The murder of Jamiel Shaw and why the truth is never a smear campaign

By Najee Ali
May 19, 2008

The murder of Jamiel Shaw the 17 year old L.A. High School football star who was shot and killed on March 2, in cold blood — allegedly at the hands of Pedro Espinoza an illegal immigrant and member of the 18th Street gang, one of the largest Latino gangs in L.A. County — sent shockwaves throughout the nation.

It also has caused a national debate on Special order 40 which is a mandate implemented in 1979 by the Los Angeles City council and Police Chief Daryl Gates preventing LAPD officers from obtaining immigration status from detained suspects.

The mandate was passed in an effort to encourage residents who are in the country illegally to report crimes without intimidation.

Critics of the measure point out that the mandate also prevents officers from obtaining immigration status from gang members, violent criminals and other felons. Special order 40 is now back in the national spotlight with right wing radio and TV hosts, conservatives and the family of Jamiel Shaw, who are pushing for a law named after Jamiel.

Part of this new law proposal would require law enforcement officials to ask gang members of their citizenship. Whether you support the proposed Jamiel’s law or not, is not my issue.

Jamiel Shaw flashing gang sign

My focus for the last 15 years is continuing to try and save lives and helping to end gang violence in our community. Which is why Jamiel’s murder is and should be a national concern.

I believe it could have been avoided. Jamiel, on several of his MySpace pages, proclaimed that he was a member of Rollin 20’s NHB (Neighborhood Bloods). There are several pictures with Jamiel flashing gang signs and threatening rival gangs that included the crips and 18th Street gang with violence. Ironically, the 18th Street gang is the set his alleged killer is from.

Now, there are some who are saying that pointing these facts out is a smear campaign and those that search for the truth are killing Jamiel all over again. That’s ridiculous. We’re not calling him a gang member. Jamiel called himself a gang member. In fact in several of his pictures he is dressed in red, which is the color of the Bloods.

He was killed wearing several red colored items. My point is this: I don’t believe Jamiel was a hard core gang member–he probably has no arrests and may not even be in the gang database. But he was ‘net-banging’ in cyberspace and that can be just as deadly. Even false claiming of a gang can get you killed.

Jamiel Shaw Sr. who I’m sure by all accounts was a good dad and did all he could for his son is wrong about some issues concerning his son’s tragic murder. This was not a hate crime and his rhetoric has made tensions between Blacks and Latinos worse in the city.

Jamiel was targeted because his murderer thought he was a rival gang member based on his wearing of his red belt, wrist bands and back pack. Mr. Shaw’s efforts with forcing prosecutor Michele Hanisee off the case after meeting with D.A. Steve Cooley and complaining about her work are very troubling. Hanisee by all accounts is a true professional and one of the best prosecutors in her office.

To slander and taint her work is unconscionable. I believe she probably told Mr. Shaw an inconvenient truth about Jamiel’s secret life of cyberspace gang-banging and he couldn’t handle it. So now it appears that Mr. Shaw and his supporters are willing to go to any length to stop the truth from getting out.

Their efforts include the slandering of prosecutor Hanisee as well as Mr. Shaw’s disgusting racial remarks about gang expert Alex Alonso on The John and Ken show on KFI radio last week. I for one don’t care what anyone says about me and that includes members of the Shaw lynch mob. Their true target should be the website which allowed Jamiel and so many other youth to post messages promoting gangs and threats of violence against other youths.

Our organization plans on calling a press conference this week and calling My Space out for not taking these pages and accounts down that promote gang violence. Jamiel is gone but maybe ‘Jamiel’s Law’ should be an effort for the community to help monitor and hold accountable for spreading gang culture.

I believe that Jamiel was a good son and outstanding athlete, but he also was a member of My Space where he claimed membership in the Bloods street gang.

The truth is never a smear campaign.

UPDATE: Project Islamic HOPE targets for protest

What: Civil rights activist Najee Ali Director of Project Islamic HOPE and a coalition of community leaders are calling for the website and social network site to begin to aggressively monitor and remove profiles that promote and glorify gang violence. Jamiel Shaw the 17 year old L.A. High School football star who was gunned down on March 2 by an alleged gang member was a frequent MySpace user.

On his profiles he claimed membership in his neighborhood street gang and posed for pictures flashing gang signs. Shaw also threatened violence on his MySpace pages against rival gangs causing many people to now believe that Shaw was gunned down not because of his race but because of his gang memberships and associations that were promoted by MySpace. Our coalition wants MySpace to ban all promotions of gang violence ,and gang culture by MySpace users and is asking for community members nationwide to report objectionable comments and pictures that promote gangs.”Stated Najee Ali of Project Islamic HOPE

When: Monday May 19th 2008

Time: 9:30 am

Where: Leimert Park 3415 W.43rd Place Los Angeles CA (Crenshaw & Vernon Ave)

Sponsors: Project Islamic HOPE, The Latino and African American Leadership Alliance – Rev K.W.Tulloss.

Posted by on May 19 2008. Filed under People of CA v. Pedro Espinoza. 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.

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