May 17, 1980: Not guilty verdict triggers three-day Miami riot
The first of three days of rioting erupted in Miami following an all-white jury's not-guilty verdict in the trial of four white police officers charged in the killing of a black insurance salesman the previous December.
The officers were charged with bludgeoning Arthur Lee McDuffie to death after a high-speed chase -- he fled because he was driving on a suspended license -- and after the last of the not-guilty verdicts came down in a Tampa courtroom at 2:36 p.m., a crowd of 5,000 began protesting outside the Downtown Miami Metro Justice Building.
By 6 p.m., the scene turned violent, as the protestors started hurling rocks at passing motorists. At 9:30, three young white men who had driven into the area were dragged from their car, beaten and killed. Two police officers came under sniper fire as they attempted to rescue the men.
By the time the violence quelled on May 19, the death toll had reached 18 -- 10 of them African Americans. Four rioters were killed by police.
One black man was gunned down by four white males in a pickup truck. Some were shot for looting. Five police officers were shot.
Scores of buildings were set on fire. The governor mobilized 3,500 National Guard troops. Damages were estimated at $100 million. More than 800 were arrested. Jackson Memorial Hospital reported treating 41 gunshot wounds and 21 stabbings.
Read the coverage in the May 19, 1980 Miami News: Riot's worst is over, chief says, urging calm on frightened city