Black L.A. 1947: Killers Restage Deadly Robbery of Watts Liquor Store for LAPD Movie

10952 Wilmington, Watts

10952 Wilmington Ave., Watts, in 2012, as shown in Google Street View. Two two-story residences were built on the property in 2014.


L.A. Sentinel, 1947

April 17, 1947: LAPD detectives have three men reenact the killing of liquor store owner Louis de Ciodda, who was killed March 1. Although it may sound unusual, having suspects reenact crimes was a typical procedure in the 1940s.

Ultimately, five men were charged as part of ring that killed Di Ciodda, shot two LAPD officers outside the Rum Boogie Club at 1751 1/3 E. 103rd Place and robbed two taxi drivers, the Sentinel said. In August 1947, Campbell and Harrison were sentenced to death in the killing and Dabb was given a life sentence. According to the Sentinel, Di Ciodda was shot in the back during a robbery and again in the chest after he collapsed on the floor.

The killing was apparently not covered by the Los Angeles Times.

(Note: 1751 E. 103rd Place appears to be a residential neighborhood, according to Google Street View. The location of the Rum Boogie Club will have to be determined by a researcher with more time than I have).

April 17, 1947, Murder reenactment
Photo 1. Claybourne “Snooks” Campbell stands in the doorway of the liquor store.


April 17, 1947, Murder reenactment
April 17, 1947, Murder reenactment
Photo 2: Campbell, Joel Harrison and James Dabb stand between LAPD officers leaving the crime scene.

April 17, 1947, murder reenactment
Photo 3: From left, LAPD Detectives H.H. Mitchell, Bergman, Phelps and Marty Wynn. Marty Wynn was a Homicide Division veteran and served as a technical consultant on “He Walked by Night.” It was a conversation between Wynn and Jack Webb on the set of that movie, on Hollywood’s inaccurate portrayal of police, that gave Webb the idea for “Dragnet.”

April 17, 1947, Murder reenactment

Photo 4: Another view of the store from across Wilmington.

April 17, 1947, Murder reenactment

Photo 5: Campbell and Harrison behind the camera.

April 17, 1947, Murder reenactment

April 17, 1947, Murder reenactment

Photo 6: From left, LAPD Detective H.H. Mitchell and Officer Roy Phelps, who was wounded March 17, outside the Rum Boogie Club.

April 17, 1947, Murder reenactment

Photo 7: Wynn with Dabb (in dark shirt, not visible in this image) and Harrison.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1947, African Americans, Crime and Courts, LAPD and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Black L.A. 1947: Killers Restage Deadly Robbery of Watts Liquor Store for LAPD Movie

  1. Benito says:

    The Rum Boogie Club sounds like fun, except for the murder part. Barbara Stanwyck and The 3 Stooges were big fans of the rum boogie

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.