Rena Price, center of 1965 Watts riots, dies at 97

June 23, 2013 at 3:50 PM
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LOS ANGELES, June 23 (UPI) -- Rena Price, the woman at the center of the Los Angeles Watts riots that resulted in the deaths of 34 people in 1965, died, her son said. She was 97.

Rena Price died of natural causes June 10 in Los Angeles, son Wendell Price said.

The nonagenarian made headlines in 1965 when she and her two sons, Wendell Price, and Marquette Frye were arrested after a scuffle with police.

Los Angeles police had pulled over Frye for driving erratically. He failed field sobriety tests, but police said he was cooperative until his mother arrived on the scene.

It's not clear what set off the scuffle, but police hit Frye on the head with a baton and Rena Price jumped on another officer and tore his shirt.

The two, along with Wendell Price, a passenger in the car, were arrested.

The scuffle set off six days of rioting after rumors came out that police had roughed up Rena Price and kicked a pregnant woman. Thirty-four people died, thousands were injured and millions of dollars in property was damaged or destroyed.

Rena Price is survived by two sons, Wendell and Charles Price and a number of grandchildren, the Los Angeles Times reported. Frye died in 1986 at the age of 41 of pneumonia.

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