Correction to This Article
ยท An April 7 Metro article about the 1968 Washington riots incorrectly said that retired D.C. police officer Eugene Gooding was promoted to captain shortly after the riots. He already was a captain and was promoted to inspector two years later. The article about the 1968 Washington riots misstated the age of Larry Rosen, one of the eyewitnesses. He is 84, not 87.

Memories of Mayhem and Mercy

40 years after Martin Luther King Jr.'s death and subsequent riots, condos and cafes have replaced gutted shops in Washington, D.C.
Monday, April 7, 2008

In response to a Washington Post request for accounts of April 1968, several hundred residents shared what they saw and did or what they remember most. Here are some of their stories.


Betty-Chia Karro, 66

Law student

Minutes after hearing about the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, Karro and a friend drove to a church.

"A veteran of civil rights struggles, I really felt the need to be with people. "

Crowds were beginning to gather on 14th Street NW. "I heard burglar alarms going off. I looked up and remember seeing a man using an umbrella to remove items from a jewelry store window. ''

She saw police officers who appeared to be waiting for orders. "They were standing around, doing nothing while the looting was going on."

Her friend slowed down when a man fell just a few feet in front of their car.

"We were surprised by the speed with which the police [rushed] to help the person who had fallen. Suddenly it was clear that the police were protecting people and not property."

* * *

Eugene Gooding, 92

Retired D.C. police officer

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