Propaganda and Lies about Stanley Tookie Williams

By Alex Alonso
November 17, 2005

mn_williams_executioI have never heard so much misinformation on the topic of Stanley Tookie Williams and the history of the Crips. This is a topic that I have been researching for over 10 years. I have published on this topic, have consulted with the LAPD, LASD, LA Probation Department about gangs, and have testified as an expert witness in dozens of gang-related cases. I am surprised to hear many people on the radio talking on this subject with so much blatant inaccuracy.

If you listen to Los Angeles radio, specifically 790 KABC or 640 KFI, you will hear quite a bit of propaganda about this topic. I listen to these stations regularly, and obviously you will never agree 100% with people’s perspectives, but the level of misinformation, calls into question the credibility of these radio hosts that allow this to continue. I am not an advocate for Williams, but I stated in another article, I wouldn’t object to clemency, because clemency is not about guilt or how brutal a crime was. Governors considering clemency are supposed to have a different perspective than the court where the inmate was sentenced to death. I believe that the circumstantial evidence, the witness statements, Mr. Williams’ own statements, the record of his gun purchase and several other items are overwhelming information that points to his guilt, but at the same time there are a host of unanswered and procedural law issues that would not stand scrutiny today.

For those that are interested in some history I will do my best to lay out some of the facts as it relates to Williams and more so to the history of gangs in Los Angeles.

Tookie was not the founder of the Crips and calling him a co-founder is still a stretch. Raymond Washington who lived on 76th Street on the eastside started the Crips in 1969, and it was a continuation of another gang called the Avenues. At this time, Raymond Washington did not know Tookie, and it was about 2 years later when they met. Tookie got involved with the Crips around 1971 when it was already formed, and the neighborhood he was involved with was called the Westside Crips, a gang that does not exist anymore. Black gangs first formed in Los Angeles in the late 1940s in the Central-Vernon area. Eventually back gangs formed throughout other parts of Los Angeles during the 1970s and early 1980s. Williams did not start the Crips and he certainly did not start gangs in Los Angeles which actually go back to the late 1940s, so the gang seeds had been planted in Los Angeles in these same neighborhoods before Williams was born.

To give Williams the label of gang founder is like saying John Gotti started the Gambino Crime family. Gotti started a crew that became very powerful, but he was a unique person that had leadership abilities and Williams because he was a very muscular guy as a teenager stood out among the rest and was able to lead other teens. The irony in this comparison is the government knew of 19 murders that John Gotti and Sammy “the bull” Gravano were involved with. Gotti received a life sentence and Gravano served 5 years, even though he admitted to killing more people than Jeffrey Dahmer, The Son of Sam, Charles Manson, and Richard Ramirez. Williams, who was convicted of killing four people in 1981 is being described by pro death penalty advocates as one the most influential person that has been directly responsible for gangs in Los Angeles and all the subsequent crimes related to the Crips in Los Angeles and around the world. This is ridiculous!

Another point I want to make is that the Crips have formed in several places around the country by the 1990s. This proliferation process starting during the mid 1980s as Los Angeles based gang members that were part of the drug trade sought out new markets. The expansion of Los Angeles black gangs into other cities was the result of several factors of which have nothing to do with Williams role as co-founder of the Crips, and this same process has been seen with white motorcylce gangs, Hispanic gangs from Southern California, and Blood gangs too. Let’s lets examine some of the processes that have contributed to their expansion.

During the mid 1980s, some gang members (the entrepuenirial ones) wanted to expand their rock cocaine markets into other cites outside of Los Angeles. As Los Angeles law enforcement began an aggressive campaign against rock cocaine dealers, many of the drug dealers wanted to expand to other markets where law enforcement were naive to rock cocaine dealers. Additionally, there were more profits selling rock cocaine in other cities. For example, one could sell a kilogram of rock cocaine in Los Angeles in the 1980s for $14,000 and that same quantity can sell for $20,000 and up depending on the demand in that city. This started in cities near Los Angeles like San Diego, Las Vegas, Portland and Seattle. Then eventually to the mid west. When these initial migrations occurred with the purpose of drug trafficking these gang members would often take the gang culture with them, planting the seeds for the gang to further develop in neighborhoods prone to gang activity. What’s important to note here is that all the places where LA gangs formed would have eventually formed gangs of some sort but by happenstance and timing, it was LA gangs at that time. Today most of the discussion about gang migration is focused on Mara Salvatrucha (MS) and before it was 18th Street, and tomorrow it will be another gang.

Another reason for the exportation of gang culture, occurred when some families decided to moved out of Los Angeles when the street gang scene became critical during the 1980s in an effort to remove their at-risk children from getting completely involved. Many of these black families moved to other parts of California or returned to the South to Texas and Louisiana. In some cases the child had already assumed the gang identity before leaving LA and shared that with the new friends in their new city.

Deportation is one of the biggest reasons why you see so much LA related Hispanic gangs in Mexico and Central America, but that has also caused the predominately black Blood and Crips gangs to have formed in countries in West Africa and Belize. In fact the black gangs that exist in Belize, are the same black gangs that you will find in South LA where Belizeans are concentrated, i.e. Rollin 20s Bloods, Harlem Crips, Rolling 40s Crips and Fruit Town Brims to name a few.

The fourth and most influential cause to gang proliferation in the United States and around the world is through media representations of popular culture. Through the gangster rap element of hip-hop, “urban” programming, movies and the MTV generation, gang culture has been exported to suburban and rural portions of the US and abroad where Los Angeles gang members have never visited. Young impressionable kids watch Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, WC, and other gangster rappers and become fascinated with the glorious representations of the gang culture through the music videos, the lyrics, the clothing styles, magazines, and concerts. Because of the popularity and global success of gangster rap, gang culture has been commodified, being packaged and sold and now a mainstream element of American society.

For example, Snoop Dogg makes a reference to a gang in his songs called the “Dog Pound Crip gang” which is not an actual Los Angeles street gang, but many cities in the US are reporting this gang active in their cities. This is a result of copycat youths listening to too much music. Additionally, WC was the first person to perform the Crip Walk in a music video and concert, and immediately youth from Canada, Australian and Scandinavia have all started Crip walking. I say all this because I have heard several radio hosts blame Williams for the proliferation of street gangs, specifically the Crips, when Williams had absolutely nothing to do with it. All of this growth occurred while he was in prison, and he never had the ability to expand the Crips or to even lead the Crips from his death row cell. During the height of Los Angeles street gang activity, Williams was in solitary confinement for 6-years.

Many radio hosts are stuck on the name “Crips” as if this is one cohesive gang. The word Crip is an identity but not the name of one gang. For example Williams started Westside Crips, and another person started Compton Crips, and another person started Inglewood Crips and so on. I can start a gang and name it after this website and call it “Street Gang Crips” but this would not make me a “Crip founder.” This is the same issue with the Bloods. But what’s important to know is that there is no one leadership, or organized body that runs the Crips.

The Crips from 1969 where not formed to get involved in the drug trade, in fact there was no serious drug trade that the black youth were involved with during this period. The most serious crime was the stealing leather coats, which actually resulted in one of the first killings by a Crip member when Robert Ballou refused to surrender his leather coat to a group of Crips in March of 1972 at the Hollywood Palladium. The drug trade was introduced to the Bloods & Crips around 1983 when rock cocaine became the new choice drug. This was also when the killing among Los Angeles street gangs increased as they increased every year from 1983 – 1992.

The Crips were not formed to fight the Bloods. The conflict between the two certainly escalated, especially after the killing a Brim member in December 1972, but the Crips didn’t form to fight the Bloods as Al Rantel incorrectly stated on 790 KABC radio on November 17, 2005. In fact there was no Blood identity established when the Crips began in 1969. It took another three years before the Bloods had established themselves.

Lastly, Williams is not a shot caller from San Quentin. The new information that the California Department of Corrections (CDC) was circulating was that Williams has been actively calling shots from prison and has influence over the Crips. Vernell Crittendon, who works at San Quentin stated that Williams is an active gang member calling shots, but Daniel Vasquez, who worked at San Quentin from 1983 to 1993 says that’s not true, and additionally, Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman April Harding said there was no evidence of his gang leadership. The CDC removed these false allegations off their website the very next day. If we are going to accept statements like this without any proof or evidence it really questions the reliability of those on the radio that have the responsibility of at least being accurate with the facts before they run with a rumor. Local Los Angeles radio has certainly become tabloid on this topic.

The radio should deal with what we do know about Williams which would include his 1979 arrest for quadruple murder, his 1981 conviction and death sentence, his denial of the crime, and whether he deserves clemency. Those seem to be some of the main issues surrounding this story.

Lies I have heard, read or seen:

  • “Williams started one of the most notorious gangs” Mr. KABC, 11/17/05 on KABC radio – When Raymond Washington formed the Crips in 1969, it was far from being notorious. Some of the factors that made the Crips notorious included access to high powered weapons and the crack cocaine trade that occurred years after Williams’ incarceration.

  • “The Crips formed to fight the Bloods and to get involved in the drug trade” – Al Rantel, 11/17/05
  • Lafayette Jones, 36, Son of Crips founder sought in Fontana. The problem with this story is that Williams, who is 51 does not have a 36 year old son named Lafayette Jones. He does have a 32 year old son.
  • Vernell Crittendon’s assertion that Williams is still actively leading the Crips and involved with gang activity is completely untrue. First of all, all death row inmates are closely monitored, and additionally a prison official listens to every telephone call a death row inmate makes. If it is true that he is still involved with running the Crip from his prison cell, why didn’t the prison officials do something about it? Are we to believe that they just let him engage and influence criminal activity from his cell? It is not true, and that’s why the California Department of Corrections removed the claim from their website less than 24 hours later. And according to the prison records of San Quentin, Williams has not been disciplined since 1993 and was put on “A status” by the prison, which basically means that he has been on good behavior. Even the district attorney’s report states in section XII that the last discipline on record in prison occurred July 6, 1993 (p. 46), over 12 years ago.
  • There is a debate on whether there was a black juror that deliberated on this case in 1981. The prosecution indicated in their report to the governor’s office that there was on black on the jury, but there are reports that suggest the black person was Asian, possibly Filipino. His name was William McLurkin, and his death certificate indicates black.
  • Williams co-founded a gang that has killed thousands and thousands of people” – Larry Elder, 11/21/05 on KABC Radio – Gang members kill, not the gang. What that means is that there are young people, mostly males that grow up to become killers and predators. Many of these people are attracted to the gang culture & lifestyle, but not all people attracted to the gang life style are predators and killers. The people that grow up to become killers were going to grow up with those criminal instincts because of the values or lack thereof they were raised with, which include an extremely dysfunctional family upbringing, exposure to drugs at a young age, lack of parenting and supervision, etc, but not because of the presence of a gang. This is evident by examining the killings that gang members do commit, which are MOSTLY not motivated by the gang or the gang affiliation (homicides committed by gang members in LA are defined as gang-related regardless of the circumstances that motivated that assault). The killings that the gangs have been responsible reach significant numbers from 1987 – 1993, and nearly half of the gang related homicides that occur in Los Angeles are by Hispanics. Are we going to blame Tookie for those killings too?
  • This is the only media outlet you will get the truth”, 11/29/2005 a quote by John Ziegler from 640 KFI regarding their coverage of the upcoming execution of Stanley Tookie Williams. The coverage from Ziegler’s show is pro-execution but they get several Crip historical facts wrong.
  • 12/07/2005, Al Rantel from 790 KABC radio called his guest, California Assemblyman Paul Koretz a liar when he said that at least one deathrow inmate from Texas was executed unjustly. Well the assemblyman was correct as Ruben Cantu who was exectuted in 1993 turned out to be innocent of the murder he was convicted of in 1985.
  • StreetGangs.Com Staff Posted by on Nov 17 2005. Filed under Lies I Heard. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

    7 Comments for “Propaganda and Lies about Stanley Tookie Williams”

    1. Pam

      Have you ever seen the picture of the clerk that is face down at the 7-11 shot dead? Or what about the family at the motel that he killed? Your article only blabs on and on about whether he started the Crips or not. Who cares if he did or not? That’s not the big issue here and you are missing it. Did any of you who seem to idolize him, ever, for one moment, EVER think about his victims?? What kind of society do we live in where a murdered has followers?

      He shouldn’t have been granted clemency because he didn’t give any to his victims. It shouldn’t have taken the deaths of innocent people and years on death row for this man to straighten up. If some good came of his time there, that’s wonderful but let’s not forget the victims of his crimes but his ‘transformation’ doesn’t excuse what he did.

      • You are right, the big issue is whether or not he received a fair trial and most importantly whether or not he was guilty. It was the prison officials, and others bringing up irrelevant issues about the Crips, his son, and other topics that is extremely unusual.

    2. Pam your end line conclusion is not questioned but bear in mine that as in college if your begining is incorrect your conclusion is also necessarily incorrect and while Tookies actions were unusually brutal it represents the conclusion of the equation Did you ever stop to think why the Black Panthers were summarily annihilated with there emphasis on free lunch programs and after school Tutoring and the Crips and Bloods were allowed to proliferate wthin the same community I say ths to say that this was engineered from external goverment agencies(cointelpro) no mystery here . I remember Nobel Prize Winner Ralph Bunche stating that while attending L.A. city schools he was encoraged to focus on wood shop by his teachers, a man later voted by Life magazine as one of the 7 brightest minds in America…….Rob.

    3. CM

      Reincartion is a lie lets talkk about that

    4. Kenneth Wyatt

      I was born and raised in that hell called LA. I knew Tooky and a lot of his crew. Although I was never a part of a gang or the thug life, I had to live though the gang hell that they brought on their own community. I still have the black eye that Tooky gave me… Yes, Forgivenees in great, but the word also states that if you live by the sword, you shall die but the sword. I pray that he changed and made it to heaven, but I will not be sad, if he went straight to HELL!

      – Tooky
      – Raymond
      – Monkey Man
      – His brother Rayfield
      – Man Dog
      – etc… All of them
      “Compton, Local call to HELL! ” Long Beach TOO!

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    6. King

      Live In Peace Stanley Tookie Williams III

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