LOS ANGELES TIMES, JUNE 9, 1943
CITY, NAVY CLAMP LID ON ZOOT-SUIT WARFARE
. . . Throughout tense hours last night the zoos-suit war was held to sporadic clashes by a combination of strong police patrols and a Navy order listing Los Angeles as a restricted area for men of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Nearly 1000 uniformed and special officers took up assigned positions throughout the downtown and East Side sections of the city at dusk. Others patrolled the streets in cruising cars, keeping a throng of sight-seers moving. Crowds were dispersed almost as soon as they gathered and few youths in zoot suits were seen as groups of soldiers moved through the district with the watchful eyes of men looking for trouble.
Sailor’s Nose Broken
There was little violence reported alter dark. One sailor, Harold Tabor, 32, was beaten by a group of zoot suiters at 103rd and Graham streets and treated at Georgia Street Receiving Hospital for a broken nose. George Lorigo, 19, of 9533 Wilmington Ave., was arrested on a battery charge in connection with the assault. Lewis D. English, 23-year-old zoos-suit wearer of 844 E. Fifth St., was arrested by Officer R. F. Brady for carrying a 16-inch razor sharp butcher knife “for protection” and a 16-year-old lad was taken into custody for carrying an iron bar and a knife.
M.P.’s Patrol in Groups
Military police patrols roamed the streets on foot and in jeeps, augmenting the work of city police. Many women and girls strolled the sidewalks with soldier escorts and the bars were crowded with servicemen awaiting the sound of a police whistle or a scuffle. Only a sprinkling of sailors was seen, however, as the ban ordered by Rear Admiral D. W. Bagley, commandant of the 11th Naval District, went into effect.
Admiral Bagley issued the “precautionary measure” as a result of clashes between Navy men and the youths. The official Navy announcement described the sailors as acting in “self-defense against the rowdy element” and defined the order as applying to all Navy personnel except those granted special authorization by commanders of naval stations in the area….
Navy Men Taunted
Yesterday’s incidents in the zoot war included insults hurled at Navy men in the Chavez Ravine area…. After shouting taunts and abuse mixed with dire threats, the youths sped away.
Earlier in the day police reported that Donald J. Jackson, 20-year-old sailor, had been knifed by a gang of youths at First St. and Evergreen Ave. shortly after noon, while his companion, James R. Phelps, 19, another sailor, escaped injury by fleeing.
The attack was reported to the Hollenbeck Heights police, who began a roundup of suspects in the vicinity. Jackson received a five-inch cut in the stomach and a slight cut on the head and was treated at the Georgia Street Receiving Hospital, where his condition was said to be serious.
Shortly after, D. A. Mainhurst, 23, a sailor who had just reached the city from San Diego, reported to Newton St. police that he was beaten and kicked by a gang of zoot suiters at Central Ave. and Olympic Blvd. as he was waiting for a bus….
Attacked from Behind
He told police that about eight men attacked him from behind, knocked him down and kicked him. He escaped and took refuge in a service station, from which the gangsters dragged him and began beating him when nearby residents came to his rescue and the gang fled.
Phelps and Jackson said they were walking peaceably along the street at First St. and Evergreen Ave. when at least 15 zoot suiters jumped from auto-mobiles and attacked them, slashing Jackson.
All this occurred shortly before Army and Navy officers conferred with Mayor Bowron and Chief of Police Horrall in the Mayor’s office regarding plans for halting the disturbances. Full cooperation was pledged by the military officials, who were not aware at the time that Admiral Bagley had made Los Angeles a restricted area for his personnel….
In the Monday night rioting which blocked traffic on S. Main St. and Broad-way for a time, at least 50 zoos-suit youths were beaten and, in many cases, stripped of their outer clothing.Thousands of civilians assembled in the area and, according to Chief Horrall, “egged on” the servicemen, who banded together and took on all persons they found clad in zoot suits.
In the police roundup which followed, more than 200 youths, only a few of them in coot suits, were arrested and booked in the Georgia Street Juvenile Bureau on suspicion of inciting to riot. Nearly 500 servicemen were taken in custody by military authorities and police but these were sent back to their stations early yesterday.