Skip to comments.Council Members Urge Calm Over 'Tookie' Williams Decisions
Posted on 12/09/2005 3:38:26 PM PST by Main Street
LOS ANGELES -- Four Los Angeles City Council members called for calm Friday as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger considers whether to grant clemency to Crips co-founder and death row inmate Stanley "Tookie" Williams.
Images: Hearing | Images: Exhibits Displayed Images: Rallies | Video: Defense Urges Clemency
With less than four days to go before Williams' scheduled Tuesday execution, sporadic-yet-credible threats of civil unrest have prompted the council members and representatives from the city and county human relations commissions to ask religious leaders to emphasize a message of peace during weekend services.
"We picked up information that led us to believe that there were some planned and intentioned acts of violence that could occur in the wake of the decision or the execution planned for Stan "Tookie" Williams," Robin Toma, executive director of the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission, said during a news conference at City Hall.
Toma declined to list the affected communities or elaborate on the threats.
Councilman Bernard Parks said he spoke earlier today about potential civil unrest with Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Earl Paysinger of the South Bureau.
Parks said Paysinger assured him the LAPD would remain "vigilant" this weekend, but there was no immediate need to put the city on tactical alert.
"All you need is a few to disrupt the entire city," Parks said, referring to the events that led to the 1992 riots. "You don't need large numbers of people to start a problem."
Parks, along with council members Jan Perry, Herb Wesson and Bill Rosendahl, said they are asking religious leaders to deliver a message of peace in the days leading up to Williams' scheduled lethal injection execution at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday at San Quentin Prison.
"Regardless of your personal views on Mr. Williams' situation, I believe we all share a desire to ensure that people find outlets in which they can respectfully and positively voice their opinions," Perry said. "I believe that our religious institutions provide guidance and leadership to thousands in our community, and it is times like these that we must turn to each other for support."
Williams, now 51, was sentenced to death in 1981 after he was found guilty of murdering four people during two separate robberies two years earlier.
Williams has maintained his innocence.
Attorneys for Williams and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office each delivered 30 minutes of arguments to the governor yesterday, with prosecutors insisting that Williams deserved to die for the slayings and defense lawyers arguing that he has renounced gang violence.
The governor could issue a decision at any time.
If granted clemency, Williams would serve life in prison without parole.
In California, only the governor has the authority to commute a death sentence to life in prison. Ronald Reagan was the last California governor to grant clemency in 1967.
If clemency is denied, Parks said he will ask religious leaders to open their churches and synagogues for community discussions.
Rosendahl added: "I'm standing here as a white guy that represents the 11th District who realizes it impacts all of us, we're all in this dialogue together. In my district, black and white and brown and Asian together are mixing and discussing this issue. It's of great concern to all of us."
The Crips street gang, founded in 1971 in South Central Los Angeles, went on to become one of the most violent and widespread in the United States.
Family members of Williams' victims say he should be put to death for his actions.
But Williams's supporters say he has reformed because he spent much of the past 24 years writing children's books and teaching at-risk youth about the dangers of gangs. Supporters also have nominated him for Nobel prizes, for peace and in literature.
"For those who believe in redemption, they should remember that for the past 13 years, Mr. Williams has been talking about peace, not violence," Councilman Herb Wesson said. "I think the biggest tribute they could pay to him is to ensure that whatever happens ... they should be respectful to how he lived his life for the last 13 years."
Since being condemned to death, Williams has renounced his gang past, been the subject of a cable TV movie called "Redemption" starring Jamie Foxx. He was nominated in 2000 for a Nobel Peace Prize by Swiss Parliament member Mario Fehr for the anti-gang work he has done from his 9-by-4-foot cell.
Calls for clemency have been mounting from religious and community leaders and celebrities such as Foxx, the rapper Snoop Dogg, actor Mike Farrell and activist Bianca Jagger.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People President Bruce Gordon also supports clemency, calling Williams "our secret weapon to help young African-Americans avoid gangs."
A few more people will go out and set fire to their homes?
Or was this whole `LA city council members fear violence if Williams is executed' nothing less than a shot across the Governator's bow, thus:
"If LA burns again, your political future is toast, Ahnold".
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these LOOTERS from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.
You know, I live in L.A., and it's interesting-- whenevr there is a riot, or unrest- what have you- those areas, whether they were burned yesterday, or 30 years ago- are still desolate today. It's not like people rush in to rebuild. So if downtown L.A. burns a little bit more, it's just going to stay that way for a few centuries.
No one has any loyalty to the country anymore. there are plenty of people that will smile at you when you walk down the street, and say "hola", whoops, I mean "hello", but as soon as they see an in, it's burning and looting. What did Cal Thomas say? Out of many- many?
During WWII lots of Japanese were rounded up because they were thought to be potential combatants. These days-- who would we have to lock up/deport. Not a few I imagine- and not Japanese.
You left? good for you- ha ha
So where did you end up? I'm thinking of taking off one of these days too. L.A. is just not what it used to be. Es no mas. Any suggestions as to some good places to escape, whoops, I mean move to?
I for one am getting sick and tired of blacks using the rioting threat to get what they want.
The pos is a cop killer if we don't execute them then who will we execute, only those that hollywood and blacks won't rally against?
Why doesn't the city just hire the Bloods or MS13 to provide security in the affected areas for a couple of days prior to and after the execution. Those people are no friends to Tookie's Crips, so they should keep things locked up tight. Of course if things between the various factions got too far out of control, Ahnuld could always send in the CNG and take 'em all out. 8^)
Oh goody. I just found out, within the last 15 minutes, that my nephew, who I thought was well out (having sold his first two novels and their movie rights) is back on "the job" in the LAPD and even back in uniform after having worked the gang/drug task force as an investigator for the last few years. After selling his novels he didn't have to work anymore and took extended leave, but he was getting stir crazy just writing (doing edits and the screenplay). He needed a "day job" where he could interact with people. Now he's back just in time for more Rodney King nonsense.
Just what I needed. More reasons to worry about him.
The good thing about his job (besides giving him the material for his books) is that it has turned him from a typical California public school liberal into a steely eyed realist (read conservative). It's much more fun to talk to him now ;^>
Say a few prayers for the safety of all the good folks, particularly the good guys in the thin blue line, and my nephew in particular.
Anyone who was physically close to the L.A. riots of the '90s came away with a commitment to see it never, ever happen again. I remember the street party atmosphere generated by ordinary people splitting up looted merchandise. It spoiled for me forever the image of that community's normalcy and capacity for good will. I am not hoping the riots recur. But if they do, a lot of people to be jailed and, frankly, physically stopped in the act.
I tuned in to John & Ken the other night, but they were off on another subject that night... but, trust me when you leave California, there is very little you will miss about it.
Never once did anyone go -- golly gee, we burned out neighborhood business because they were owned by white men and now we don't have any local services...
If that wasn't enough, people were afraid to drive through there so they took the freeways around to get to LAX and any business they had left was practically starved out by lack of customers.
After the riots in the early 90's people were even less inclined to go into the neighborhoods and spend money -- until a year ago when Walmart was behind a huge proposed shopping center with resturants, jobs, etc... and who comes marching in telling them to vote NO on this -- Jessie, Al, Maxine, etc... and did they vote for the jobs and improving the neighborhood -- no! They listened to their annointed leader(s) and voted it down.
Where ever you move, ditch the license plates ASAP -- Californian's are not the most popular new neighbors wherever they move these days... the reputation preceeds you.
riot, riot, riot!!
Why? Because the man... the 1/3 Mexican, 1/3 White, and 1/3 other in California....
I said, when I first heard this case, that they'd riot after the dude is dead.
He's already history.....
Totally changed his life. He lives out here now (quieter life and lifestyle) and we see him around town once in a while.
Some not too subtle threats.
If Tookie is executed they will riot, burn everything down and then the government will have to buy them new stuff and have a program to help them.
If Tookie is not executed they will have demonstrated their power over the government.