A Week in Watts

Synopsis: A Week in Watts is a feature length documentary that tells the story of six students in Watts, Los Angeles, involved in a program called Operation Progress - which gives youth scholarships to private schools in the area and pairs them with LAPD police officer as mentors.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Gregory Caruso
91 min

It has been extremely controversial,

and it's played out across the country.

And right now, the perception of

law enforcement is people don't trust us,

and I think that these incidents

have affected Watts,

but not in the way that

people think they have.

We had media come in to this community

and try to rile up the community

and get them angry, and my phone

was ringing with community people saying,

"Hey, we just kicked Black Lives Matter

out of the developments

and told them we don't want that here.

We care about our community.

We don't want the negativity.

We went through that already. "

I talked to a lot of history scholars

in Watts and a lot of OG's,

I'm still learning, and I asked them,

I'm like,

"So tell me... about the gangs.

Tell me what Watts was like

in the 30s and 40s. "

And I talked to a gentleman

the other day, and he says,

"You know, in the 30s and 40s,

we didn't trust the police.

We formed the Watts Watchmen Group,

and we would go through these communities,

and we would patrol and police

our communities by ourselves,

because we didn't trust

the Watts Police Department. "

And then the Black Panthers came along,

and they joined them.

And the Black Panthers say, "We're going

to help you protect the community,

and in fact, we're also going to help

protect the community from the police.

Then you move into 1965,

you know, that traffic stop

that everyone still to this day thinks was

the Los Angeles Police Department.

It was a California Highway Patrolman

that conducted that traffic stop.

And then the riots started,

and they destroyed their own community.

But they didn't do it just

because of that traffic stop.

They did it because there's so much

built up anger and hatred for the system,

not just law enforcement.

For the criminal justice system,

for the lack of jobs,

feeling like a forgotten community,

all of that.

And that day they decided to have a voice,

and they did it in a destructive manner.

It was the most widespread,

most destructive racial violence

in American history.

The burning and looting, the shooting

and beating went on for nearly a week.

More than 1,000 persons injured

or wounded.

More than 200 business places

destroyed by fire,

seven hundred more smashed,

looted and damaged.

Negro merchants sought

to protect themselves

with hurriedly scrawled appeals.

Negro leaders blamed it

on a variety of social ailments,

poverty and unemployment,

poor schools and bad housing,

all of which add up to discrimination.

Was it a local riot

or the beginning of a national revolt?

What started it? What stopped it?

Will there be another Watts?

You look at '65 and look at

the beginning to bring in money.

What are we going to do?

We're going to sell drugs.

We're going to sell drugs to survive

because no one else is going to help us.

When we sold drugs, we broke up areas

and that's how gangs started.

Gangs came about due to one,

kids wanting a place to belong

and from there it escalated

to okay, now this is our area.

If you come over here,

we're going to defend it.

Watts traditionally

has always had gangs,

has always been a violent place.

The gangs are so on top of each other.

I could be on this side of the street,

on that side of the street,

it's another gang.

In Imperial Courts,

it's the Project Crips

and in Jordan Downs,

it's the Grape Street Crips.

Grape Street Crips is enemies

with the Project Crips

and the Bounty Hunter Bloods.

The Bounty Hunter Bloods

and the Project Crips have teamed up

and the past few years there's been

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "A Week in Watts" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 18 May 2021. <https://www.scripts.com/script/a_week_in_watts_2073>.

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