress the disturbance, which resulted in numerous deaths and millions of dollars in property destruction.
Fifty Five years later, this same story could be August 2020. Protests and looting in many major cities took place throughout the United States, with police being vilified and citizens feeling the threads of injustice.
The tension of this instance is palpable, the composition of the image like a still from a film. Julian Wasser’s ability to capture such perfect candids succinctly epitomizes the hostility that comes from civil unrest, making an argument that history not only repeats itself due to the nature of humanity, but that it echoes throughout time.