Lessons of Los Angeles

Chief Daryl Gates claimed that his officers could cope with the rage after the King verdict, but the police abandoned the city to a mob

Sufficient manpower is a prerequisite for controlling potentially dangerous crowds; the speed with which it arrives may well determine whether the situation can be controlled. -- Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, 1968

FOUR HOURS -- 240 UGLY, frightening Hobbesian minutes -- was all it took for South Central Los Angeles to lapse into a violent state of anarchy. Four hours -- half a normal patrol shift -- was all the time needed for the Los Angeles Police Department to cede temporary control of the streets to looters and arsonists. Even as the faint traces of smoke still...

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