The Latin Kings Speak.
Talk by a Latin King Leader March 28, 2002
The Latin Kings were a small organization when they first started and there were nothing but street gangs in the city of Chicago in the 1950s but people only concentrate about the blacks and the Latinos because it was during the civil rights movement and thats the focus. But at the same time there were a lot of Polish gangs, and Jewish gangs. A variety, a variety of gangs all over the city. The difference is that the Caucasian groups of the gangs were already set on the track of being politicians, commissioners, police officers and everything. We were set on a track of poverty. Were not gonna get all this shit. The Humboldt Park community used to be a very strong and thriving Jewish community. It had maybe about 75 Jewish temples in the Humboldt Park community. You walk into Humboldt Park now and you wont find one at all. Because when the Latinos were moved out of Lincoln Park into Humboldt Park the Jewish community so whoa hang on, what the fuck just happened. You know?
The African Americans were trailing right behind us, a little bit further south. Jewish community said fuck this, knock the buildings down, were leaving. And they left. 50000 people left in one year alone and started Sagonash Village up on the north side where its Bill Daley lives. Thats Peterson and roughly between Pulaski and Cicero. So they and that community had already existed but they came and they said lets build. You know? So the economics were yanked out of this community. Grocery stores, gas stations, everything you need to live on a daily basis was yanked. Imagine living in a neighborhood where you cant buy groceries. Jump in the car, drive, like you in the suburbs. When you are in the dead center of the city.
In the 1960s mayor Daley, Papa Daley, said you know lets get ready for the 21st century. So he got a bunch of new people together, business men, and said lets create a plan, lets call it plan 21. Were gonna make Chicago number 1 by the 21st century. I may not be there with you but somebody will. And sure enough. It was a whole move to gentrification. Moving people out of Lincoln Park. Now Id be pissed of if I could go to Lincoln Park and move two blocks away. Make me move into Humboldt Park. Got kicked out. Into Humboldt Park. Lincoln Park was the first phase. Why do you think I dont know if you guys watch PBS but theyve got all these shows on Chicago and older Chicago and all these buildings that they tore down and everything. That was part of the plan. Was to create an enormous skyline for Chicago at the lakefront so that the world could just ah what a beautiful city. And it started from there in at Lincoln Park and it spread out. And basically its just a half circle around the downtown area.
You got here, you got Edgewater up here and youve got Bronzeville down here. And everything in that circle has been gentrified. Why a half circle? Well because if any of yous ever been to Paris or are planning on going to Paris, all the rich people live here and as you do this it gets poorer and poorer, lot poorer. And on the outskirts of Paris youll find all the housing projects, all the worst of the worst as they say and thats the concept that this citys run on.
And the basis of gangs is the basis of poverty and racism. When you have poverty and racism, inequality, lack of a stable economic base in the community, youre gonna have gangs whether you like it or not. Nowadays they just so happen to be black and latinos. Why? Because were the ones that have the lack of economics in our community. Some people say you know pull yourself up by your own bootstraps right and we always say, well what if we dont got boots. Then what? You know. And theres never a response to that. Im not here to justify anything that has happened because yeah there are bad people in these gangs.
There are people that kill, there are people that sell drugs, thats without a doubt. I always tell my guys and guys from other organizations. If you get caught for doing something, dont come asking for help unless theyre trying to add on some shit to you. If you got caught for murder, do the time man. Theres nothing I can do about that. What do you want me to do? Pull out 30, 40000 dollars and get you off the hook? You got caught with the guns in your hand and they can verify that you did it, you did it, what you want me to do? Some guys will say, no no you gotta get me out, at least help em get out of the country, go somewhere, do something...
That does happen and Im not gonna deny it but guess what? It happens in the police department and it happens in our government. Local, state, county, federal government. Same thing happens. Its just that were looked upon as the bad people because when you walk outside your house you see it. You cant walk into a police station and see that. You cant walk into the Capitol. Its all done behind closed doors. Okay? A lot of the gang leaders that exist now are very aware of all the bullshit thats going on...
We always tell the guys, you gonna go shoot somebody you make sure you shoot that mother fucker. Kill him that way. When you find out that bullet went and hit somebody else, Im coming after you. Ill be done. And thats our justice. Does it justify anything? No it doesnt. Am I unique in my perspective within the organization? Yes. Are there many that think the way I think? No... .Have I ever killed anybody? No. That I know for a fact. I never killed anybody. Cause when I usually shot at people that just did it to scare em.
So 1985 the dynamics of gangs in the city of Chicago were really really interesting because in reality as an organization a lot of them were only 5, 5 to maybe 8 years at the most being completely oriented somewhere. And what I mean by that is literature, by-laws, code of conduct, purpose, points, that type of thing. So people were still trying to feel each other out, trying to figure out what was going to work what way. Around that time the Folk Nation, (which is comprised of Latin Disciples, Spanish Cobras, Two Six, and a variety of other gangs) had a little problem between Latin Disciples and the Spanish Cobras and from there its been hell ever since. They fight amongst themselves.
On the People side, you have what used to be Latin Kings, the Black Peacestones, Vice Lords, 4Corner Hustlers, Familia Stones which used to be PR Stones, and variety of other people. Now Latin Kings left the People Nation. Cause there could be People and there could be Folks but were gonna be Latin Kings. And the reason behind that, which is probably the smartest move that the organization did or pulled, was because the Vice Lords got into some trouble and it was mandatory that everybody under that flag had to ride with them and fight against whoever they were fighting against. So the Vice Lords lost somebody to the Gangster Disciples and we had nothing to do with it, we dont even have Gangster Disciples around us, we had to go at it with them because of our nationship.
So we decided to leave that and said you know what were losing guys based on you guys fucking up. And we aint doing it no more, and we left. And it was a hard move. Lots of people died for it. Lots of people purposely went to jail, to the penitentiary, caught a year maybe two years in the penitentiary, to make the transition. So that People understood that the Latin Kings will not ride under one umbrella. Okay? And since then were grown to maybe about double our size. Only because People have been able to see that.
But in the meantime this is what I want to do. And its a difficult thing to do and to follow because ultimately what Im asking people to do it stick your neck out or stick your chest out and take a bullet if it comes your way. Because the only way were gonna solve the issue of violence in this country is not by harming everybody and its not by putting everybody in jail but its for fighting for the person thats next to you. 'Cause the whole purpose of going up a ladder is not to get up there and be hey! Its nice from up here! Its not. Its to go up 2 steps and pull someone up, go up 2 and pull somebody up. Thats the process of going up a ladder, (cant understand) is to help those that cannot help themselves. You pull whatever __.
If you cant do that, youre not willing to hear what Im trying to say, you can show me all the quantum physics you want dont complain about it in the future. 'Cause its useless. Its like walking around with a rock in your shoe. Saying oh it will, itll come out when I take my shoe off tonight before I go to bed. Itll come out. You know. And if you never get home, youre still walking around, dont complain about it. You can stop and do something about it now. Dont complain about it later on in the day. Say aw my feet are so sore I got this fucking rock in my shoe. You know. Thats your fault. Dont complain about it. And thats where were at now. And were, street organizations are trying to move ahead, be a little bit more positive on things. And its a hard thing to do cause now we have to convince the other kids of whats happened to us...
The anti-terrorism law is a horrible, horrible law. I mean, I understand what theyre trying to do, how they are trying to look at people, but you know, its 300, like 375 pages long. In page 212 youll find something that youre like holy shit youre kidding. In Vieques, do people know Vieques, Puerto Rico, the whole thing about you know the bombing and the shelling over there. Well within that document theyre saying that if somebody were to grab a pair of scissors and snip that bomb wire from the US military base, they will consider that an act of terrorism. Okay. Why is it that people that are trying to fight for survival are being targeted as terrorists and bad people?
The Latin Kings were associates of the FALN to some extent....Cause I was talking here, and I said man why did the FALN and the Latin Kings have animosity against each other. I made a few phone calls, cause this was bothering me and I found out. It was because when the FALN said hey we got these bombs and we want to do something, Latin Kings said no thank you and they backed away. And this brother there I was talking to he was like 40 years old, he said the reason we pulled away was because the Latin Kings would not exist today if we took part in it. Which is true. 'Cause if you look at the people from the FALN, Clinton before he left office, released about 11 of them you know. And its true the FALN does not exist today. You know it exists in intellectual minds but it does not exist as an organization because of Cointelpro, because of the Red Squad.
The Red Squad was a group of Chicago Police Officers and FBI agents and their sole purpose was to infiltrate and corrupt organizations. Thats how Fred Hampton died, because of the Red Squad. Thats why the Young Lords got disbanded because of the Red Squad...
'Cause Ill tell you something, all of us on this side of the
fence, we want shit to stop. We wish we didnt have to go through
what we had to go through. We tired of burying people. Is it in our hands?
No its not. Because weve seen and weve done it many
times. We reduce the violence and we reduce all the graffitti and when
we stop everything and we stop drug dealers from selling, we still go
to jail. It continues to happen. Why? Because of the Red Squad. The Red
Squad supposedly officially ended in 1976, it came out in the newspaper.
You know everybody said hey its over its not happening again.
In 1996 it came out in the newspaper in the Chicago Tribune that it really
ended in 1983. Then another report came out not too long ago saying well
we think it still might be active but in a minimal way. I have at least
3 or 4 close relatives, two of them that are in jail for no reason. I
mean its not, theyre not there because they did something
but because they were set up
Theres, if you look at Humboldt Park, youve got two side ends divided by Sacramento, Sacramento and Humboldt Boulevard. The east side of Humboldt Park is primarily Latin Folks, Latin Disciples, the Spanish Cobras, Dragons, Gents, and I dont know who else is over there. They all grew up, same bush there. On the west side of it, its us, all Latin Kings. When people talk about west Humboldt Park and theyll show you map and theyll say oh the west Humboldt Park area, theyll skip over the Latin Kings territory, which is Kedzie, between Kedzie and Central Park, Grand and Arlington St. And theyll skip over it and theyll say over here in west Humboldt Park, well what are we? You know?
In that area you cannot build anything that requires a building permit without alderman Billy Ocasio signing off on it personally. Why did he do that? Because a lot of the older guys that were trying to get out of all this bullshit were trying to open up businesses. Legitimate businesses. Was it drug money? Yeah. So fucking what? Sos Merchandise Mart. Merchandise Mart was built on the Kennedys money from bootlegging. Thats why the Merchandise Mart lives. But does anybody say anything no because now we can drink liquor and all get drunk and be happy about it. So while these guys were trying to build something. Billy Ocasio and Luis Guttierez noticed that. And mind you the reason they dont like us is because one of them used to be a Latin Disciple and the other one used to be a Gent. So they used to be Folks and they still have animosity against Latin Kings years and years after.
But when they need to get elected who do they come to? They come to the Latin Kings because they need this little area to vote from. We help em out in exchange for jobs. And those are the back street politics that are played in this city. Everywhere. Right now I can guarantee, I could almost put my life on it that theres some politician or commissioner somewhere making a deal that if everybody found out about it, itd be over. Itd be the end of their career...
...We have somebody thats running for governor for this state on the Democratic setting. He so happens to be the son-in-law of an alderman on the northwest side of Chicago. Well that alderman is very deeply involved with the Latin Disciples. Thats the only reason this governor, democratic nominee governor, has made it to where hes landed. Because hes had unlimited funds by the street and drug dealers supplying that money, okay? The problem I have with that is that, if you put your face on TV and talk shit and go back and do this, then you know what youre part of this gang and whatever happens to you oh fucking well.
'Cause Ive come to understand that Chicago represents two things. It represents corrupt politics.., and its always been a gang city. If you cant deal with that. Get out. 'Cause youre gonna have to deal with it at one point or another. Chicago Police Department theyre little headbands, the black and white, you know it looks like little Taxi, they all look like little taxi cabs. Why do you think that exists? Does anybody know whats the significance of that? Why you know why would you put a checkerboard around your hat? No? Nobody? Its an old insignia of an Irish gang back in Ireland. That was their insignia and they adapted it. They adapted it here in Chicago cause theres a large Irish population in the City of Chicago. Thats why were very close with the Kennedys and a lot of certain mob boss figures out there.
They used to be a and it was because of that. So they said hey nobody knows. Except us. We know. We know what the insignia means so. Lets unify under that. And they did and it still exists. And its an outrage. Thats why we all insist youre a bunch of gang bangers too, fuck you. Cause its the truth. And they know about it. You think anyones gonna say anything about it? Nobodys gonna say one word about it. Because now its become history. Its not a gang issue anymore. Its history. But what type of history? Its a very very very violent history. You dont have half the shit happen today that used to happen back then. Back then boy, I wouldnt have wanted to live back in those times. Turn of the century, city of Chicago, it was horrible. Just walk by, oh shit a dead body man. You dont have that happening nowadays. You have stuff that happens where kids get shot, people in general just gets shot and its a horrible thing. No one should be walking on the street and get hit by a stray bullet, I agree. And you know if you want to call em ethics or not.
I became really good friends with the leader of the Spanish Cobras to the point that I was showing up at his house. Guide me through a Spanish Cobra neighborhood. Get there, draped in black and gold, baseball cap all the way to the left and everybodys like whos this fucking guy? I got this jogging suit from Puma and mind you these corporations they play on the whole thing. Cause why did Puma have to come out with only black and gold like a work out suit and right here on the left side it said Puma King. And Im like hey its a nice little <laughter> so I walk into their neighborhood like this and theyre freaking out. And one of them will say I bet you hes a King lover, hes a King Man, hes walking up in here. And whats up Folks? ______ Man but I aint Folks. But Ill shake his hand. Youll be like uh huh. Were like one, okay were waiting for you to say something else. What do you want me to tell you? Something that you already know that Im a Latin King. Ah man, get you out of here man.
...We protected their founder all over this country. Wherever he has touched down on thereve been Latin Kings, weve said guard that mother fucker. Make sure nothing happens to him. Treat him as a King. Why? Because he and a high ranking member of The Latin Kings became really good friends at Stateville Penitentiary. Or whenever that King goes anywhere around the country and theres Spanish Cobras, they say hey protect that nigger like hes a Spanish Cobra. People get pissed off but thats our way of dealing with each other. And its a very unique relationship and its a hard thing to maintain.
We always tell people that you go to school cause you got to get out of this neighborhood. Why you got to leave the neighborhood? To succeed. You should be able to succeed in your own home right? Its like I give you a house, or better yet a car, right? What kind of car is it? A Ferrari. Imagine I give you a Ferrari, gassed up, ___ up, plant a girl next to you but I dont give you the fucking keys. Its only ___ youre like oh god why wont it turn on? You know what Im saying? And its the same concept. ... Its frustrating.
I got moved out of my neighborhood schools to a north side school which was predominantly white because we were told that we would have better services. Well I went from a 4th grade classroom to a 4th grade and because an asian girl transferred in they moved me out of that class. There was no seat available. When she walked in the teachers like we dont have a seat. And I was like boy she burned up. Teacher does this <snap> get up. Me? Yeah get your stuff, clean out your desk. Im like man what did I do? So I start cleaning my stuff and everybody around me just put their heads down and looked away and Im like Im being kicked out? What happened? And then she made everybody move back so this Asian chick could sit in the front and Im like
I imagine dumping, moving out my desk and dude in front of me is already sitting my seat and Im like Ill see you after class. I walked to the end of the class and Im holding onto my books and my book bag and Im like okay where am I getting to sit and I asked her, I forget what her name was, where am I going to sit? Well weve had a change of plans. Walk outside go down the hallway, knocks on the door, Jacklyn, we have this young man here thats gonna be in your classroom you know. Oh yeah, I know. I walk in and its 4th 5th 6th grade all in one classroom. Son of a bitch. Still got the back seat. You know. And that was a really tough period. From there I refused to learn. Refuse to learn. Fuck you. I aint doing my homework I aint doing shit. Do I suffer from reprecussions from that period, of course. Of course I did. And I still kind of refuse to go to college cause I dont see a purpose in it. You have a purpose for it. I dont. because I think Ive lived enough
Boy I tell you if you guys could see half the shit Ive seen you wouldnt believe it and youd be like, nah you know. Youd share some of my opinions about certain things....'Cause they know and Ive told this to a lot of people in groups that I shouldnt have said it, with police officers present, I said yall a bunch of little cowards because if it came down to it that it was between you and me you know youd lose....I bet you if I told you I want to kill you because of that badge you gonna be like you really want to die too? Heres my billy club. Youre gone.