Watts Riots: Policing and Chief Parker

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On August 12th, 1965, day two of the Watts Riots, South Los Angeles was on fire. The man tasked with putting out that fire was William H. Parker, chief of the LAPD. When Parker took over the force in 1950, the LAPD was pretty much a goon squad that did the bidding of the rich and powerful in Los Angeles. Chief Parker cleaned up the force and transformed it into a highly disciplined, militarized police department that became the envy of the world. But in South Los Angeles, the LAPD was viewed more as an occupying army.