1971 September 3

FBI to Investigate Police Violence Against Latinos, African-Americans in Bridgeport, CT


The FBI confirmed on this day that it was investigating allegations of racist violence against Latinos and African-Americans by the Bridgeport, Connecticut, police. Eleven complaints had reportedly been filed by victims of police brutality in an incident on May 20th. A four-hour riot, that included rock-throwing and fire-bombing, erupted when the police arrested the local leader of the Young Lords, a militant Latino group. He was charged with trespassing for trying to enter the group’s store-front office after being evicted by the landlord.

The FBI investigation was the result of actions by Burton Weinstein, a local attorney associated with the county chapter of the ACLU, who is represented five of the 11 complainants. He contacted two members of Congress, who in turn brought the incident to the attention of the Justice Department. One of Mr. Weinstein’s clients was seized while on his porch, and then repeatedly beaten with rifle butts by police officers.

Read the Kerner Commission report on the riots of the 1960s: National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, Report (1968)

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