González gives a first-person account of the 1971 riots in Camden, New Jersey and describes the aftermath. On July 30, 1971, Puerto Rican Rafael González was beaten until comatose by two white police officers: Gary Miller and Warren Worrell. Rafael González would subsequently die. Mayor Joseph Nardi refused to suspend or prosecute the officers. On August 19, 1971, members of the Puerto Rican community marched to City Hall and staged a peaceful demonstration. The city confronted the protesters with tear gas, dogs, and batons. Four days of riots ensued. Juan J. González was nine years old at the time of the riots. His mother, Ramona Martínez González, was one of the protesters at City Hall. González shares his experience and attests the riots were the death of downtown Camden as a business district. Following, white residents made a mass exodus to the suburbs. From 1971 through the early 1980's, the city spiraled in decline economically, commercially, and residentially. González posits the early 1980's as the time Camden hit rock bottom.
Interview Location: Camden, NJ