- Digital Archive
- The Chicano Moratorium Map
The poet Alurista is quoted as saying, "the police called it a people's riot, the people called it a police riot."
While many of the images we associate of the National Chicano Moratorium invoke images of police bruality and chaos, the rally was largely misreported by the mainstream media at the time; the only major news media person who supported the event Ruben Salazar was murdered. News reporting stations that were already known to misreport Chicano news, blamed the chaos and violence on rioters who did not comply with police authority. The media failed to accurately report the violence that was inflicted on the community members and deliberately showed images of police officers being hit by attendees rather than the other way around.
The weekend after the Chicano Moratorium, several community members including Rosalio Muñoz held a press briefing to respond to the violence that they faced at the hands of police. The Committee stated that the LAPD and the LASD misused their well intentioned cooperation to ensure that the rally was peaceful; the LAPD and LASD betrayed the Chicano community by arriving with mass numbers of deputies in riot gear and utilized the plans shared with them by organizers to entrap and hurt community members. They accused the LASD of utilizing an isolated incident to inflict violence upon attendees including the elderly and youths.
In the days that followed the Chicano Moratorium, East Los Angeles continued to be patroled and occupied by LASD. The Chicano National Committee demanded for an investigative report on the death of Ruben Salazar and the immediate release of arrested attendees, who they claimed were imprisoned under false charges. They also demanded the end of the occupation of East Los Angeles by the CHP, the LASD and the LAPD and the creation of an investigative committee that was comprised of individuals from the Chicano community and not Los Angeles law enforcement or city officials who they believed conspired against them .
In response to the violence that occured during the Moratorium, several other collective actions were planned including the Marcha Por La Justicia rally at Belvedere Park that occured on January 31st, 1971. This Moratorium also turned into a police riot, which resulted in the death of an Austrian Gustav Montag who mistaken as a Mexica; as the legend goes, Raul Ruiz placed a small Mexican flag on the sheet over his dead body that he had found abandoned during the march.
While the events of the Moratorium helped radicalize many community members, it also proved to be too much for certain organizers who could not continue with the work they were doing after going through so much trauma and violence. The Chicano National Moratorium Committee was dissolved in August 1971.