Riots can arise from any violent and turbulent activity of a group, such as bands of people
creating an uproar and displaying weapons; wildly marching on a public street; violently disrupting a public meeting; threatening bystanders with displays of force; or forcibly destroying property along the way. In one case, striking orange pickers armed with clubs, metal cables, sticks, and other weapons rushed into an orange grove and assaulted nonstriking pickers. After the nonstrikers were driven out of the grove, the strikers overturned the boxes full of picked oranges and threw oranges and boxes at the nonstrikers. The court held this to be riotous conduct. When one city was wracked by racial disturbances, the court ruled that racial disorders constituted a general riot, or a series of riots, and that whether there was a single, identifiable group or a number of riotous groups was not significant when their one common purpose was to injure and destroy.
One of the most brutal riots in the United States was the Tulsa Race Riot. In May 1921, a white man from Tulsa, Oklahoma, was allegedly assaulted by an African American man. A white mob stormed the city's Greenwood neighborhood, a prosperous community that was predominantly African American, to find the alleged assailant. Over a two-day period, 35 city blocks in Greenwood were destroyed. Private homes, businesses, and even churches were burned down, and an estimated 300 people killed.
Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Reputation to Owen Josephus RobertsRiot - Nature And Elements, Riotous Conduct, Common Intent, Terror, Suppression Of Riot - Number of Persons Necessary, Purpose of Original Assembly, Persons Liable, Municipal Liability, Defenses