The 1942 murder of a young Mexican-American in Los Angeles ignited old tensions among local citizens. The press claimed "zoot-suiters"?based on their dress?were terrorizing the city. Police arrested 600 young Mexican Americans, with 17 convicted despite little evidence of guilt. Riots raged between servicemen and Mexican Americans. A citizen's committee blamed unrest on racial prejudice, sensational news reporting, and discriminatory police.