Gang member-turned-author arrested in Los Angeles police crackdown on violence

Associated Press
Friday, March 9, 2007 – Updated: 10:51 AM EST

LOS ANGELES – An author who wrote a vivid book about gang life and is considered one of the city’s most wanted gang members has been taken into custody, police announced Thursday.
Kody ”Monster” Scott’s arrest Wednesday was the third in as many weeks from a 10-most-wanted gang member list released about a month ago as part of a citywide crackdown on rising gang crime.
Scott, 43, was wanted in a burglary in December in which police say he broke into a home and a beat a man.
More than 300,000 copies of Scott’s book, ”Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member,” are in print, according to publisher Grove/Atlantic Inc., and it has received praise for its raw portrayal of thug life. Filmmaker Antoine Fuqua, who directed ”Training Day,” also plans a movie.
Police Chief William Bratton told reporters Thursday that he had read Scott’s book, along with several others about Los Angeles crime, shortly after taking over the department.
”I didn’t like his book, and I didn’t like him,” Bratton said. ”Now we got to put him back behind bars again.”
Despite a conversion to Islam and a renunciation of violence, police allege, Scott maintains ties to the Eight-Tray Crips, an infamous Los Angeles street gang he claims to have started.
Scott previously served four years in state prison for armed robbery and possession of an AK-47 assault rifle, and remains on parole. Since being released in 1995, he has had other run-ins with the law, including an arrest on suspicion of fleeing police seeking to test him for drugs. He is also wanted as a material witness in a murder case, police said.
Authorities’ quick work in apprehending gang members from the city’s most-wanted list has raised questions among some experts.
On Friday, Steve Alex Garcia, 43, of the San Fers street gang was taken into custody after a three-day joint surveillance in Mexico. That followed the Feb. 21 arrest of Angel Zevallos, 22, an 18th Street gang member wanted for attempted murder, in Guatemala.
”Was this list strategically designed in a way that would bring success?” asked Alex Alonso, a gang expert who runs the Web site ”It does raise a red flag that three people were caught so quickly.”
Police spokesman Lt. Paul Vernon rejected that idea. He said the list was meant to represent a cross-section of gang members chosen from police bureaus around the city.
Scott’s arrest came after an anonymous tipster spotted him in a South Los Angeles neighborhood, police said.
Uniformed and plainclothes officers converged on a home. After about 30 minutes, Scott showed up on a bicycle in what authorities said was a disguise. He allegedly tried to escape but then realized he was surrounded and gave up, police said.
”Scott has a reputation for running and fighting,” police Detective Bill Mixer said. ”We went to great lengths to contain the area and safeguard the neighborhood.”
It was unclear whether Scott had retained an attorney.

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