Skip to comments.Experts dispute Williams claim of founding Crips
Posted on 12/12/2005 8:17:44 PM PST by nickcarraway
LOS ANGELES, Dec 12 (Reuters) - The debate over the imminent execution of Stanley Tookie Williams hinges partly on his claim that he founded the notorious Crips street gang -- then renounced a criminal life in a quest for redemption.
Though Williams, who is scheduled to die on Tuesday, maintains his innocence in the four 1979 murders that landed him on death row, he takes credit for founding the Crips a decade earlier with another teenager, Raymond Washington, and says he now regrets his role.
Prosecutors question the 51-year-old Williams' sincerity in repudiating the Crips. Experts say the convicted killer and his supporters have also overstated his role in founding the gang -- which has a reputation for violence -- as a way of emphasizing his claim of redemption.
"Actually, everybody but Tookie gives Raymond Washington credit for starting (the Crips)," said Malcolm Klein, an emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Southern California who has studied gangs since 1962.
"Instead of founding the gang, which is what Tookie claims, what you're really talking about is emerging as a dominant figure," Klein told Reuters. "Because he is such a dominant, violent, articulate bad guy, rather than leadership you're talking about influence."
Latino gangs first surfaced in Los Angeles after the turn of the century, historians say, and black gangs may have formed in the 1930s.
Blacks moved to Los Angeles in large numbers during World War II and those gangs gained strength until the mid-1960s, when youths were drawn to the civil-rights movement and radical political groups like the Black Panthers.
WILLIAMS AS ANTI-HERO
By the end of that decade, the Panthers had faded and 15-year-old Washington stepped into a power vacuum, creating a gang he initially called the Baby Avenues. The origins of the name "Crips" are hazy, though one theory attributes it to a disabled member known as a "cripple" to his comrades.
"The Crips were already well established when Tookie came on the scene," said retired Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sgt. and gang expert Wes McBride.
"(That he created the Crips) is part of his mystique that his supporters are using to try get him commuted. It gives him a stature as an anti-hero kind of person that has now turned his life around."
McBride says Williams, known by his middle name Tookie or the nickname "Big Took," helped build and solidify the Crips. The gang caught the imagination of the media after killing the son of a prominent black attorney and entering the popular culture through Hollywood films.
The Bloods emerged as rivals to the Crips in the early 1970s and the two gangs have feuded ever since.
McBride dismissed as "nonsense" claims by Williams that he started the Crips to defend his neighborhood against other gangs.
Williams has become a cause for anti-death penalty activists, including rapper and former Crips member Snoop Dogg and Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx, who starred in a sympathetic TV movie about the convicted murderer.
His case is one of several that have drawn attention to the U.S. use of the death penalty, as America recently passed its 1,000th execution since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstituted capital punishment in 1976.
McBride said there are now some 200 Crips gangs, though most are only loosely affiliated, with some 25,000 members in the Los Angeles area. Hundreds of people, mostly young black men, are killed each year in California by gangs.
Washington was killed by a rival gang member in 1979.
"There's not a whole lot of difference between the Crips of today and the Crips of yesteryear, only there's more of them," McBride said. "They are more involved in narcotics trafficking than they used to be, but Crips will do whatever they can to make money. Bank robberies, armored car robberies."
"Their legacy is that they've helped destroy the black community," McBride said. "Gangs kill communities just as surely as they kill people."
Too bad, now the Left won't care if he dies, unless there's a last-minute revelation of him murdering some nuns or something.
Your tax dollars at work.
I thought he was in a stable condition, at room temperature, by now...
The Potassium Chloride doesn't care whether or not he did.
Which came first - the chicken or the fried egg?
Actually, SC is a "private" school.....but I agree this Klein character likely is supported by govt grants to study this "worthwhile" phenomena.
Come on. Somebody has keep track of these scum. Tookie's fan club is over-stating his role to attract attention. The story here is that Took is just a two-bit thug, and an over-rated one at that.
Why is the media trying desperately to elevate this bum?
just his followers brains, Tookies got a couple more hours to sob like the coward he is
He founded the Crips, before he didn't found them.
What a joke!
Tookie committed all kinds of crime in the Big House including sexual assaults on other inmates but you don't hear about that in the wacko leftist liberal rags
Most all the newsrooms are run by like-minded Leftists.
LOL, too funny
he's a democrat?
Raymond Washington was killed by a rival gang member....Hmmm I wonder if he was shot in the back at point blank range with a shotgun?
"Gangs kill communities just as surely as they kill people."
So does immigration.....
Actually, it's little known fact that Vietnam War Hero John Kerry and Internet inventor Al Gore teamed up to found the Crips in 1962. Back then, they went by their full name, the Crippled Prep School Albino Negroes. You betta recognize!
Barnes was a real thug and clearly the leader of the group. He called everyone cuz.
After he left I heard he was one of the original OGs in the crips.
Barnes is on the radio last week telling the story that he was already there when tookie drive up.
BTW Barnes appeared on the gong show flexing his muscles to music. Yes, he was..............
We used to tell the wards that crip meant cowards run in packs. The biggest gang where I worked was the staff.