Crips, Bloods, Black Guerilla Family Deny Pact to Harm Police
When the riots started in Baltimore on Monday in response to the death of Freddie Gray, an unarmed black man who died after being arrested, officers blamed street gangs for inciting the violence.
But in interviews, members of the Crips, Bloods and Black Guerrilla Family said they had no pact to “take out” police officers, as the authorities had asserted; and the gang members denied having anything to do with the unrest that left dozens of cars and buildings in flames and several stores looted.
In fact, several members said they protected some stores from being burned and looted.
“We stood in front of the store, which is Muslim-owned and told people to move on,” said one member of the Crips gang who asked not to be named because of his affiliation with a gang.
The gang member said the looting that took place was by people who had grown frustrated with the high unemployment, lack of jobs and treatment at the hands of police. “People don’t need gangs to tell that they are in this condition,” he said. “They live in it everyday. It just boiled over.”
Gang members here say they are easy targets because of their past involvement in drug deals and shootings. “So it’s easy to say that it was us,” said another gang member, who said he belong to the Bloods street gang.
Other gang members, in a meeting with ministers at the Simmons Baptist Church, also voiced their frustration with being blamed for the violence.
The Rev. Duane Simmons, the church pastor, who called for the meeting, said he does not know what involvement, if any, gangs had in the unrest, but he said simply focusing on the gangs diverts the focus from the root cause of the rioting.
“We have failed these young people,” he said. “We need to focus on what’s causing these frustrations that led to the violence, not talking about gangs.”
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