Zoot Suit Questions and Answers
by Luis Valdez

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Who escapes when the police raid the dance? Who do the police let leave? Why?

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The scene of the police raid is a barrio dance taking place with members of the Thirty-eighth Street Gang in attendance. When another gang— the Downey Gang—arrives, the two groups start to argue. This is when Sergeant Smith and Lieutenant Edwards come in and decide to make some arrests.

Before the police can get the group under control, Rudy runs out with some unnamed others. Rudy is related to Henry Reyna, the leader of the Thirty-eighth Street Gang. Henry and his girlfriend don't make it out before the police start locking things down. He asks if they can leave, and they refuse his request. This eventually leads Henry down a path where he ends up in prison.

The police tell Swabbie to leave and to take his girlfriend with him. Swabbie grabs Manchuka and leaves before everyone is rounded up. Swabbie is an American sailor and Manchuka is a Japanese American dancer. They're both listed under "The Military" in the cast listing of the play. It's possible that the police let them go because they're not Chicano. Throughout the play, the "Chicano crime wave" is mentioned repeatedly, and it seems to be what is driving the police to crack down on Henry and the others.

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