As the scale of the Zoot Suit Riots grew, the violence happening in Los Angeles escalated along with it. On the night of June 6, 1943, the riots took a turn, as the soldiers were now joined by white civilians. The group of sailors had grown from a small group of just fifty, to now a group of hundreds. The soldiers and civilians also started to target African-Americans along with the Mexican-Americans. The riots were becoming about race, not just about beating up Zoot Suiters. On this night, Mexican-Americans began to fight back and defended themselves.
The most brutal fighting occurred on June 7th, 1943. From San Diego to Los Angeles to Las Vegas, the mobs grew, and they became a force to be reckoned with. Over five thousand people gathered in Los Angeles just to join in on the manhunt for the zoot suiters. The goal of the sailors was not only about beating up the zoot suiters; the soldiers wanted to attack every Mexican-American and African-American. The military noticed the ruckus that their sailors were causing, but they stood back, only watching, unprepared for what would happen later on that night.
Finally, on June 8, 1943, Admiral David W. Bigley put a stop to the riots by issuing an order stating that sailors couldn’t go to Los Angeles on shore leave. A group of sailors tried to attack one more time, but they were stopped on the way there, putting an end to the Zoot Suit Riots. With the new order came some new laws for the soldiers. Rule-breakers would be accused of mutiny and court-martialed. With the servicemen stuck on the base, the civilians went back to their normal lives. This order effectively brought the riots to an end.
During the riots, the police had minimal involvement when it came to breaking up the riots. Most officers stood by and watched the riots play out. After the fighting, the police arrested the victims - the injured Mexican-Americans. However, none of the soldiers were ever punished. On some occasions, the police also got involved in the fighting, and would even join the groups of sailors and civilians in the beating of the Mexican-Americans. Both off- and on-duty officers were taking part in the attacks. When the riots ended, some people blamed the police for not stopping the attacks earlier on. In the police’s defense, they weren’t sure if they were allowed to arrest sailors because of the fact they were in the military. This argument and many more were discussed after the riots and were eventually resolved.