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Frank Romero, 1986

The Death of Ruben Salazar
oil on canvas
182.9 x 304.8 cm
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase made possible in part by the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment
© 1986, Frank Romero

On August 29, 1970, thousands of demonstrators participated in a Vietnam War moratorium march through East Los Angeles. In the chaotic aftermath of the event, Ruben Salazar, a celebrated investigative reporter for a local Spanish-language TV station, was killed when the police shot a tear-gas projectile into a bar where he was socializing with fellow journalists. Witnesses said the police action came without warning and was unprovoked; the police maintained their innocence and were later exonerated.