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Rock Island Streets Calm; Five Arrested in Rioting

May 30, 1995

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (AP) _ A complaint about firecrackers escalated into looting and street riots early today. Five people were arrested and seven, including a policeman who broke his wrist, were slightly injured.

``There was a bunch of looting going on, a car burning. It was total chaos. I’ve never dealt with something like this,″ said Rock Island County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jeff Fisher.

The trouble was confined to a 10-square-block area south of downtown in a low-income, racially mixed neighborhood, said police Capt. John Wright.

An officer responding Monday night to a complaint about firecrackers found a crowd of about 100 people, some of whom threw rocks and bottles at him, Wright said.

More police arrived and some of the crowd left when asked, Wright said, but there was ``a group of 40 or 50 people who didn’t want to go home and have a quiet evening.″

The crowd regrouped a few blocks away, threw more rocks and bottles, set a car on fire, and smashed windows of houses and several police cruisers, he said. Several shots were fired at sheriff’s cars, Fisher said.

Police called in reinforcements and that persuaded the crowd to disperse. The five people arrested mostly face charges of mob action, he said.

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