Rena Price, whose arrest triggered 1965 Watts Riot, dies at 97

Search for weapons, Watts Riots, 1966, Cliff Wesselman. Black and white photographic print.
Search for weapons, Watts Riots, 1966, Cliff Wesselman. Black and white photographic print. Herald Examiner Collection/Los Angeles Public Library

The woman who intervened when an officer pulled over one of her sons, leading to a racially-charged scuffle that set off the 1965 Watts riot, has died.

The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that Rena Price died of natural causes on June 10. She was 97.

On August 11, 1965 Price rushed from her home in South Los Angeles to a nearby traffic stop where a white California Highway Patrol officer had pulled over her son Marquette Frye. Accounts vary on what set off the scuffle, but a patrolman hit Frye on the head with a baton and his mother jumped on another officer.

A crowd witnessed their arrests. After rumors spread that police had roughed up a black woman, angry mobs formed and six days of deadly rioting ensued.

blog comments powered by Disqus