Jimel Barnes, the self proclaimed Godfather of the Crips Misspeaks
By Alex Alonso (Streetgangs.Com)
July 8, 2006
Jimel Barnes, one of the Original Crips from Avalon Gardens in Los Angeles is interviewed by John & Ken from 640 KFI in Los Angeles about Tookie. This is a “must listen” interview, because Jimel makes some comical claims, false statements, and calls for the execution of Tookie.
(10 minutes 30 secs)
LOS ANGELES – Jimel Barnes was a very vocal opponent advocating for the execution of Stanley Tookie Williams last December. He was quoted, last year saying, “Tookie really murdered those people, and he went around bragging about it.” What was so unusual about his call for Tookie’s execution was that he was actually a teenage friend of Tookie going back to the early 1970s and because of his position against Tookie, he was able to get some air time on several radio and TV news spots including the John & Ken show on 640 KFI in Los Angeles. It is clear that the radio hosts did not know Jimel Barnes’ background well, but they interviewed him as if he carried a level of credibility on the topic. The radio interview was full of inconsistent statements and contradictions made by Barnes and at times very comical.
The first false statement Barnes made to John & Ken was that Tookie had never known Raymond Washington, the actual founder of the Crips. That’s completely untrue, because Washington met Tookie around 1970 or 1971 and they became good friends. Their relationship is well-documented and common knowledge by those that knew both Tookie and Washinton. The fact that Tookie and Washington knew each other and were friends is absolutely irrefutable.
Barnes claims that he recruited Tookie in Compton in 1979/1980 and within 3-years he buffed him up with weights. Barnes makes this same claim in the 1995 book, Uprising in more detail where he states, “Later on after Raymond passed away, I wanted a twin brother, I wanted somebody to replace Raymond, so I went out and found this guy named Tookie and built him up from a little small guy to be a gladiator like me” (p.152-153). Both the statements Tookie made on the John & Ken show and in the book are false because Tookie was arrested on March 15, 1979 for quadruple homicide, and at the time of his arrest he had already developed a reputation that was several years old of being a Crip on the streets of Los Angeles. Additionally, Raymond Washington was murdered on August 9, 1979, so it would have been impossible for Jimel Barnes to recruit Tookie to be a Crip after Raymond Washington had died, because Tookie had been incarcerated already for five months by this time, and the editors of that 1995 book should have caught that obvious discrepancy. Additionally, John & Ken should not have been so naive to give Barnes so much radio time to spread misinformation.
Barnes claimed that he took Tookie from 14-inch arms to 25-inch arms on his bodybuilding program and he further states that he introduced Tookie to Arnold Schwartzenegger 25 years ago (1980) at Gold’s gym in Venice. Very few men have ever had 25-inch arms and using steroids Gregg Valentino holds the record for the largest arms (biceps) that measured from 25 – 27 inches. Professional body builders rarely get their biceps over 22 inches, and by looking at all of Tookie’s photos, his arms at best were 20 inches, certainly not the 25 inches that Barnes claims. Additionally, in 1980 when Jimel Barnes claims to have introduced Tookie to Arnold, Tookie was already in jail awaiting trial. John & Ken respond naively, “that’s really fascinating,” after Barnes makes the ridiculous statements that he introduced Tookie to Arnold Schwartzenegger around 1979/80. Barnes later states that at the time he introduced Tookie to Arnold, he was a 2-time Mr. Olympia which would take Barnes story back to 1971. But Barnes must have forgot that he earlier stated that he met Tookie in 1979/1980, by that time Arnold was a 6-time Mr. Olympia.
Barnes also told John & Ken of 640 KFI radio that Arnold Schwartzenegger wanted to make Tookie Mr. Olympia, but from 1970 – 1980, Arnold was busy making himself Mr. Olympia, so why would Arnold want to help someone else take the titles that he worked so to hard to retain. That’s like Floyd Mayweather Jr wanting to teach someone to become a world-class boxer to take his titles away.
Barnes claims that he spent 30 years working out in Gold’s Gym and that he was bench pressing 900 pounds during that time. If that were true, Barnes would have been a world record holder of the bench press which is currently held by Scot Mendelson who benched 1,008 lbs in 2006. The heaviest raw bench press was also performed by Mendelson at 715 lbs which I am certain Barnes was never able to bench. At best, Barnes had been able to bench 500 – 550 lbs during his prime years during the late 1970s and 1980s.
Barnes also told John & Ken of KFI radio that Tookie was still a Crip while on death row. That was a story that San Quentin Warden Vernell Crittenden started last November 2005, then later retracted. Tookie had not been involved in any criminal activity in prison since 1993, and during the last 12 years of his life on death row, he had not been disciplined while in San Quentin Prison. All his telephone calls had been monitored as all death row inmates are, so not only is it impossible to “call shots” from death row, without prison officials eves dropping on the conversations, it was untrue to label Tookie an active Crip gang member from his death row cell. Barnes knows this is not true, but his dislike for Tookie was so intense he was willing to make false statements that would further malign Tookie’s persona.
Barnes claimed that he and Washington started the Crips, but it was Washington who was the founder of the Crips while calling on a circle of his friends to join into his new movement. Tookie founded the West Side Crips, and Barnes formed the Avalon Garden Crips well after Washington started the original East Side Crips, but they all want to take the credit for one of the most popular street gangs ever formed.
Barnes has lost all credibility on the topic and should not be taken seriously and he is not welcomed by his own peers. He misspoke in the 1995 book, Uprising, and 10 years later he was still spreading the same fictitious stories. What is true, is that Barnes has harbored a jealous envy of Tookie for several years but now that Tookie is dead, I wonder if Jimel Barnes has found peace with himself and enjoying the satisfaction that one of his boyhood friends has been executed.