Uninformed Radio Host Claims Smear Campaign against Jamiel Shaw
Alex Alonso for StreetGangs.com
May 15, 2008
I recently wrote an article about the murder of Jamiel Shaw to emphasize that the conflict between the Bloods and 18th Street is the primary reason why the shooter targeted Jamiel and not race. The main point is that Pedro Espinoza, was not on 5th Avenue looking for a random black person to murder. I was heavily criticized by Doug McIntyre from 790 KABC and many of his assertions about my article were completely wrong. What follows are responses to his statements made on May 13, 2008 from his morning radio show in Los Angeles.
*I never called Jamiel Shaw a “hardened gang banger” nor do I even come close to it in the article. The “hardened gang banger” or the hard core element of the gang is precisely what I am saying Jamiel was NOT. The word “gang” has become so stigmatized and over criminalized that the knee jerk reaction towards anything that is “gang-related” is to condemn those involved as criminals and domestic terrorists. Most of the members of a gang are not felonious offenders and most people cannot comprehend this dichotomy. The gang as a whole is not a criminal organization, but the hard core members use the gang as a conduit to express their anger, self-hate, crime and violence, while many of the other members take a back seat. The smaller group of hard core members are on a path of violent delinquent behavior regardless of gang membership because of their dysfunctional value system. Fortunately most gang members do not lash out so aggressively.
*McIntyre calling me a “self professed expert” I find a bit condescending. My education, articles published, nearly ten years working in the judicial system on gang cases, 15 years of research on gangs, being cited in dozens on books on the topic, working with the leading gang researchers in the country, appearing on more programs than I can count, producing television programs on the topic, I believe has established my credentials. I was even a guest on his show last year on the topic of gangs.
*I vehemently challenge the belief that the 18th Street gang in Los Angeles has a membership that includes 80 percent of illegal aliens. Just think about this number for a moment. Our illegal inmate population in California is about 15% (25,000 of 172,000 inmates). Our gang population in Los Angeles County of approximately 100,000 includes roughly 10% illegal aliens (high estimate) so if we assume that every illegal alien gang member in the County belongs to 18th Street, then at most you would have a gang that has 50 percent of its members illegal (Thats 10,000 of the total 20,000 members of 18th Street in LA County). But examining this with a little logic, we know that the illegal alien gang members are going to be disbursed throughout the 500 Hispanic gangs in the County. Additionally the 18th Street gang that has factions 40 years old, of roughly 20,000 members, is a generational gang that has a strong base of US born members, so it is impossible for that gang to have a population of 80 percent illegal aliens.
This erroneous statistic comes from a 2003 report by US Senator Dianne Feinstein, a politician that McIntyre and others on KABC would rarely rely on as a credible source of information because of her left leaning liberal record, but she has garnered some credibility from conservatives who now cite her on this outrageously false characterization. The statistic as it appears in Feinstein’s report cites the National Drug Intelligence Center, but the Senator’s report does not provide a proper citation for that statistic and her report claims that 80 percent of the State’s, not LA’s, 18th Street gang population is illegal. A Report by the National Alliance of Gang Investigators in 2005 uses the same statistic, but that report at least sites the National Drug Intelligence Center, U.S. Department of Justice, Connecticut Gang Threat Assessment report of 2003 and this report does not even talk about 18th Street, so where does this stat come from?
*Within the worst neighborhoods that are plagued with gangs, approximately ten to fifteen percent of the adolescent population gravitates towards gangs. This is actually a good sign, because it reveals that the gangs are not ravaging and terrorizing neighborhoods as McIntyre has suggested, and if you go to the Arlington Heights neighborhood on any day and drive through the community some might be surprised how appealing this community looks. Additionally, only a small portion of those that gravitate towards gangs exhibit habitual and predatory like criminal behavior.
*My analysis of what may have caused the shooter to kill Shaw is being reduced by McIntyre as “a short skirt defense” without understanding the severity and consequences of anyone who fashions themselves after or emulates gang culture. On one hand we are quick to criticize popular culture and hip-hop for promoting gang activity through rap music and videos and other medium used by the music industry, and rightfully so for its negative influence, however we do not want recognize its potential harm on young people and the danger it poses to walk the walk. To McIntyre, “what difference does it make?,” and to disregard this issue is irresponsible.
*A “gang-banger” is an active member of a gang who actively puts in violent work for his gang which includes shooting, assaults and murders, and I never put Shaw in a “gang-banger” category.
*My article never claimed that Shaw was in a gang database. The data base includes only those that the police have made contact with, so if you are in a gang, but never had police contact, you will not be in the database.
*The article I wrote, never stated that “Jamiel was responsible for his own death” nor does it even suggest to blame Jamiel. The murder of young Jamiel is horrific and I merely attempted to describe why the shooter targeted him. No matter what we learn about Jamiel, it is the shooter who was responsible for Jamiel’s death, and if found guilty he should receive a severe punishment.
I’ve always considered McIntyre to be a fair minded reliable conservative voice, but he misinterpreted my message to his audience and for those who never read it would have a completely different take on what I wrote. McIntyre has associated me with a political camp that preaches an “open border” policy for which I have no relationship with. Nor am I part of this “system” or a “game” as he contends, who supports illegal immigration, and I am not connected to the Mayor’s Office or aligned with anyone in the LA County District Attorney’s office.
I firmly believe that if one is found guilty of a serious crime such as the one Espinoza was found guilty of last year, the County government, who had Espinoza in custody, should have placed a hold on him, investigated his immigration status and then turned him over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
My analysis of the shooting was not done so to attack Jamiel’s Law, a proposed City ordinance or to uphold Special Order 40, a current City ordinance. If any entity is responsible for the events that led up to Jamiel’s murder, it should be our County government who had Espinoza in custody. Espinoza was arrested on November 18, 2007 in Culver City, California, and then turned over to the County to await trial in State Court where he was convicted and sentenced to serve his time in a County facility, that ultimately released him on March 1, 2008. The City of LA was not involved with in any actions related to the custody, arrest and/or prosecution of Espinoza stemming from his November arrest in 2007. The murder of Jamiel did occurred in the City of LA, but if the County turned Espinoza over to ICE (or if ICE placed a hold on Espinoza’s release), then Jamiel would be alive right now. None of the preventative measures that are being discussed and recommended by McIntyre and others would have stopped the County from releasing Espinoza from custody.