The Impact of the Federal Prosecution
of the Gangster Disciples
George W. Knox, Ph.D.
National Gang Crime Research Center
© Copyright 2008, Chicago, IL, National Gang Crime Research Center. WARNING: This document is copyright protected in its entirety. A copyright is on file with the U.S. Copyright Office, Washington, DC, United States Library of Congress. The NGCRC strictly forbids reproducing, copying, distributing, or disseminating its "gang profiles", also known as gang threat analysis research reports. No portion of the contents of these NGCRC gang profiles may be copied, reproduced, stored, or distributed in any form whatsoever without the prior written permission of the National Gang Crime Research Center.
Examining the historical issues surrounding the effectiveness of the federal prosecution of the Gangster Disciple's gang means focusing on an interesting aspect of the criminal justice system (CJS) to examine this issue of prosecutorial impact or effectiveness. A lot of agencies in the CJS have special programs or initiatives that are routinely "assessed" or "evaluated". For example, in looking at initiatives such as D.A.R.E., it is expected that the program will have an evaluation of its outcome effectiveness. But when it comes to federal prosecution of gangs like the now famous prosecution of the Gangster Disciples in Chicago, in which 39 of the top leaders including Larry Hoover were convicted, we generally do not have a "follow-up study" that is built into the prosecutorial function.
The future of the prosecutorial function in the American CJS may actually include such an impact assessment or evaluation, but presently there is no such function. We will summarize some informal and anecdotal evidence about the impact of the GD prosecution in Chicago. This paper will also specify what should probably go into a formal impact assessment. It will also reveal a wealth of information not previously disclosed about the Gangster Disciple gang. This therefore provides a comprehensive chronology and analysis of what many gang experts believe to have been the single largest and most notorious gang of the 20th Century.
For additional information on the Gangster Disciples, the reader is referred to the book An Introduction to Gangs, 2000, New Chicago School Press, ISBN 0-9665155-4-4, Library of Congress Card Catalog Number 00-133631. The author is George W. Knox. This book is available through: Amazon.com, Barnes & Nobles, Academic Book Center, Yankee Book Peddler Library Services, Blackwell's Library Services, Midwest Library Service, Emery-Pratt Library Services, The Book House Inc, and the American Correctional Association's book division (1-800-ACA-JOIN, ask for the publications division).
The oral interviews were conducted in correctional environments as well as at a university location. Thus, both confined gang members and gang members at large in the public were included in the oral interviews. The oral interviews were structured to examine the impact of the GD prosecution on the structure and function of the GD gang. Below we describe the advantages and disadvantages of oral interviews.
Oral interviews are a necessary ingredient of an impact assessment such as that being developed here. There are some advantages to oral interviews and these can be briefly described: (1) they allow for great flexibility in terms of capturing information directly from those affected, i.e., the gang members themselves, (2) they allow for interesting reading material in as much as this type of qualitative research technique generally produces useful insights into gang life, (3) they provide an excellent basis for more pinpointed analysis such as would be necessary in a more quantitative approach to impact assessment by the use of a questionnaire or survey technique designed to reach large numbers of such offenders, and (4) there is a long and rich tradition in gang studies where the oral interview is often the only research method employed to generate "data". The "data" in oral interviews consists of the information gathered during the interview process itself.
There are clear and definite limits and dangers represented in terms of validity when using oral interviews as the sole basis for an impact assessment. We will briefly list some of these issues: (1) there is always the issue of "validity", as offenders do "lie", (2) the oral interview requires a flexible personality and training that not everyone necessarily has, and thus some people are better "interviewers" than others, i.e., they know when to "probe" and when to "motivate" the gang member, etc, (3) ideally oral interviews are combined with secondary data of a quantitative nature to achieve some level of convergent validity so that one can have confidence in the overall conclusion from the impact assessment, and (4) there is always the issue of "judgement calls" when the researcher must reject certain "interviews" due to a belief that the gang member is in fact being deceptive or less than honest, and therefore there is a lot that often gets "edited out" in such interviews.
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE GANGSTER DISCIPLES
Larry Hoover was born on November 30, 1950. He grew up in a small rural town in Mississippi; migrating to Chicago in the late 1950's.
In 1960 Devil's Disciples were formed with David Barksdale, Shorty Freeman, and Don Derky being main "shot callers". Larry Hoover was involved with this low level emerging gang.
In 1966 the Black Disciples (BD) gang was formed by King David Barksdale; it began a new gang identity, one that persists even today. Larry Hoover was not known to be involved with the BD gang organization, it exists today as a rival to the GD gang. Larry Hoover remained involved with the Devil's Disciples however, up until the BD leader was neutralized by rival gunfire.
In 1969 Barksdale was wounded by rival gang gunfire, this effectively took Barksdale out of gang action. This would ultimately make the founder of the BD's a legendary cult figure in gang mythology. It would also position Larry Hoover for a major organizing opportunity to establish his own gang.
From approximately 1970 and continuing until 1973 Hoover forms spin-off group called "The family" includes "Supreme Gangsters". His group would include figures who would continue for the next 25 years to build up the gang organization known as the Gangster Disciples. This young kid from Mississippi with a serious speech defect (i.e., stuttering problem) would emerge shortly as a major player in Chicago gangs; ultimately, making him possibly the most serious gangster of the 20th Century. But his first effort to run an empire falls short due to his violence: he wanted to send a message to the rest of the gangs that he was someone to be "reckoned with". Thus, on February 26, 1973 Larry and his associate Andrew Howard killed a drug dealer who refused to pay them for a drug supply. The murder victim was William Young.
In 1974 David Barksdale died from kidney failure due to 1969 wound he received. This leadership void in Black gangland would provide Larry Hoover the ultimate window of opportunity to launch his new gang empire.
In 1974 Hoover's growing influence in "the family" and the "Supreme gangsters" culminates in a new identity: "Gangster Disciples". They were called variously "Black Gangster Disciples (BGD's)", "Black Gangster Disciple Nation (BGDN)", but always were GD's. What is significant? The gang was basically formed while Larry Hoover was in prison, serving a life sentence for a murder conviction.
In the next four years, Larry's influence would rapidly grow behind bars, making the GDs the most formidable gang inside the Illinois prison system. Thus, in 1978 a major prison riot in IDOC erupts at Pontiac prison: and, yes, the GD's were heavily involved; some say Larry Hoover even masterminded the entire prison riot.
Three correctional officers were killed in the 1978 riot. Larry Hoover was indicted, but charges had to be dropped against him, because no one would testify against Larry Hoover at that time.
In 1979 the one and only assassination attempt was made against Larry Hoover by gang member named "Nissan", he was a Black Gangster (the BG's are a third derivative gang from the original Devil's Disciples). The attempt to kill Larry Hoover involved using a homosexual to stab him, but it did not succeed, and the homosexual inmate died violently.
The 1980's would be owned by Larry Hoover, due to his enhanced ability to administer his gang by being eventually transferred to a minimum security facility where he would get constant access to visitors and phones, enabling his communications even with his underlings in other institutions, and on the streets. It was in the early 1980's that Larry Hoover's official title expanded: he was now "Chairman of the Board". While we doubt that he actually drafted the memo's, as our information indicates that these materials were crafted by the "Minister of Information" for the GDs, who is a highly educated GD member, and who was not prosecuted in the federal case against Larry Hoover and his top 38 associates, it is clear that Larry was eager to take the intellectual credit for these missives, orders, and memoranda issued routinely to the "troops".
Larry Hoover masterminded a detailed organizational plan to formalize the Gangster Disciples behind bars. Here is how the managerial flow chart worked, obviously, Larry was the "Chairman of the Board": (1) The Board of Directors, appointed only by the Chairman, establish policy and amend Nation laws, they approve programs and assist in the education of the Nation, and hear all complaints and grievances for the GD nation; (2) The Institutional Coordinators, appointed by the Chairman, there is one for each prison or institution; they appoint Unit Coordinators, the equivalent of a "cellhouse leader", they oversee the functions of the gang, communicate weekly with all their unit coordinators, they ensure that all laws and policies governing the GD nation are enforced, and report daily to the Chairman on the function and progress of the gang nation; (3) Institutional board secretary, appointed by the Chairman, oversees all correspondence and literature for the GD nation, re-screen all incoming and outgoing members, function as an emissary of the Board of Directors, and communicate daily with the Chairman; (4) Institutional legal coordinator, appointed by the Chairman, oversees legal affairs of the GD nation as well as complaints and grievances from members, and reports daily to the chairman on all complaints, grievances, reports and the functions of the organization; (5) Educational program director, appointed by the chairman, oversees teaching within the institution to GD members, oversees classes and quizzes on GD literature, and reports daily to the Chairman on the functions and progress of the teaching staff; (6) Institutional exercise coordinator, appointed by the chairman, coordinates sporting and social events within the institution for the GD members, ensures the exercise program is functioning properly, and reports weekly to the Chairman; and (7) Institutional Treasurer, oversees the operations of the Nation's finances, communicates weekly with all Unit Treasurers and the Institutional Coordinator.
Now obviously, prior to getting his federal prison sentence, Larry Hoover was literally "micro-managing" his gang. That is no longer possible for him to do.
Once Hoover approved, perhaps editing here and there to a limited extent, the memo's became LAW for his gang. The NGCRC maintains a large collection of these early type-written memo's from the GD gang. Some of these fit importantly into the chronology of events for the GD gang and will be mentioned where appropriate in time. Only a portion of these memo's are actually described or acknowledged here. The rule of thumb in deciding which one's to use was this: was there something unique about the memo? If so, we have provided an exact translation of the memo, complete with its original syntactic and spelling errors, and with its special "highlighting" (i.e., capitalizations, underlining, etc).
In 1981 Larry Hoover issues a memorandum to his troops: no one in the GD gang can ever assault, threaten, or even disrespect a correctional officer without his "blessing"; threatening or assaulting a correctional officer would mean a serious "violation" from the GD's. It becomes one of the 16 "laws" that all incarcerated GD's must follow: it was Law #7 "Guards: no member shall engage in any unnecessary confrontation with any officers or administrative personnel". It works, his troops obey him. This lands Larry Hoover, even though serving a life sentence for murder, the reward of eventually being transferred to a "college campus-like" minimum security facility in downstate Vienna, Illinois. Hoover would be transferred out of high security to minimum security status in 1987. Larry Hoover would use this additional "freedom" to great advantage in further building his gang empire. There are no walls or even fences around the Vienna correctional facility. Larry Hoover would live in relative luxury. When GD's would be transferred to the Vienna facility, Larry would arrange for them to come and meet him: Larry would give them marijuana, money, cigarettes, whatever they wanted, and cultivate potential new middle-management leaders of the GD gang in this way.
The year 1981 is when the GD's came up with the "New Concept" as well: some revisions and expansion of their internal written codes. If there is a "date" we can hang the time of when the GD's became a centralized, almost bureaucratic organization, run by meetings, by-laws, dues, lots of rules, reporting requirements, and a constant onslaught of "memo's from above" etc, it would be the year 1981. GD gang members would get these memos, after they had been xeroxed and xeroxed again and again, and read them and study them as their internal gang literature. Eventually, there would be "training sessions" for some members who might be in the "reluctant reader" category.
The prison-based GD's become called the "Brothers of the Struggle (B.O.S.)", it is an all-encompassing umbrella identifier for GD's in custody not only in prison, but in jails, and juvenile institutions. The identity of the B.O.S., as an umbrella identity, also covered the GDs who operated on the streets. Obviously, the "Chairman" of the "Board of Directors" for the Brothers of the Struggle is Larry Hoover. This becomes real clear in reading the memos. It is also real clear that the B.O.S. is simply the larger identity for the Black Gangster Disciple Nation (BGDN) or simply the "Gangster Disciples".
In a memo dated October 1, 1981 from Larry Hoover to his troops, the GD's are urged to study the written rules, regulations, and written codes and creeds developed by the GD organization. Obviously, every GD is expected to have a full copy. See Figure 23 for a copy of this memo. It is important, historically, for several reasons: (1) it instructs the membership that they will be getting more memos, and it therefore becomes a formal organization, centralized with Larry Hoover at the top; (2) a decade before the GDs would become visibly active in politics, here Larry Hoover alerts his troops to this long-term developmental strategy; and (3) he instructs GD's behind bars to "take jobs" in all possible areas of the prison where profits can be made for the gang (i.e., sensitive positions, etc, "unassigned" in prison means the inmate has no job, they are idle).
The Oct. 1, 1981 Typed Memo From Larry Hoover to His GD Troops
Date: October 1, 1981
From: The Chairman, Co-Chairman and the Board of Directors
To: All Brothers of the Struggle
The Chairman and the Board of Directors wish to extend our love, Life and loyalty to all Brothers of the Struggle! We are pleased with the support and the participation of many of you that has helped us in making a transition from the Old to the New.
Many of you have a copy of the Organization's Preface. The Preface explains the New Concept and the direction that the Organization has taken. As we stated in the Preface, "In the process of going from the Old to the New, we will have a few complications". As predicted, we have had our share of complications, but we refuse to allow anyone or anything to stagnate our progress or expansion. In spite of the few complications, we are happy to report that we are making progress. In order for us as an Organization to continue to progress and expand, we must become more educated, politically motivated and aware of the economical realities of Black America.
Laws and Sentences have become more stiffer and longer and more prisons are being built with us in mind. We as an Organization of young Black Men cannot allow ourselves to stay confined behind walls and locked in cages to slowly grow old and useless. Through Business and Politics, we can build an economical base that will insure us boundless power and wealth. But if we stay uneducated and without political power, prisons and death will continue to be a way of life for many of us.
Now is the time to put down the Donald Goins books. It is time for us to pick up the business, law, political and economical books. It is time for us to go to school, learn trades and develop all of our talents and skills, so that we will become stronger in society. We cannot wait for the system to teach us, we must take it upon ourselves to learn all that we can about this world. We must not be afraid to change or grow. We, as an Organization will not stand still and die.
All Brothers are to have a copy of the Preface and the Laws of the Organization, these papers are to be kept at all times, they are for you to study and learn. These papers are important and should be treated as such. From time to time, you will be requested to attend and participate in meetings to read and discuss all documents that has been issued to the membership. It is important that you as a member of the Organization, know exactly what the Organization is about and where it is going.
Many of us are unassigned, it is important that all of us have assignments. We need to be everywhere, capitalizing on the learning experience and the profits that each assignment has to offer.
Everyone will be required to fill out an application. The reason for the application is for the Chairman and his Board of Directors to know more about you and help place you in a program or assignment that will best suit you as an individual and as a member of this Organization.
Some of our brothers have been indicted for murder. We are to give these Brothers all of our support. We encourage you to help in any way that you can. If they are found guilty, they will face the electric chair. We as an Organization will do all that we can to see that they are free.
Many of the Laws that govern our Organization are still being disregarded and disrespected. All Laws are to be adhered to and respected. Those that continue to disregard and disrespect the laws of this Organization will be violated and eradicated (removed) from this Organization.
Again, Thanks for your cooperation and participation.
CHAIRMAN AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The June 18, 1982 memorandum from Larry Hoover to his troops signaled another organizational development: how to constantly replenish the middle-management functions within the gang. By stressing the need for education to the rank and file members, this memorandum from Hoover is clear in outlining why their growing gang needs "a constant influx of competent replacements". See Figure 24 for a copy of this memo. It also documents how their gang (e.g., their Nation) is becoming more organizationally complex ("technical") as well.
The June 18, 1982 Memorandum from Larry Hoover to His Troops in Prison
Date: June 18, 1982
From: Chairman of the Board
To: The Brothers of the Struggle
In the name of the leadership (The Chairman and the Board of Directors), we bid you Love! Brothers, we say this in all sincerity. When you say the words, "Love To You!", you are really saying: "I am willing to accept responsibility for you; and I am willing to share responsibility with you." Many of us have used this phrase without really meaning it, or knowing the definition of it.
Our Nation is becoming highly technical (e.g., Written Reports, Bookkeeping, Program Proposals, Codes, etc). Some of our more qualified members who held positions of authority have been released. We need a constant influx of competent replacements. It is our responsibility to acquire the necessary skills to keep our Nation functioning at it's capacity. We must take the initiative to learn what we must, in order to preserve our heritage!
It is our duty to inform you that we, (The Leadership) have declared war! Our enemies are twofold: Complacency and Apathy! Before we can conquer our enemies, we must first identify them. Complacency, is the absence of initiative. Our membership is replete with guys who have no goals in life, other than enjoying their recreational periods; or just laying back watching television. These guys don't know anything of worth, and don't want to learn! When asked if they would participate in our school program, a program that would teach them the necessary skills to fill a position of authority, they have the audacity to be offended; as if someone were trying to belittle them. Our second, and greatest enemy, is Apathy. Apathy is the suppression of initiative. There are some of us who are highly qualified to take on roles of Leadership, but choose to shirk responsibility. Either they don't care what happens to this Nation, or they feel they won't get the proper acclaim for the effort they're required to give; or because of envy or hatred they're willing to let another fail, saying all the time to himself or others, "I could have done better". Brothers, we will stand for you, and with you! But the fight cannot be won by us alone, it will take your support and participation. Your Leadership doesn't want to force you to attend school, but due to our struggle to maintain adequate personnel, it is our sincerest hope this cause will inspire you to rise to the occasion.
"Love To You".
The July 14, 1982 memo from the Chairman of the B.O.S. (Larry Hoover) announced what they called "Awareness Sessions" for the troops. These were mandatory. Think of it as "training" sessions. The idea was to get everyone on the same page. A copy of the July 14, 1982 memo is provided in Figure 25.
Figure 25: The July 14, 1982 Memo To the Troops on "Awareness Sessions".
Date:July 14, 1982
From:The Chairman and Board of Directors
To:All Brothers of the Struggle
It is a fact, without contradiction that the success of any movement depends largely upon the participation of the mass of people involved in that particular struggle. Leadership without active support, is as useless as spitting in the winds to aid in putting out a major fire. (The fire in this case is the burning effects of poverty, lost direction, and progressive states of self-destruction.) The same is true with the lack of Leadership for the people. The two must combine to coordinate the movement, and each part must do it's share in reaching the goals of the group. What is more important is that the directions of the Organization be set forth, and that each concerned member adhere to those directions, making the necessary sacrifices required to accomplish the objectives.
A group of people organized around the idea of reaching common objectives is called an Organization. Without that unit that comes from having a common purpose, that same group of people qualifies as a Mob, Gang, etc., Therefore, it is essential that each member realize the objectives of the group. Know what it is that inspire the need for unity, and what it is that binds them One to the Other. Otherwise, their membership becomes questionable.
One of the basic objectives of the Black Gangster Disciple Nation is: "To obtain the means to Self-Determination for our People." We can not possibly determine anything without being AWARE of our situation, as well as our alternatives.
This AWARENESS does not come from acting foolish, nor from being lax in your efforts to learn. Therefore the Leadership has opened up avenues for you to gain a perspective on life, our situation, and all aspects of progressive AWARENESS. One such avenue is the AWARENESS SESSIONS, conducted by the Legal Arm of the organization.
The interest of our members are many, therefore the subjects of the Awareness Sessions are many. Listed below are the objectives of the Awareness Session.
1. Bring a vast range of Intelligence to the availability of the people.
2. Promote an environment of creativity among the people.
3. Practice the art of debate.
4. Inspire dignity in our people, by introducing them to a Black History, as well as a Black Heritage.
5. To in general, uplift the mental, emotional, and spiritual growth of our people.
All sessions shall be in accordance with the six points of the Star of David, signifying the six principles upon which our Organization is founded. These principles are: Love, Life, Loyalty, Knowledge, Wisdom & Understanding.
The goals we have set to reach in these AWARENESS SESSIONS are valid goals. We expect to range from politics to Stock Markets. We shall speak of wars and cultures, as well.
The August 27, 1982 memo from Chairman Larry Hoover specifically identifies the B.O.S. as actually being the Black Gangster Disciple Nation, in a routine "morale building" notice to his troops. A copy of this memo is provided in Figure 26.
Figure 26: The August 27, 1982 Memo From Chairman Larry Hoover
Date: August 27, 1982
From: The Chairman and Board of Directors
TO: All Brothers of the Struggle
As the Chairman and Board of Directors strives for each of us, so should each of us strive for the movement (Struggle); and this is done through Initiative. We must understand that it is not initiative to shout "G.D.", nor to stand in a six-point stance, although each of these have their sentimental, as well as symbolic values.
Initiative cure ailments, builds and destroys governments, and have been the main factor of our survival. It takes initiative to achieve any intentional outcome. If you had not taken initiative to walk to the John, you would have left behind one hell of a mess...
Initiative is a self-reliant enterprise. It is impossible to be successful self-determinative without allying one's self with initiative. If your conscience is lowly, it is because you have not taken the initiative to heighten it. Your consciousness of the moral right and wrong of your own acts and motives. Initiative is the ardent wish that all goes well with the struggle; that every act exhibits one's own contribution to what he believes in, and what he stands against. It is assuring that all people gain spiritually from their association with you and your brethren, as you gain spiritual strength from the teachings of our Organizational Empire; called Black Gangster Disciple Nation....A noble sacrifice; a helpful hint to the wise; a constant striving under the inspirational leadership of our Chairman and Board of Directors.
"Love to you".
The September 4, 1982 memo from the Chairman reports to the troops inside Illinois prisons how their gang is succeeding in getting people registered to vote in Chicago. It contains the one and only piece of evidence yet to surface on how Hoover had tried to transform his gang into something a little more positive: it notes that GD members on the outside will no longer be able to rape females among their own membership at least. It is an example of the kind of "feel good" memo that counterbalances the constant onslaught of the kind of "crack the whip" type of memo's the GDs were famous for issuing to their troops. A copy of this memo is provided in Figure 27.
Figure 27: The September 4, 1982 "Feel Good" Memo Claiming Success in Chicago Voter Registration.
Date:September 4, 1982
From:The Chairman and Board of Directors
To:All Brothers of the Struggle
WHAT'S HAPPENING, INSIDE AND OUT!!!
Fellow Brother of the Struggle!
I don't know if you've recently heard the latest, but Our Organization stacked a Full House at the Voter's Registration Board (as the Chicago Suntimes described). Yes, our fellow brothers on the street are moving out. Our new concept that we have adapted (Preface) of Organization is not only being enforced here, but outside of these walls also.
Our brothers have been involved in the cleaning of the 16th and 17th ward. And now they are involving themselves in a Voters-Registration-Drive. We also just recently informed our brothers that there will not be any drafting or raping out of our membership.
We have many goals and objectives toward our Organizational Growth. We shall be keeping you in touch, in the future about our goals and objectives through this bi-weekly information sheet (What's Happening - Inside and Out). We also encourage all of our brothers to step forward with your knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding of our Organization and it's direction. Get in touch with what's really happening, and forward your proposals, ideas, and Mind to us. Study and Read your literature. Check out the last few pages that you just recently received (Proclamation, Letter and Presentation). And watch for the Awareness Sessions coming soon!!! A lot of beneficial knowledge will be coming from these sessions to you, as a individual and member of this Organization.
We want you to give us your eyes and ears, so that you can begin to plug in. Because, We are for Real about what we propagate. Our Concept is to prepare us for the Political and Economical Realities of Black America, and We are going to live and flourish into something great.
Your Chairman and
Board of Directors
The September 21, 1982 memo from the Chairman of the GD's has got to be a history-making piece of internal gang literature. What other gang in the USA do you know that has its own "Suggestion Boxes" for the members to give ideas or complaints to their gang leaders? If we made this up it would sound preposterous, but the document speaks for itself as a factual piece of American gang history. It is provided in Figure 28. Some of these typed memo's carried the top title of "What's Happening, Inside and Out", and this continued for years as a variation on the memo's, where they functioned as a kind of routine underground newsletter for the prison inmates in Illinois, as well as being distributed throughout Chicagoland and elsewhere for the GDs who were "on the streets".
Figure 28: The September 21, 1982 Memo From Larry Hoover Establishing "Suggestion Boxes" For Members of His Gang.
Date:September 21, 1982
From:The Chairman and Board of Directors
To:All Brothers of the Struggle
What's Happening, INSIDE AND OUT!!!
Fellow Brother of the Struggle!
Once again we come to you extending our Love, Life, and Loyalty to all the brothers of the struggle. We hope that some of the information that we are going to render here will benefit you as an individual member of this organization. Because TIME is essential, and as we stated in our Organizational "Preface", we have wasted enough TIME dwelling on insignificant matters. It is TIME to prepare ourselves for the world. And that is what this issue is all about! Some more enlightening factors about our objectives, goals and accomplishments reaching toward the world.
We would first like to congratulate all of our fellow brothers who have made our struggle a success up to this point. We are celebrating ONE YEAR, since taking on our new concept of Organization. Although there has been many difficulties through our struggle, many things have been accomplished. We also understand that after difficulty will come ease. Only saying, we are still reaching... During this SECOND YEAR, we aim to establish ourselves more firmly as an Organization to be reckon with by everyone doing their share, and contributing more to our cause (objective) which is toward the world!
On the streets, our brothers have been diligently involving themselves in Voters-Registration-Drives. They realize that POLITICS is the science of who gets what, where, when and most importantly, How! As we previously manifested to you, "Through Business and Politics, we can build an economical base that will insure us boundless power and wealth". THis is what direction we are moving in.
Many of you complain about this brother benefiting, and that brother benefiting. Also you complain about not receiving any benefits for yourself as a member of this organization.. Our brother, once again we will spell out our concept, which is Organization. (and this is defined as a unified and consolidated group of people with an executive structure that deals with the well-being of all it's people. It's an executive structure of business and enterprise for individual growth and collective excelleration of the body as a whole.) which means; once we have really established ourselves collectively as a Organization, our boundary of progression will be without measure. First, there must be dedication and sacrifice. We must give ourselves totally to the organization and begin to plug in to what's really happening, by molding ourselves around our organizational direction.
Recently, we had a meeting of Minds. It was recommended that we establish a Suggestion Box in each unit. We encourage all our members with any suggestions that you feel will aid us in our direction to forward these suggestions to your Unit Coordinator who will insure that they are properly delivered for review.
And again, we thank all our brothers for their cooperation and participation during this past year, as we venture into another year, may our progress be a success toward our objective, the World! as a ORGANIZATION...
Your CHAIRMAN and
Board of Directors
The September 27, 1982 memo from Chairman Larry Hoover instructs all gang members to mobilize their families to vote against republican incumbent Illinois governor Jim Thompson. It uses the cunning and guile and cult-like language of how to cultivate youths on the streets by "feeding them" the "New Concept" (i.e., they are not a gang). This memo is provided in Figure 29.
Figure 29: The Sept. 27, 1982 Memo From Chairman Larry Hoover
Date: September 27, 1982
From: The Chairman and Board of Directors
To: All Brothers of the Struggle!
What's Happening Inside and Out!!! - Special Issue
Fellow brother of the struggle!
Due to the election being right around the corner (in November). Once again we are coming to you extending our Love, Life and Loyalty to all brothers of the struggle. We also hope that some of the information rendered in this Special Issue will benefit you, as an individual and member of this organization.
We want you to be proud of this Organization that you represent. We encourage all our members to relate to their families and friends on the street about our direction and encourage them to VOTE - because, Your Life and their Life is on the line; we must utilize our POWER to VOTE. For us to be a success on the path that we're traveling, Politically, Economically, and Socially, we need our families to support our efforts/direction.
Being a member of this Organization is not being tough, but being intelligent....which will dictate respect. We want our message to reach our younger brothers & sisters on the streets about our direction and concept. We are NOT a GANG. Our Youth is our future. Through communicating with them, you will help us in many ways on the streets. Many of you incarcerated here, are looked up upon by the Youth on the streets. Begin to feed them our New Concept. Show them from your own experiences that cause to you fall into this pit, that this has become a gain in your wit. And show them the seriousness of the VOTE, which will determine their future, as well as yours. Tell them about how THOMPSON is trying to pass a law to convict the youth at the age of (14) as Adults, which will place them under the Class X.
And lastly, remember that COMMUNICATION is what bring forth Knowledge, Wisdom, Understanding, Love, Life and Loyalty. Your Chairman also wants you to know that he do not want anyone thinking that they cannot communicate with him. He wants you to feel free to communicate with him at any time. We are a not a Organization of Big I's or Little you's. Our strivings (struggle) are collective toward the WORLD.
Listed below are the various offices for which candidates will be elected on TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 1982. We encourage you to inform all your family members and friends that are eligible to vote of this information. Ask them to take a friend to stop THOMPSON in this LIFE AND DEATH SITUATION...
Governor and Lieutenant GovernorTreasurer of Cook County
Attorney GeneralAssessor of Cook County
Secretary of StateReg.Supt. of Schools -Cook
ComptrollerCommissioners Bd of Appeals
TreasurerPres., Cook Co. Board
Trustees of the Univ. of Ill.County Commissioners of
Representatives in Congress Cook County
State Senators (ten from Chicago and
Representatives in the seven outside of Chicago)
General AssemblyJudicial Offices and
Commissioners of the Metropolitan Judges seeking retention
Sanitary Dist. of Greater Chgo.
Sheriff of Cook County
County Clerk of Cook Co.
Your Chairman and
Board of Directors
A fascinating memo dated October 28, 1982 from Chairman Larry Hoover to his troops revealed how he saw gangs in Chicago such as Jeff Fort's Black P. Stone Nation (B.P.S.N.) as "experiments" on the Black community carried out by a government counter-intelligence program, presumably he was referring to the FBI's Operation CO-INTEL-PRO. Basically, the memo suggests that gangs disorganize the community. How could the GD members read this and not think that they were a part of another kind of grand experiment of some other sort? It is bizarre, but it is gang history. Figure 30 provides a copy of this memo.
While this Oct. 28, 1982 memo tends to be a put-down on the B.P.S.N., Larry Hoover was not incapable of speaking favorably of the B.P.S.N. when interviewed by a Chicago Sun-Times reporter in 1995. In the 1995 interview Larry Hoover remarked "Black Stones, El Rukns, ex[gang-members], they formed an organization to make a change in the community" (see: Lee Bey, "Inmate Hoover Wields Power on the Outside", Chicago Sun-Times, April 11, 1995, p. 12).
Figure 30: The October 28, 1982 Memo From Chairman Larry Hoover to His Troops
October 28, 1982
To:All Brothers of the Struggle !!!
Fr:The Chairman and Board of Directors
Re:Introduction to Awareness Session Document
Due to Sessions beginning soon !!! All members having received this document. A brief elaboration is being given here concerning this documentation to erase some of the mis-concepts that have been gain from many of our members. Hereby, we hope that you will be motivated to read and study this document in your possession, so that when the sessions begin; you will come in the right frame of mind...
This documentation (so-called experiment) is not merely about or on the B.P.S.N., but a well conceived plan of manipulation and infiltration inside our community. The main objective of this so-called experiment was to create Gangs, (as it stipulates on page 1) and keep us way from the concept of organization. Because as we consolidated, unified, and being a power to reckon with. Their main goal was to bring disorganization among the ranks of our people.
Through these Aware-ness Sessions on this document. We want our entire membership to become aware, educated, and knowledgeable of the effects/defects that plagued our community. This so-called experiment was no more and no less than another phase of the governments counter-intelligence program. It was a part of the same program that caused the suffering of Black People all across the country. This was the local manifestation dealing with Chicago area youths in particular.
Becoming aware of this document will enable us to be more knowledgeable and alert in this giant arena we're in. Awareness will help us to obtain an amount of understanding to cope with our adversary/adversaries as we courageously and wisely step into the oceans of where control, tricknology and power is at. Then if some of us should begin to sink, we can lend a helping hand to bring our fellow brother up. Because without everyone being aware of how our people can so easily be manipulated, our concept of organization can so easily be disrupted by opposing forces - Disorganizers/Organizers. This document is like a map showing us the many directions which can be used to attack us and our objectives.
Through these Awareness Sessions on this document. We hope that our brothers will be able to "SEE" (understand) "WHY" it is necessary for us to plug in upon the new concept of organization with "Discipline", "Unity", "Respect" and "Love" leading our path against these various types of Infiltrators and Manipulators surrounding us. Because AWARENESS is the main key to our SUCCESS here and in the FREE WORLD!!!
Board of Directors
The March 15, 1983 memo from Chairman Hoover to his troops explains that some of the money from dues that flows upward in the organization actually gets used to help some of the less fortunate members. A copy of this memo is provided in Figure 31.
Figure 31: The March 15, 1983 Memo From Chairman Hoover to His Troops
March 15, 1983
To:ALL BROTHERS OF THE STRUGGLE
Fr:THE CHAIRMAN AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Re:WHAT'S HAPPENING INSIDE AND OUT!!!
Our fellow brother,
The Chairman and Board of Directors wish to extend our Love, Life and Loyalty to all the brothers of the struggle. Once again we are coming to you in all sincerity and dedication, hoping that you will be inspired to arise in helping us make this a ORGANIZATION to be reckon with; as we stated from the very beginning of formulating our New Concept.
In previous issues of What's Happening Inside and Out, we have asked our membership to re-read all of the literature that has been passed down to them. We have constantly re-elaborated upon this point, because we want our members to be sincere and proud of the Organization that they are a part of. And this Pride and Sincerity can only be accomplished by each individual member molding himself completely around the concept. This is called: PLUGGING IN! We are a growing Organization. Our objectives and Concerns are many. What you as a individual member of this Organization put in, this is what you get out.
The Leadership is very disenchanted with Lack of Participation of the Membership to the overall growth and development of the Organization. The map of Organization is layed out before you; but you as a member refuse to look up the road at the markings. At a recent Steering Committee Meeting, the number ne problem that each Unit Coordinator spoke upon existing in their particular unit was: "Lack of Participation by the Membership: Members not wanting to Plug In; Members not wanting to get involve in various functions of the unit."
Our brother, we refuse to force or coerce any individual to take a position. We highly encourage all qualified members to step forward, as we stated in the past. But with you or without you, we are going to be successful.
A few of our brothers have been forced to do time in an unfortunate setting. We want our entire membership to know that we haven't and don't forget about these members. Your Leadership on a weekly base, send cigarettes, cosmetics and other commissary items to these members. We're constantly striving to make their time over in this unfortunate setting as easy as possible. There is also an established program for al new members that arrive to receive cigarettes and the necessary cosmetics when they enter their perspective units. The Treasuries are for the benefit of the entire membership. We want all our members to know that they are there for you. Get with your Unit Treasurer and Gallery Treasurers. Ask them about the various programs that are offered to you.
In upcoming issues, we are also going to present an "Honor Roll Sheet", honoring outstanding members in the Organization. Members who have achieved their G.E.D.s, Con-Artistes etc,. We also plan to sponsor many sporting competitive events in upcoming months. With your cooperation and participation, a successful flow of events and programs follow us up the road.
It is also suggested to you to begin to use the Suggestion Box in your unit by simply writing down any suggestions that you may have to help our Organization grow. This is done by merely submitting them to your Unit Coordinator who will ensure delivery to the proper authority.
Board of Directors
The July 1, 1983 memo from Chairman Larry Hoover fits the profile of another "crack the whip" message. Most of his memo's are either of the genre of "cracking the whip" to get members of the gang "in line", or "plugged in" as they like to say; or else the memo's are filled with "feel good" motivational messages. This July 1, 1983 memo is of the "crack the whip" variety. A copy of it is provided in Figure 32.
Figure 32: The July 1, 1983 Memo - Cracking the Whip Again on His Gang.
July 1, 1983
To:ALL BROTHERS OF THE STRUGGLE
Fr:THE CHAIRMAN AND THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Re:WHAT'S HAPPENING INSIDE AND OUT!!!
Fellow brothers of the Struggle,
In this issue of What's Happening Inside and Out, the subject matter which we will be speaking upon is two-fold. The first part will be upon some of the problem areas which many of our members continue to suffer upon, and We, the LEADERSHIP will not continue to tolerate these actions disrupting Organizational Unity. Therefore, by bringing them to the surface, we hope that they will enable you to see yourself. The second part will be upon solutions to these problems.
Problem #1 - LAZINESS - Many of you suffer with this problem, wanting somebody to cater to you, provide for you and give you their all. Our brothers, be it known that this is an enemy to our people and our community. We do not have time to carry you, and we will not cater to your laziness. Organization, which is our concept is a group of people combined together, pushing all together toward the same objective. This is with everybody pushing and pitching in to make things work. You have to stand up to be counted, to move. If you remain seated, that's where you're be; Sitting by the wayside looking... in your seat upon Problem #2.
Problem #2 - SELF HATRED - Hating your fellow brother for getting out of his seat to be somebody. Sitting back with animosity, speaking down upon him for having the initiative to try a task that you refuse to attempt. Feeling that he is conceited, when he doesn't have time to play crazy games with you, but he is trying to be Somebody in this world. Many of our brothers suffer from this mental disease. Be it known that we will not tolerate you down-rating a brother putting forth a effort in this organization, which you refuse to put forth. Our concept teaches you to aid and assist your brother in righteous endeavors. Instead of speaking down upon him, aid him by rendering your assistance to him if needed. This is Organization...
Problem #3 - Disrespect - Our concept teaches us to be respectful and dignified to all, but many of our brothers continue to disregard respect. They feel that for them to be acknowledged by their peers, they must be loud and disrespectful with long Adjectives proceeding out of their mouth like running water. Be it known, that we will not tolerate disrespectful acts and dispositions in this Organization. Your disrespectful acts and dispositions has no place within this organization. It is a must that you respect your fellow brothers and others to avoid unnecessary confrontations. We are not a ignorant wild bunch of radicals, but a Organization upon Intelligence which demands our respect from others. Mold yourself accordingly...
Lastly, Problem #4 - LYING - Many of our brothers feel that by lying, they have gotten over on somebody. They fantasizes lies to cover up the real truth. You feel that once you get away with one lie, you can keep on and on. You feel that you can get away with anything. Our brother, whether you realize it or not, "all the darkness in the world cannot put out the light of one truth". The truth is bigger than a lie, and 99% of the time, it exposes a lie. Be it known that we will not tolerate you lying to us. Many of you lie on insignificant (small) things, and when you get away with it, you feel comfortable and continue to lie. Be yourself, and stand up upon the truth, which is yourself, because you are you, and Nobody else. Be that, so that you may be accepted as you are, and then learn what you can possibly become.
Our brother, we are for you, and not against you, as long as you're following the dictates of the Law. Only when you go outside of these dictates are we against you, because you are then disrupting Organizational Unity, becoming a Out-Law to the Law, and this will not be tolerated.
THERE ARE THREE KINDS OF PEOPLE
1. THOSE WHO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN
2. THOSE WHO WATCH THINGS HAPPEN
3. THOSE WHO WONDER WHAT HAPPENED
THIS IS WHAT'S HAPPENING!!!!
YOUR CHAIRMAN AND THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The July 1, 1983 memo to the GDs was one that was generated from middle-management, signalling the fact that the "memo's" had now proliferated to the point that these were becoming a burgeoning body of written and codified policy making materials for the gang. This particular memo deals with GD's teaching GD's, i.e., an educational program for the GD membership. But it is actually not about getting GD's GED's or something, it is really a continuing effort to indoctrinate the GD troops in the written code and written materials of the GD gang. It is another initiative to get the GD's all on the same page: internal gang training for the membership. Figure 33 provides a copy of this memo.
Figure 33: The July 1, 1983 Memo Establishing an Internal Education Program for the GD Membership.
JULY 1, 1983
TO: ALL BROTHERS OF THE STRUGGLE
FR: ALL UNIT HEAD INSTRUCTORS, ASS'T INSTRUCTORS AND STAFF
RE: SELF MOTIVATION AND SCHOOL STUDY EVALUATION
Fellow Brothers of the Struggle,
The Educational program consist of Teachers administering to the needs of the entire membership, in regards to members having problems; and those who would like to have a broader understanding of the OBJECTIVES of the Organization. This is done through members exchanging thoughts in group sessions, discussing the Organization's literature more indepth with other members, under the guidance of a Teacher. The general academic aspect of our Educational Program entails; reading, comprehending, spelling, math, science, political science, economics, social science, history, etc... Basically, we try to provide all of the basic areas of education essential to a society of people, such as ourselves, who understand the value of education in reference to progress and achievement of a Organization.
As you should be aware of by now, we're going to be dealing with the world on an intellectual level; and to make our NEW CONCEPT of Organization a reality within ourselves, it's going to be essential that we present ourselves intelligently to the world. This entails "Education"!!! It has been noted that some of our members have problems climbing up the Ladder of Knowledge and Understanding, because of us missing some of the basic tools that are needed in order to arrive at a level of intelligence sufficient to compete in the realities of this highly competitive society we live in.
We want you to know that the whole purpose of our School program is geared toward brothers helping each other in the different areas that we may have problems; in education as well as other areas.
It is our sincerest hope that through your participation in these programs provided for you; with each of us working together. The rewards will be the kind to keep us moving in the right direction; inspiring our fellow members to get involved in the various programs and activities that our LEADERSHIP is offering us. Programs and Activities designed to be beneficial to us as INDIVIDUALS as well as within the framework of ORGANIZATIONAL united strength, if we take advantage of these positive programs.
Our aim is "Seeking True Strength and Solidification" as "A Strong People" organization that can be a Power to be Reckon With; that can be instrumental in helping achieve the strength and solidification of an over-all community of the brotherhood of Man. And to do this, we acknowledge that we must become truly Men (Minds).
SUPPORT YOUR EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM, AND IT MOST CERTAINLY WILL SUPPORT YOU....
Your Units Head Instructors
Ass't Instructors and Staff
The July 23, 1983 memo from Larry Hoover to his troops signals training the rank and file in terms of resistance to gang intelligence gathering agencies such as the Illinois State Police, State's Attorney's, and others who may have cause to investigate their gang. This is the famous parable of "The Duck". Figure 34 provides copy of this memorandum.
The July 23, 1983 Memo From Larry Hoover to His Troops: The Duck Parable
July 23, 1983
TO : ALL BROTHERS OF THE STRUGGLE
FROM : THE CHAIRMAN AND THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
RE : MIRANDA WARNINGS
FELLOW BROTHERS OF THE STRUGGLE:
"Nothing hurts a duck, but its Bill (MOUTH)". The leadership is sure that you all are familiar with this old and truthful saying, because if any one of you have ever had the opportunity to go on a hunting trip (in the free world) before being locked up, then you know full well that if the duck had kept his mouth shut, instead of quacking, he wouldn't have given his position away, and naturally, wouldn't have been our dinner.
This comparison with the duck, our Brothers, is used to stress home to everyone the value and importance of keeping your mouths shut, especially when you are confronted by investigators for the D.O.C., police, Counselors, med techs, even the ministers and others.
As you are all aware, situations occur where it may be necessary to take care off organizational business. Naturally it should be understood that there will be steps taken by D.O.C. messengers to find out who, and how the business was taken care of.
In cases where nation business has been taken care of the smooth way, without a large mass of people actually seeing what has taken place, but even then there are people around in the immediate area, and naturally you should know that there will be a general round up of everyone in the vicinity.
Let's recount these steps very briefly, because they are very important. First some business is taken care of. Second, some one saw what happened and gave your names, cellhouse, etc, or, no one saw what occurred, but due to the amount of people in the vicinity at the time of discovery, everyone is detained and checked out.
Third, Whether your name was given by a notorious messenger, or you are being checked out by a group of investigators, state police, state's attorney, etc, due to the fact the group you're in at the time (recreational period etc), is being questioned etc. The main question is "How do you handle yourself at this time?" What will be your reaction while you and maybe two, three, four, or more (B.O.S.) are being singled out as the persons who allegedly took care of the business, what would you say to these investigators who you know are trying to pin something on you with hopes of getting you the electric chair?
If, for whatever reason, you said you would talk to them in any way, (regardless of the exchange of words) you have just made the biggest mistake of your life, why? Because you are not, or were not to say anything at all to them. Let us explain further, here is the situation, the police, investigators, etc, don't have enough information to go on that would give them a better than average chance to obtain a conviction. The only hold they have is that they can make you convict yourself by breaking, thus implicating others, and making confessions, etc. Say for instance that those of you being charged or investigated, were separated from one another and placed in different rooms, or different joints so you couldn't communicate with each other to find out what the other is saying or has said so far.
While you are in separate rooms, by yourselves or awhile, in comes two, three or more investigators with a pen, pad or tape recorder. One of them offers a cigarette, coffee, food, or whatever, you accept it, or you Don't, its up to you. If, however, you take their offerings, then you have implicated by your acceptance that the possibility of you breaking is very great, because not everyone has the strong will to reject their offerings and turn around and say, "Go to hell", or "I have nothing to say".
Before any questions have been asked, you were supposed to have been given or read your rights, formerly known as the Miranda Warnings.
These warnings comes from a 1966 case, (Miranda vs. Arizona), Under these warnings you must be informed of the following:
1. You have the right to remain silent under the due process of law, 5th and 14th Amendments, and that anything you say can and will be held against you in a Court of Law.
2. You have the right to have a lawyer present and to consult with a lawyer during questioning. If you cannot afford one, a lawyer will be supplied by the government.
3. You are entitled to make one free telephone call so don't waste it, contact a lawyer or somebody who can obtain one for you.
While this is going on and afterwards, it is extremely important that you don't sign anything, papers, etc., without the advise of your lawyer.
Our Brothers, all of the above must be remembered, as well as, al that you say, if you made a statement or statements to the investigators in the presence of others, but did not sign it, it may still be used against you, so it is best to just remain silent, its as simple as that.
The investigators, police, state's attorney, etc, use a number of techniques to get a person to tell on himself and implicate others.
That which seems natural our brothers, is often times unnatural, let us explain. Say for instance you were on your way to take care of some business and the cop stopped you, asking you for your pass but you don't have one and he tell you to return to your cellhouse, then somebody, member, non-member etc, came passing by you and the cop, but the cop said nothing to them as he had you, and you blurt out to the cop "you let them go by, why did you stop me", and he call them back and ask for a pass, but the don't have one. This may appear to be a natural question, but, what you have done is told on someone and kept them from taking care of their business because of your big MOUTH.
This is called dry snitching and will not be tolerated from anyone, what one do reflects on the whole which you all know. To say that you let so and so do this or that, or they are doing this why can't we do it, seems a natural question to ask the authorities. But it clearly is not and cannot be justified, and most certainly will not be tolerated.
YOUR CHAIRMAN AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The September 17, 1983 memo from a lower middle-management functionary in the GD gang shows that the infrastructure at the institutional level itself was predisposed to issuing "memo's" to the local troops. An "institutional coordinator" is a GD member in leadership who has responsibility for the affairs of the gang in one specific correctional institution. An "assistant institutional coordinator" works under this GD leader. In Figure 35, we see how one chapter of the GDs deal with internal strife.
Figure 35: The September 17, 1983 Memo From The Assistant Institutional Coordinator to the GD's In One Illinois Prison
Date:September 17, 1983
From:THE ASS'T INSTITUTIONAL COORDINATOR
TO:ALL BROTHERS OF THE STRUGGLE!!!
Fellow brothers of the struggle:
It has been two (2) years since the teaching of the new concept began. One of the issues that the new concept focus upon over this two year span was "NEGATIVE THINKING". In spite of those teachings, there seem to be a syndrome of negative thinking amongst the rank and file. Here this problem will be elaborated on, and from this point on; these slurs will no longer be tolerated.
There are those of you who sit around constantly in your buddies cell; downrating everyone else. Saying things like: "that person is faking", "I don't associate with half the guys who profess to be a part of this organization", "If certain people weren't here, that guy might be this or that".
That way of thinking is bad for this organization as a whole; and if you sincerely believe that everyone is "Faking", except for you, then do yourself a big favor and remove yourself from the ranks and file of this organization. It is impossible for you to constantly downrate everything and everybody, and still profess to be a true brother of the struggle!
Our brother, instead of always tripping on the few negative aspects of the organization, let's trip on the positive side. Let's talk about the tremendous progress that has been made over the last two (2) years. Let's talk about all the good (reliable) brothers that are working day and night to keep this organization moving.
The governing body realizes that there are those who have no business amongst our ranks; and eventually these few will be weeded out. You can help speed up this process. If you see a brother or know of a brother who's faking; don't sit around in your buddies cell talking about it; because you will give the impression that it is a rule rather than the exception for the organization to harbor brothers of this character. Instead, bring the matter along with your evidence/reasons (rumors not included) to the attention of the proper authority.
The brothers of the struggle! are like a team, and without confidence in ourselves we can't win. Let's stop concentrating on the few who's not, and start concentrating on the countless brothers who are!!! We must start congratulating each other and pepping each other up.
One of the main reasons that the U.S.A. lost the war in Viet Nam was that the morale of the soldiers was low. Morale is the issue (confidence). This point is stressing that, "We can't win unless we believe in each other". There are a lot of god brothers who believe in the organization and who give their all, just as you will. Let's start acknowledging that fact.
In closing, the next time you are somewhere and you hear a member talking about how much everybody is faking, and that he only associate with a chosen few; suggest t him thta if he truly believes what he's saying, "It would be appropriate for him to excommunicate himself from he organization, because in all reality, he's the one that's faking".
We must think more positive thoughts and believe in one another; and when it's necessary, we'll be able to rally and overcome whatever situation we are faced with......This is ORGANIZATION....
Perhaps the most important "milestone" in 1983 for the GDs was that this was the year that Larry Hoover would become eligible for parole. He would appear before the parole board 13 times, being rejected for parole each time, before he would eventually enter the federal prison system as a result of the federal prosecution against the GDs.
The August 23, 1984 memo from Chairman Larry Hoover established a "new annual dues system" for the GDs. The memo explains to the troops that the money will be used to catapult the gang into economic power, and to support their "righteous endeavorments (sic)". A copy of this memo is provided in Figure 36. It is also quite practical for a gang: many gangs like the Latin Kings beat their members when they cannot come up with their monthly "dues". The GDs had their equal share of free-riders claiming they did not have the money to pay dues on a monthly basis. But a "yearly" amount would avoid monthly beatings, and perhaps accumulate in the case of deadbeats so that the members would have to "work off" their dues debt to the gang.
Figure 36: The August 23, 1984 Memo From Chairman Hoover Establishing a New Annual Dues System for the GDs
DATE:August 23, 1984
To:ALL BROTHERS OF THE STRUGGLE
Fr:The CHAIRMAN and BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Re:NEW ANNUAL DUES SYSTEM
We, the Governing body have decided to establish a new annual, instead of monthly system of payment. This system is designed to show and mold us into that "POWER" to be reckon with, as stated in the Organizational Preface of the First Resurrection. Our purpose is to show the overall consolidation of everyone's responsibility toward helping each other in the righteous endeavorments toward the preservation of our unique concept under the leadership of our Honorable Chairman.
History has shown us that in every society, where a nation, an organization, or any collective group of people are united together for one common cause. Their integrity is measured on one hand; by the capacity of their physical strength of the battles and struggles they've won, which have proven to be of great significant toward their survival; however, on the other hand - there lies the REALITY of the world such as ours; whereupon integrity is foremost measured by the wealth that one has to put into effect their organizational goals, ideas, and purposes. For an Organization to grow and sustain itself; capital is of utmost importance. The Organization must be able to have purchasing power! This is the only way to attain: tools, raw materials, goods, services, properties and a long list of other resources that are essential for us to have; in order to pursue our organizational objectives and goals. For if we would just reflect back for a moment; and contrast our old concept with our NEW CONCEPT - Past experiences will be a motivating force/factor to keep our minds focus upon the REALITY that this is the only way. WE MUST RESURRECT AND RISE UP TOGETHER IN PREPARATION FOR THE POLITICAL AND ECONOMICAL REALITIES OF AMERICA.
Just as all armies, all businesses, and all other groups of people united together for whatever purposes; they must have purchasing power to be able to buy the equipment and supplies needed to aid them in their struggles for success. So it's an absolute must that our organization begin to establish an economic base. Churches, Businesses, Boy Scouts and even Social Groups have some form of a financial foundation. In order for our organization to elevate, expand and even exist; it's imperative that we too - NOW - start ours........
Establishing an economic base will enable us to purchase, build and perpetuate the financial power we need to start our objectives enroute to our organizational goals. These goals are integrated into the goals of every individual in our PROUD and GLORIOUS ORGANIZATION. We are a SPECIAL group of people and can be a SUCCESS with everyone contributing to our cause. The growth of our organization and unique design is a contribution; not only to the organization, but to individual's personal growth as well. PRODUCTIVE organizations produce PRODUCTIVE PEOPLE. It is thereby important that we represent and reflect each other righteously. The Governing body has decided to begin initiating the developmental stages of our economic base. The implementation of our "Annual Dues System" will be the catalyst (springboard). This system will help us to collectively acquire the necessary capital for economic growth.
We, the Governing body have the concerns of all our people at heart, and we want to see all of us progress and not regress. The NEW CONCEPT is the guiding light that should NOW be well lit in all our hearts and minds; FOR IT IS LIGHTEN TO KEEP US ON THE BRIGHT SKYWAYS TOWARD SUCCESS AND OFF THOSE DARK ROADS OF REGRESS!!! To become a POWER to be reckon with, it takes the wholehearted consolidation of all of us; PUSHING AND PLUGGING into the organization's causes, under the leadership and direction of our HONORABLE CHAIRMAN, whom all praise and honor is due......
AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The "organizational preface" referred to in the memo in Figure 36 is a lengthy document, thus, for the sake of brevity, some of the basic and most important materials from this larger collection are provided in Appendix C of this textbook.
The September 5, 1984 memo from the Board of Directors specified that all GDs were to try and help get Larry Hoover, their esteemed Chairman, released from prison. It would be the basis for later efforts that nearly succeeded in gaining Larry Hoover a parole. We say "nearly succeeded" in a theoretical way, because if Larry Hoover had perhaps not tried to make himself out to be a political hero of some king, and had used a more subdued approach to appearing before the parole board, he might have gotten out given the kind of "letters" and endorsements he was capable of generating for himself. A copy of this memo is provided in Figure 37.
Figure 37: The September 5, 1984 Memo Demanding That All GDs Get Involved in Trying to Get Their Leader Larry Hoover Released.
Date:September 5, 1984
To:ALL BROTHERS OF THE STRUGGLE!!!
Re:THE CALL ! ! !
Fr:THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Our fellow brothers of the Struggle, this letter is by the Board of Directors on our Honorable Chairman, whom all praise and honor is due. As his Greatness is realized by us, this same realization must flow through the chambers of your Mind, Body and Soul as we move into this Reckoning Power under the dictates and guidance of this GREAT MAN.
History has shown us that Great Leaders inspire their followers, causing them to strive towards greatness. Our Chairman is a Great Man, a Great Leader; and like most men of greatness - He is fair, but firm; Wise, but tolerant of lesser men; He gives his all, but like most leaders, he does not ask for the many things that his most loyal want to give him. He does not ask for what in fact, he has coming. He is held accountable for our actions, but he never mentions it. If he was not; who he is - He would have long ago been free. Instead, he is held in Prison, because his FIRST loyalty is to us - THE B.O.S., and Everyone knows the Powers that behold him for fear that without his leadership, we would turn into a group of Gangbangers in every prison in this state. Without him, they fear that there would be a constant bloodbath, so in fact; Our beloved Chairman is being held here because he is the MAN; He is the number one #1 Brother of the Struggle.
The time has come that we work, fight, consolidate our efforts, pay and demand his release. The time has come for us to frankly get him out of here. The time has come for us to prove to him that our Loyalty, Faith and Love for him is, as great as his for us. He has proven his - He has been framed for us; He faced the Chair for us; An attempt was made on his life for us; He has gone to his pocket, his heart and his mind for us; and He has never weakened. He has suffered in strong silence, and we repeat - The TIME has come for us to prove we are, were and will remain worthy of what he has done for us.
We, the Board Members now demand that he must be freed at all cost, and we are assured that all B.O.S. feel the same - not out of fear, but out of Love, Respect and our Need to have him out on the streets to lead us further; to show the world what our Honorable Chairman is to us, to himself and to this world.
This letter is a call to all B.O.S. to plug in, so we can have our Leader out. The time has come for us all to show him that his hardships, his leadership, his teachings and his Love for us has not been in vain/wasted. The line for Volunteers to aid the Chairman starts at the bottom of all true B.O.S. hearts and ends when we die. There is no need to say more, the time has come for us to open the door; let's all show "OUR" beloved Chairman how much we love him!
IN PRAISE AND HONOR
TO HIM FROM US TO YOU!!!
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Sept. 7, 1987 memo from Chairman Larry Hoover to his troops was a kind of lesson in gang etiquette, urging members to keep their word, i.e, "my word is my bond". A copy of this memo is provided in Figure 38. The most important event that occurred in 1987 was that Larry Hoover was transferred out of maximum security status to the minimum security status of the Vienna Correctional Facility, located far in downstate Vienna, Illinois.
Thus, the year 1987 figures prominently in the developmental lifespan of the GD gang for a number of reasons. Mostly, the relaxed security environment of the Vienna Correctional Institution, having no bars, no walls, etc, afforded Larry Hoover greater opportunities to "reach out" through visitors, through unlimited phone access, etc, to the outside world. This direct contact would include, it would be later alleged in the 1995 federal indictments against him and his gang, proselytizing underage juveniles to commit crimes in furtherance of the gang's continuing criminal enterprise.
Figure 38: The Sept. 7, 1987 Memo to the GD Troops: A Message of Gang Etiquette (My Word is My Bond)
DATE: SEPTEMBER 7, 1987
TO: THE BROTHERS OF THE STRUGGLE
FROM: THE CHAIRMAN AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS
SUBJECT: WORDS OF WISDOM
MY WORD-MY BOND
When someone says, Yes I will, No I won't, I do, yes or no, this person is usually giving his/her word to a particular someone or something. When someone gives their word, they are giving up something of value, something personal or important to them. They are in essence saying, "you can hold me to that or I commit myself to that particular someone or something". A person lives their word to show that they can be trusted.
When a person commits themselves, for example, to a baseball team, job, school, a particular organization or group of people, you are saying you will not default on this. If a person defaults on his word they are usually ashamed, embarrassed or looked down upon.
No responsible individual with self respect will allow upon himself this type of degradation and humiliation. So a person of dignity will be aware, and take the initiative to guard himself and say, "Is my word my bond? Can I be relied upon and trusted?". Do you give you all (100%) to your commitments? If you do, then its because of your dignity and loyalty to yourself and your cause.
Always be sincere when giving your word, be a person to yourself and one that can be relied upon and trusted.
"Always be the type of individual whom people can look upon and say, there goes a person you can count on.".
Make your word, your bond.
The Chairman and the Board of Directors
In 1989, then Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections, Michael Lane, publishes a report about gangs in prison, suggesting quite critically that some Illinois prisons today are "defacto gang administered"; this story appears in Corrections Today, the official publication of the American Correctional Association. It would signal the change in the regime, and the end of Lane's involvement in state government; he would eventually retire to operate a restaurant in Springfield. His candor in trying to explain the growing gang menace behind bars basically cost him his job and his career, even though he was "eased" out of the management of the prison system, and into another high level state job before leaving state government completely.
Some of the negative press coverage of IDOC Director Lane involved his use of an IDOC or state-owned air plane; there were reports that the plan had landed at a runway or airstrip at the minimum security correctional institution in Vienna, Illinois.
One high ranking gang informant would later claim that Lane was seen walking with Larry Hoover in the grounds of the Vienna facility, perhaps consulting with him. This and other claims of being "co-opted" by Larry have never been verified.
In 1989 a Latin King gang member named David Starks ambushes and assassinates IDOC correctional officer Lawrence Kush; Kush was on the gang's hit list. Gang tension heats up inside the Illinois Department of Corrections. It also generates a large reservoir of anger among correctional officers working the line about administrative policies that "allow" or "overlook" certain gang behaviors that are threatening to the work of a correctional officer.
The other very significant event that occurs in 1989, having great future impact, is that this was also the year that the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois started a long-term investigation of the GDs. This federal task force would eventually culminate on August 31, 1995 with the indictment of Larry Hoover and 38 other top GD gang leaders. This federal task force included state, local, county and federal investigators.
The July 20, 1991 memorandum from the Board of Directors gives 19 detailed suggestions to the GD membership on how they can help strengthen their gang organization. A copy of this memo is provided in Figure 39.
Figure 39: The July 20, 1991 memorandum from the GD Board of Directors to the GD Troops on How to Strengthen Their Gang Organization.
TO:ALL BROTHERS OF THE STRUGGLE
FR:BOARD OF DIRECTORS
DT:JULY 20, 1991
RE: PLAN OF ACTION
"HOW TO STRENGTHEN OUR ORGANIZATION"
What can I do to put new life into our organization? This is a question countless of thousands of us are asking. Groups or associations are in constant need for renewal from within. This applies whether they be civic, religious, educational, business, labor, political, fraternal or any other type of organization.
It is up to thousands of rank and file members to realize that the continued renewal of our organization is the business of each and everyone of us. These considerations may enable you to do your part:
1) ATTEND MEETINGS REGULARLY. Make it a matter of principle to attend meetings regularly. You can't participate unless you are physically present. Be more than just one of the folks. If you think an organization is worth joining, then it deserves your personal, intelligent, active and continuing support. Don't stay away from meetings because they are not ran the way you think they should be. Strive to improve them and encourage them, and encourage others to do the same. Remember you have no right to complain about the nations business, if you don't attend meetings.
2) KEEP IN MIND THE PURPOSE OF OUR ORGANIZATION. Any organization can lose sight of it's objectives and drift into side issues. So occasionally review the concept and laws, as well as the operating procedures for the nation, (i.e., policies, past/present decisions made by the leadership, etc.). Also, encourage others to do the same, as well as stick to the goals of the "BLACK GANGSTER DISCIPLE NATION". If the goals of the nation appear outdated, make steps to up-date them.
3) LIVE UP TO THE DUTIES OF MEMBERSHIP. These are the marks of a real G.D.:
a. He/she willingly fulfills the responsibilities that goes with his/her rights.
b. He/she knows that what he/she does or leaves undone helps or hurts everyone.
c. He/she realize the limitations of a G.D., but does what is reasonably expected of him/her.
d. He/she opens their ears to listen, as well as their mouths to speak.
4) SHOW A PERSONAL INTEREST. Nation business can become quite cold and impersonal unless all brothers of the struggle go out of their way to inject a personal note to everything they do. Try to be in harmony instead of being distant or hostile. Blend gentleness with firmness when you must take a stand. Respect the viewpoint and feelings of others no matter how much you may differ.
5) THINK FOR YOURSELF. It takes effort to be a thinker instead of a yes man. Unless you take some initiative you may be depriving yourself, as well as others of the benefits of the knowledge you secretly possess. Study the various aspects of issues so that you can make a judgement on your own. Base your views on reasons, principles, personalities and on the common good; not emotions or narrow partisanship.
6) DEVELOP YOUR ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE. More than one organization has been saved from an embarrassing decision by the voice of a lone individual who stood up and made his voice heard. Know what you are talking about in the first place. Unlock your own powers of leadership and everyone will profit.
7) MOST IMPORTANT, DEVELOP AND PROMOTE A SPIRIT OF TOGETHERNESS. Our nation has been crippled by the lack of leadership, as well as members forming uncooperative or hostile cliques. There is always hope! Even one person, by fair mindness and objectivity can bridge the gap between opposing sides. The "Chairman" will truly bless you if you have any hand in bringing this nation back together again and upholding the laws of the "BLACK GANGSTER DISCIPLE NATION".
8) SEEK THE BEST INTEREST OF EVERYONE. This is a double barreled point.
a. It means ensuring that all members and not just a few share the benefits of the nation; and
b. It involves taking into account the interest of the nation at large, and not just a few of the folks.
9) ACT WISE AT ALL TIMES. When misunderstandings arise, as well as disputes and clashes. You can help by trying to reach a peaceful accord. You may not completely succeed simply because talking about it isn't always the solution to the problem.
10) GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE. Many "Brothers of the Struggle" are annoying "Credit Grabbers", who are the first in line when it comes to taking a bow. On the otherhand, nowhere to be found when responsibility must be shared. If you are truly concerned with the continued success of the nation. Regardless of who gets the praise, you will be giving no small service to the nation. Don't hesitate to praise a fellow member for a job well done. Your continuing effort to give praise will make this organization that much stronger and work that much smoother.
11) PREVENT SENSELESS MEETINGS. Whenever a meeting is to take place. Help keep things moving by making a clear distinction between essentials and nonessentials because of time limitations. Only matters of importance; practical and relevant should be proposed. Persuade capable people to seek positions. Point out to individuals with the capacity and motivation what great good they could do the nation by serving in positions of leadership. Find out before hand their qualifications and act on the basis of such qualifications; not personal loyalty or selfish advantages.
12) GIVE YOUR LEADERS RESPECT AND COOPERATION. Even if someone is calling shots whom you don't personally like. They represent you, as well as the "BLACK GANGSTER DISCIPLE NATION". They should receive the support you would expect if you were in that position.
13) OFFER CONSTRUCTIVE SUGGESTIONS. Don't tell them only what you think they want to hear. On the other hand, don't keep bringing up senseless complaints. Speak well of your leaders to outsiders. If you don't have nothing good to say about your leaders. Either shut up or refrain from needlessly publicizing any defects.
14) DON'T DODGE ISSUES THAT "MUST" BE DEALT WITH. The success of the Black Gangster Disciple Nation depends largely on the "Behind The Scene" plays of folks who never or seldom get recognition or acclaim. Your rights as a member of the Black Gangster Disciple Nation imply many responsibilities. Instead of seeking missions/responsibilities you like. You will accept those however distasteful, which are essential for the good running of the Black Gangster Disciple Nation. Small jobs well done will prepare you for bigger ones! The folks who are chosen for a mission/responsibility whose response is "why me"? Seldom or never get chosen for positions of responsibilities of greater opportunity. "HE WHO IS VERY FAITHFUL IN A VERY LITTLE, IS FAITHFUL ALSO IN MUCH"!!!
15) ENCOURAGE, DON'T DISCOURAGE. A "Wet Blanket" is defined as, a person or thing that quenches or dampens enthusiasm, pleasure or the likes. Wet blankets are quick to complain about a situation but are slow to do anything about it. They are more interested in fault finding, than fact finding. They are accustomed to speaking of the nation as "THEY" (i.e., Them people), instead of "WE". Anyone in that frame of mind is not needed in or around the Black Gangster Disciple Nation. Be more anxious to improve this powerful nation. Also, concerned with winning cooperation, than winning arguments.
16) BACK UP WORDS WITH ACTION. It has become the complete delusion of this nation to jump to the conclusion that because we have talked about a problem, we have rarely solved it. Discussions are needed to reach mature decisions but resolutions should be translated into performance.
17) KEEP EXPENSES UNDER CONTROL. Many organizations have had to close shop or severely curtail it's activities because of mismanagement of funds. Those who pay dues have a right to a strict accounting of the use of monies. If you take care of finances. The finances will take care of you.
18) WE MUST KEEP LONG RANGE GOALS IN MIND. Many organizations die because they let themselves get caught up in a mass of details and fail to lay long range plans for the future. The "Chairman" intuitively foresaw this and set goals for the Black Gangster Disciple Nation to reach. Unfortunately, our beloved "Chairman" is engaged in a battle for his life. A battle we must all help him win. For against the oppressor alone; you cannot win! In spite of this battle, we are still strong. But lately, in the midst of our crisis. Folks are beginning to ask, "Where are we headed"? "Is the nation fulfilling it's purpose"? "Do new conditions require a new change of directions"? "Do present methods meet current and future needs"? The answer to those questions are yes, and no! Just because the "Chairman" isn't physically present doesn't mean we can't move forward!
19) PERSEVERE AMIDST SHORTCOMINGS AND DIFFICULTIES. If we are working for high goals. Then, they are worth suffering for. Stay in the thick of things until the very end. Expect frustrations and difficulties. You won't be disappointed! Be ready to start and start again. The "Chairman" will bless you if you keep striving to strengthen the nation. Despite, misunderstanding or ingratitudes; Your willingness to keep going will strengthen both you and the "ALMIGHTY BLACK GANGSTER DISCIPLE NATION".
LOVE TO YOU ALL!
In October-November, 1992 the Chicago official "gang truce" button began appearing and was worn by many of the gang members whose gangs were signed parties to this truce. It was produced by the GDs through their "United in Peace" front group.
The "gang truce" button has the slogan "UNITED IN PEACE" with two hands (a left hand and a right hand) clasping, along with ten gang "logos" or symbols --- all in black on a white round background.
The logo symbols for the following gangs appear on this "gang truce" button: Vice Lords, New El Rukns (seven in circle), Black P Stone Nation, Cobras, El Rukns, Four Corner Hustlers (+ sign, 440), Black Disciples, Black Gangster Disciples, and Black Gangsters.
This alliance of Black gangs arose in the aftermath of the sniper killing of a child in Cabrini-Green and the public uproar it caused. The pressure was put on the gangs. Political activists took advantage of the situation to "bring the gangs together". In this fashion, a tentative alliance was formed between rival gangs; giving them greater legitimacy and recognition in the mass media. In 1992, the B.O.S. was clearly operating as effectively in Cook County Jail as it operated inside Illinois prisons. Thus, the modern gang member inmate has several codes of conduct to obey: that of the jail system itself and the "official rules and regulations", and the rules imposed by the gang --- the latter probably being the rules that get obeyed more often. Consider the following handwritten memo from the Brothers of the Struggle (BOS), an actual example, from Cook County Jail:
FROM: 4ou C.O.S.
TO: Decks C.O.S.
Greetings my 7/4 brothers, this memo is to inform you that there will be no head to toe violations given out unless you are given word from 2ft C.O.S. or BLD. C.O.S.. Anyone who goes against this will be bogus and violated on spot. Also all C.O.S. are to attend church on Sundays if not they are subject to disciplinary Actions. Pass word to your decks that all B.O.S. are to lace their right shoe by missing the bottom 2 holes. Example (||:) This is so that we can identify each other. Brother security is to be on the entire yard; rec. when ever called. I leave as I came with plenty much love.
Important - all reports are to be in code, all minor and major incidents must be in report.
In the vision of our great leader and through his vision, we can become a more reckoning power of people beyond boundaries without measures.
As seen in the above B.O.S. memo, an elementary code is used: 1=a,2=b,3=c, etc. Thus the expression 7/4 means "G.D.". The expression "2-15-19" means "B.O.S.". The B.O.S. includes G.D.'s (Gangster Disciples), and B.D.'s (Black Disciples), and naturally, Black Gangster Disciples. It's Honorable Chairman of the Board is "King" Larry Hoover. "C.O.S." means chief of security. For additional information on GD's in the jail setting see: American Jails magazine (January/February, 1993, "Gang Organization in a Large Urban Jail", by George W. Knox).
In 1993 the first major efforts to win a parole release for Larry Hoover began. Larry's strategy would be infantile and would ultimately mean his complete downfall (i.e., a federal life sentence and transfer to the most secure prison in America). The strategy conceived by Larry Hoover was to make it appear he had the power to "turn his gang into something good" (i.e., Growth and Development). Thus, he initiate a political-action campaign at the same time: the plan - to make Larry look like he would be an asset to the community, he would reduce gang crime and gang violence if only the Illinois prison system would grant him a parole.
The official records for Larry Hoover's 1993 parole hearing were FOI'd through this journal, allowing access to the letters that became a part of a historical public record. It is useful to summarize some of these and provide examples.
First, there was a large scale "petition" drive as part of the 1993 parole bid for Larry Hoover. Printed on the front of each petition was an endorsement and a statement about Larry Hoover. Figure 40 provides a copy of this important historical document. Approximately 5,000 signatures were on the petition to free Larry Hoover.
Figure 40: A Copy of the Cover Sheet for the 1995 Petition Drive to Get Larry Hoover a Parole.
PETITION TO PAROLE LARRY HOOVER
We the undersigned do hereby acknowledge, agree and thereby join with Prince Asiel Ben Isreal, Co-Chairman, Target Hope--Crime and Violence Committee; Wallace "Gator" Bradley, International Spokesman, United in Peace Organization; Earl King, CEO and Founder, No Dope Express Foundation; Pat Hogan, Director, Community Affairs, 21st Century V.O.T.E.; Howard Saffold of PACT; Rev. Harold Bailey, Director and Founder, Probation Challenge; Diana L. Arnold, Proprietor, Absolute Secretarial Services and Graphics Design Layout, Inc; Rev. Helen Sinclair, Ma Houston Prison Outpost; Janette Wilson, Executive Director, Operation PUSH; Margaret Burrells, DuSable Museum; Sid Finley, Executive Director, NAACP (Chicago); Former Mayor Eugene Sawyer; Gary Gardner, President, Soft Sheen Products; Joe Gardner, Commissioner, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District; Alderman Allan Streeter, 17th Ward; Alderman Shirley Coleman, 16th Ward; Alderman Virgil Jones, 15th Ward; Pastor T.L. Barrett, Jr., Founder, Life Center Church of Universal Awareness; Hal Baskin, Executive Director, P.E.A.C.E. Organization; and Virgil Martin, Honor Student, Fenger High School.
We hereby, individually and collectively, do believe, as evidence of his present actions, Larry Hoover, to be rehabilitated and of sound mind and judgement, and as such, an asset to the communities-at-large in the capacity of a prime component in the institution, maintenance and subsequent longevity of the existing United in Peace Coalition Nations' Truce that currently attributes to the continuous, dramatic drop in the percentage of violent crimes and homicides in the African-American communities from Chicago to Peoria and throughout the State of Illinois.
We hereby, individually and collectively, do ask Governor Jim Edgar and the Illinois Prisoner Review Board and its Chairman to grant Larry Hoover parole.
Some of the letters written to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board were on official government stationary. Some of these contain language of significance to this historical sketch. One of these was written by Alderman Allan Streeter who would a few years later be convicted in Operation Silver Shovel, a probe of corruption among Chicago alderman. Now former alderman Streeter's letter is provided in Figure 41.
Figure 41: Letter on City of Chicago Stationary From Alderman Allan Streeter on Behalf of Paroling Larry Hoover.
June 15, 1993
Mr. James Williams, Chairman
Illinois Prisoner Review Board
319 East Madison
Springfield, IL 62701
Re: Larry Hoover, C01829, Vienna Correctional Center
Dear Mr. Williams:
I am writing to you as a concerned citizen to support the release of Mr. Larry Hoover who has demonstrated a sincere desire and effort in working for the improvement of the African American Community.
For example, Mr. Hoover was one of the first to sign the Peace Treaty to stop the killings in the African American Community, which has been very successful. Also Mr. Hoover has been very instrumental in working for the capture of the Chatham Community Rapist and working to assist in the apprehension of a serial killer in the Chatham area.
I strongly urge you as Chairman of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board to use your legal and executive powers to work for the release of this servant of the community.
Thank you in advance for your consideration and prompt attention to this matter.
Alderman, 17th Ward
Another alderman would write a letter on behalf of Larry's parole, and also face the same fate from the Operation Silver Shovel investigation: Alderman Virgil E. Jones. Alderman Jones was later convicted of taking $7,000 in bribes. Virgil Jones had been quoted in the Chicago Tribune "I'm not ready to say that Larry Hoover is such a bad man, I'm not sure Al Capone was such a bad person either" (See: Neal Pollack, "The Gang That Could Go Straight", Reader: Chicago's Free Weekly, Jan. 27, 1995, p. 16). Alderman Jones' letter is transcribed in Figure 42.
Figure 42: Transcription of the Letter on Official Chicago City Hall Stationary from Alderman Virgil Jones in Support of Larry Hoover's Parole.
June 17, 1993
Mr. James Williams, Chairman
Illinois Prisoner Review Board
319 East Madison
Springfield, IL 62701
Re: Larry Hoover C01829
Vienna Correctional Center
Dear Mr. William:
I am writing this letter to support the release of Larry Hoover who is an inmate in the Illinois Penal System. I feel that after two decades in the Illinois Penal System Larry Hoover has shown that he understands what it means to be a productive member of society.
Larry Hoover has shown that he can be a positive role model for youngmen and women in the African American Community.
I recall recently in my ward 250 young men and women used brooms, rakes and shovels and cleaned up a whole mile square area because Larry Hoover said they must not destroyers (sic). This kind of resolve shows that rehabilitation has taken place.
A youngster named Delenna Williams was a gun shot victim and his outcry against such an act brought the alleged perpetrators forward. As a result of his calling for an end to killing, the city of Chiago (sic) has had a twenty percent murder rate reduction.
I believe that when an individual improves his educational background and tries to use his influence for constructive things to benefit the community the status quo owes that individual a chance.
I urge you to give Lary (sic) Hoover a chance to became (sic) a living example that an individual can change and become a productive member of society.
Mr. Chairman, everyone deserves a chance.
Virgil E. Jones
Alderman, 15th Ward
A number of other letters, such as from assistant principals at two different Chicago Public High Schools, offered to use Larry Hoover as a consultant to reduce their gang problems if only the parole board would release him. There were letters from churches, community groups, and one from a business that looked interesting. It was printed on business stationary, from a company called Benefit Planning, Inc, it is provided in Figure 43.
Figure 43: A Businessman Supports the Release of Larry Hoover.
Benefit Planning, Inc
150 South Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606
New York(212) 557-6500
July 2, 1993
Mr. James Williams, Chairman
Illinois Prisoner Review Board
319 East Madison - Suite A
Springfield, IL 62701
Dear Mr. Williams:
Greetings. This letter serves to confirm employment for Mr. Larry Hoover (C01829) upon his release from Viana (sic) in August. Mr. Hoover will be employed as an associate agent of Benefit Planning, Inc.
My personal visits to Viana (sic) and phone conversations with Mr. Hoover, along with community work by his family leave us extremely optimistic.
We have enjoyed a very positive relationship through our employment of Mr. Sam Dillon, former long time inmate. Mr. Dillon lived with us and was employed in Chicago for his first year. Currently, he runs our summer camp program for Cabrini Green's Near North Little League residing at the 4 Mounds Foundation in Dubuque, Iowa.
I personally attended the first week of camp last week and was extremely moved by Mr. Dillon's teaching re: negative gang activity, drugs, violence, and the benefits of hard work and truth.
We are confident that Mr. Hoover will prosper and be a strong force both in our company and for the youth of Chicago.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
At your service,
Robert E. Muzikowski
Another letter on behalf of paroling Larry Hoover was written on state government stationary by State Representative Coy Pugh. A copy of the text of this letter is provided in Figure 44.
Figure 44: Copy of the Text of the Letter From State Representative Coy Pugh on Behalf of Paroling Larry Hoover.
July 15, 1993
Mr. James Williams, Chairman
Illinois Prisoner Review Board
319 East Madison-Suite A
Springfield, IL 62701
RE: LARRY HOOVER, C-01829
Dear Chairman Williams:
Please accept this communique as letter of support on behalf of Mr. Larry Hoover, who will be appearing before the parole board in August.
I am personally endorsing his release at this time. From all indication concerning his personal reform and evident rehabilitation I strongly urge that the Board consider this case with due diligence and in a positive frame of reference.
Mr. Hoover has more than demonstrated his willingness to take a responsible place in society. His work and efforts to bring about badly needed changes are quite known to myself as well as others in the community. With everything considered, he should be given a chance to re-enter society now.
I earnestly hope and trust that you and the Board will grant a favorable outcome.
Thus, on August 10, 1993, when Larry Hoover actually appeared before the "parole board", he had amassed a wealth of political and community activists in support of his bid for parole. We had heard from a reliable source that some of those who did testify for Larry Hoover were handsomely paid, as much as $50,000; however, this has never been confirmed. The parole board voted 8-0 against giving Larry Hoover a parole.
Astute newspaper reporters like the Chicago Tribune's George Papajohn were skeptical of how rehabilitated Hoover was and how sincere he was about ordering his gang to "go straight". Reporters like Papajohn dug deeper, and they published their stories: they reported that it was a "hoax", it was a "scam", it was preposterous to assume that this notorious gang leader would be an asset to any community.
In the summer of 1993 summer Larry Hoover engineered a major gang organization accomplishment: a big GD picnic in rural Kankakee County, Illinois at a private farm. The official GD name for the event was the "Gala Illinois Family Day Voters Picnic". Think of it as a "Woodstock" for GDs; because about ten thousand (10,000) of them showed up. They partied, ate, listened to music, got high, milled with the throngs of GDs, took pictures of each other in their finest gang clothing, and made quite a picture as a massive gang gathering, perhaps the largest ever recorded in U.S. history. They were bused in: the hundreds of buses were rented or paid for by the gang itself. Larry Hoover would make a call from his relative comfort in the Vienna minimum security facility, and speak to the thousands of GDs present at the picnic over a loud speaker system that was set-up for the event.
insert gang picnic photo's here
A major "coup" for the GD gang occurred in the fall of 1993. In October the GDs organized a "peace treaty summit meeting" in Chicago, bringing in Crips from all over the continental USA, as well as a lot of GD's and sympathizers to the GD "cause". The year 1993 would therefore signal the year in which "Crips" would align themselves into a national gang alliance system with the "Folks" (particularly GDs). Today, "Crips" and "Folks" are aligned in the national gang alliance system. It was not a hard allegiance to make: both Crips and GDs wear "blue" colors. As this initial alliance system developed and spread nationally, in local communities big and small, and inside correctional institutions everywhere, it basically forced the "Bloods" to align themselves with the "People" or "Brother" gang alliance system, by default in terms of what the power struggle had left them with: a choice of necessity, not convenience.
Obviously, the ability of the GD gang to hold this conference and stage other ludicrous events in Chicago during the Fall of 1993 made them formidable. Citizens were shocked and dumbfounded how the GDs had control over the Englewood High School in Chicago; where an "awards ceremony" was held for the Gang Peace Treaty Summit Meeting: it involved giving out awards for Community Leadership to the likes of persons like Larry Hoover and other notorious gang leaders. Some how the GDs had coopted and controlled an important government facility: a public high school, using the schools auditorium for an official gang event.
To our knowledge, no parent in Chicago who had a child attending Englewood High School at the time has ever filed a federal law suit against the Chicago Public School system for a civil RICO cause of action involving the criminal corruption of their children. But this author taught a gang class to the teachers at that school at that location during the same time frame: the teachers were obviously demanding gang information, because they sensed something was "amiss", the school was being turned over to a gang (the GDs). The teachers demanded an after school hours college course be taught about gangs at the Englewood High School, and they wanted me: I volunteered through my university to do this. I gained much valuable insight into the power of the GD gang at that time.
About time of the Fall of 1993, the federal government had its Operation HEADACHE, the official codename for the federal investigation of the GDs in full swing. It meant a unique way of gathering intelligence. The visitors who would come to see Larry Hoover in the Vienna Correctional Facility were given special visitor badges, inserted in between the thick lamination of the visitor's badges were subminiature radio frequency transmitter devices, designed to provide a listening station to the content of the "visiting" that went on with Larry Hoover. As one of the investigators on the case related to me, well into the investigation, one of the visitors with such a "wired" visiting badge simply walked out of the institution and kept the badge as a souvenir of visiting Larry Hoover. On their way home, they were still able to be monitored. But at some point the individual was so proud of getting this "trophy" of his visit to "King Larry" he kept playing with it, and noticed a small bulge in the middle, and his curiosity got the better of him, and he began to unravel the package to actually discover the transmitter device contained in it. Certainly Larry Hoover was soon notified of this development, but by then it was really far too late. Too much incriminating information had already been gathered in the preceding months of the court authorized intercept.
During the month of June, 1994 I.D.O.C. correctional officers complained through their union at the Pontiac prison that prison administrators were making deals with gang leaders; the CO's demanded a zero-tolerance policy towards gangs to improve CO safety. They would not get their zero-tolerance policy until after the infamous "Speck tape" hits the national news and makes the entire Illinois prison system appear to be corrupted. The Speck tape would shake up the prison system, and continue to have reverberations well up until the time of this writing in late 1999.
In the fall of 1994 Larry Hoover was transferred out of the Minimum Security Facility in Vienna and into a tighter facility at Dixon, Illinois. Obviously, IDOC knew at this point that the federal investigation, code-named "Operation HEADACHE" was underway and that they had scored evidence incriminating Larry Hoover, such that he was about to be indicted. From an investigator who was involved with that operation, we were told that over 8,000 conversations were recorded, amassing a wealth of intelligence on the GD gang. It would not look so bad if Larry was taken into federal custody if this were done at a more secure facility. But even at the Dixon prison, Larry Hoover's "job" was that of the visiting room: he had visitors every day; he ate steak sandwiches, milk shakes, and chicken from the "grill" at the visiting room. He never ate off the "main line" in the inmate chow hall. He did not do any work, he had no assignment, he was busy EVERYDAY meeting with the endless number of visitors who would come to the prison to meet with him. He obviously had his own "section" of the visiting room staked out, it was "Larry Hoover's" area.
By the year 1994 "Bloods" were forced to ally with "People" and "Brothers" gangs in national gang alliance system started in 1993 where crips and folks joined.
Incredible, but true, in early 1994 Wallace "Gator" Bradley, spokesperson for GD front group "21st Century VOTE" meets with President Bill Clinton in the White House. He had the audacity to tell the president he represented a group called "Better Growth and Development". This issue never surfaced in any of the subsequent debate and campaign coverage when President Clinton began his run for a second term in office. But it truly was the first gang to get a representative into the inner sanctum of the White House. Some gang experts mistakenly refer to the case of Jeff Fort, the leader of the El Rukns, known more commonly as the Black P. Stone Nation, as the first person to pull this off, but that is factually untrue: Jeff Fort had an invitation to an inaugural event for President Nixon, but never actually got there. The photographic evidence of this is documented in the Chicago Tribune, February 18, 1994, section 2, p. 2.
During the time frame of 1994-95 the GDs fronted two candidates for election to Chicago City Council; both were defeated.
In March of 1995 Larry Hoover makes his last effort to gain a parole. This becomes one of the most sophisticated efforts to secure his release. It includes using the testimony of two Ph.D. university professors testifying for Larry Hoover (Dwight Conquergood from Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; and Clemens Bartollas, from the University of Northern Iowa). Obviously, his parole bid fails. The parole board voted 10-0 against giving Larry Hoover a parole.
On March 15, 1995 Larry Hoover issues a letter to all GDs in prison and out on the streets. It is a well-crafted letter, and thus probably actually written by one of his aides or attorneys. A copy of this letter is provided in Figure 45.
Figure 45: The March 15, 1995 Letter From Larry Hoover.
DIXON CORRECTIONAL CENTER
2600 North Brinton
P.O. Box 1200
Dixon, Illinois 61021
My Brothers and Sisters in the Struggle:
I learned this week, for the 13th time, that I have once again been denied parole. My thoughts, as they have been for years now, are of my family and of you. My sons, who have grown from infants to men during my imprisonment, and their mother, whose commitment has been unwavering: they all continue to pay, with me, the price for the terrible crime I committed, for which I am solely and fully responsible. They have been strong, as the families of tens of thousands of other black prisoners have been and must be strong every day of their lives.
But, Brothers and Sisters, we must have more than strength. We must have vision, too. We must see that we, ourselves, are the victims of the crimes that ignorance, poverty, hopelessness and drugs lead us to commit. We must see that, just as no man is an island, we all wear the shackles of the ghetto. We are all Ghetto Prisoners.
Our only hope for release is to use our strength and vision in the cause of change. Ignorance is our enemy; we must honor learning and those who learn. Poverty is our enemy; we must gather our pennies and dollars and use them in our own communities. Hopelessness is our enemy; we must organize and vote by the hundreds of thousands, to give voice to the voiceless. Drugs are our enemy, destroying many of us with the lure of profit, more of us with addiction, and still more with the crime that results; we must join our voices with those across the land, of whites and blacks, churchgoers and convicts, gays and straights - all who share the purpose of taking the profit out of drugs and ending the slaughter made easy by guns.
Whether and when I will be released is beyond my control. Whatever my personal destiny may be, I will fight to strike the shackles that imprison us all.
Ghetto Prisoner #1829
The "Ghetto Prisoner" gimmick became the basis for Larry Hoover to gain recognition through a "rap music" group as well as through a new line of designer-gang clothing --- called the "Ghetto Prisoner" jerseys, which sold for about $45 each and were marketed through a company called Ghetto Prisoners, Inc, owned and operated in early 1995 by Larry Hoover's common-law wife Winndye Jenkins. These were hot items in the market of "gang apparel".
The feds, involving IRS criminal division, raided the Ghetto Prisoner company on April 10th, 1995. The IRS raided the company location and the home of Jenkins, seizing records and $67,000 in cash (see: Phillip J. O'Connor, "Cops Raid Businesses, Seek Gang Ties", Chicago Sun-Times, April 11, 1995, p. 12; Andrew Martin and George Papajohn, "Police Raid Firm Tied to Gang Chief Hoover", Chicago Tribune, April 11, 1995, Section 2, p. 9).
One of the professors who testified for Larry Hoover's release would in 1995 come to the aid of the GDs in another way: lending credibility to their school-based program at Englewood High School.
Dr. Clemens Bartollas, professor of sociology at Northern Iowa University, not only testified for Hoover, but also came to the benefit of the GDs in another way: by writing a OP-ED piece as a guest editorial in the Chicago Tribune (July 13, 1995) to defend the "gang deactivation program" at Englewood High School (formally now referred to as the Englewood Technical Preparatory Academy, a Chicago public school). The GD's are the single largest gang in the student population at Englewood High School. Recall, that during the 1993 Gang Peace Summit Meeting held in Chicago, that Englewood High School was also the scene for the infamous award ceremony that gave awards to gang leaders like Larry Hoover. Bartollas presented his credentials as a gang expert this way:
"for the last 35 years, I have been involved with gang and hard-core youth. I have worked with gangs in the community in two states, have interacted with them in correctional settings in three other states and have written a number of books about youth and adult crime in which gangs were discussed" (see Chicago Tribune, 7-13-95, p. 22, section 1).
Bartollas went on to defend the school's gang questionable gang program that involved gang members acting as hall monitors where they would physically punish students who violated discipline codes or did not attend school. The defense was his impression the school environment was delightfully innovative and effective. Earlier (Chicago Tribune, June 15, 1995) Bartollas was quoted as follows: "you have the deviant and quite radical suggestion that the gangs can, in fact, monitor themselves to promote a learning experience that is constructive to everyone" and on the basis of two visits to the school also said "it is working remarkably well". August 31, 1995 becomes a landmark date in the developmental lifespan of the GD gang: this is the date that the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois announces the indictment of Larry Hoover and 38 of his top associates, charging them with a 25-year conspiracy to distribute cocaine, crack, heroin and marijuana and to extort protection money from street dealers in Chicago and its suburbs, as well as operating a continuing criminal enterprise.
In September of 1996 the GDs release their book "From Gangster Disciple to Growth & Development: The Blueprint", shortly before Larry Hoover goes to trial.
In 1997 Larry Hoover is convicted, he is then immediately transferred to Terre Haute FBOP to await sentencing. While there he conducts a one hour videotaped interview with ESPN.
THE ORIGINAL PREDICTIONS ABOUT THE IMPACT OF THE GD PROSECUTION
The original predictions about the impact of the GD prosecution included short-term and long-term impact areas. Some of these predictions seem to have been accurate. Let us review the original predictions about the effect of the federal prosecution.
Projected Short-term Impact of the Federal Prosecution
Most of the media attention to the 39 indicted GDs during September 1995 looked at a short-term negative scenario in terms of the projected impact of Operation Headache. Gang-wise journalists were able to point to the succession effect: by prosecuting one gang, another gang would be able to step forward in the aftermath, that is other gangs would fill the void left by the GDs. Clearly, the dismantling of Jeff Fort's El Rukn gang empire in the 1980's --- also through federal prosecution ---was a context that allowed the GD's to take control of the turf previously held by the El Rukns.
Thus, the first major reaction to the 39 indicted GD leaders was a focus on how other gangs might now be able to become more effective. No programs of prevention and intervention were basically put into place in areas or buildings controlled by GDs at the time of the indictments. So, one cannot conclude that a "Weed and Seed" operation had been achieved. Only some weed whacking had been done on the largest criminal gang in the USA. It seems a reasonable fear, therefore, that in the cracks and crevices of social disorganization that we can expect other weeds to arise as an immediate short-term effect.
Two gangs stand to benefit directly from the effects of putting the GD leadership into disarray: (1) the Black P. Stone Nation (BPSN), and (2) The New Breed (or B.G.'s). Two factions exist in the BPSN, one being headed up by Jeff Fort's son. Both factions of the BPSN have been historical enemies of the "Folks" and GDs. Thus, the BPSN gang could see a strong revitalization. Even more likely, however, is that another faction of the Disciples will grow stronger. Two other Disciple factions most likely to benefit from the GD prosecution are: the BD's and the BG's. The BG's are today known as the New Breed, and are a very violent aggressive growing enterprise. Both the BD's and the BG's have their own separate and different written constitutions and by-laws and leadership structures. So in the short-term, the gangs most likely to benefit from the displacement of GD influence are opposition gangs like the BPSN and other Disciple factions like the BG's and BD's.
Projected Long Term Impact of the GD Prosecution Efforts
The projected long-term impact of Operation Headache consists of significant membership demoralization, significant organizational destabilization, substantial collateral impact, a strong deterrent effect, and a healthy dose of restoring public confidence in law enforcement's ability to counteract the gang threat. Each of these will be discussed briefly.
1. Significant Membership Demoralization Within the GDs. We cannot lose sight of the fact that the GDs are the single largest centralized authoritarian formal organizational gang structure in the United States today, having 30,000 members in the Chicago area alone. One projected long-term impact of Operation Headache (and we are willing to assume that Hoover will be convicted and he will receive a life sentence to federal custody) is therefore the significant demoralization within the GD membership apparatus. The message sent to the other GD's after nearly a quarter of a century of a reign of terror is that their leaders are not invincible. Their gang leaders will no longer be able to call by phone to provide long speeches broadcast over a P.A. system to annual gang picnics, as Hoover was able to do in the past. For example, at the 1993 picnic on a private farm in Kankakee, Illinois with nearly 10,000 GD's and sympathizers listening, Hoover was able to provide an inspirational speech to the crowd from behind bars, calling over the phone to a public address system.
Any leadership succession in the GD's is likely to be a violent struggle over coveted positions of power. Thus, significant demoralization will occur over the next three years would be a prediction for the GD's here.
2. Significant Organizational Destabilization.
We must recognize that the GDs have grown over the last twenty years into a formidable crime threat. This is a threat not just to Chicago, not just to the State of Illinois, but to many midwestern cities, indeed GD activity is now known to exist in about 35 states. Over the years, with millions in illegal income, with attorneys, with training seminars for the gang's middle management, with forays into political life --- this gang has proven its ability to undermine and corrupt existing democratic structures. So one long-term impact of Operation Headache is that it will basically dismantle that leadership infrastructure of the GDs.
Hoover will now be effectively neutralized as a hands-on micro-manager of his gang empire. He will not be able to continue to run his gang from behind bars. Once he receives a life sentence he will be serving time in federal prison. The Federal Bureau of Prisons, unlike many state correctional systems, does not tolerate such machinations. While in state prison Hoover lived a life of luxury, he could have access to the phone anytime, and call a number on the outside that basically amounted to a "bulletin board" conference, where he could have a phone teleconference with gang leaders on the outside and in all other prison environments. While in state custody, he was able to sponsor "parties" in his correctional center to impress other inmates and staff. Hoover's power will no longer be so freely exercised from federal custody. Thus, Hoover will regret having such a centralized authoritarian structure, and without his ongoing control it can be expected that significant organizational destabilization will occur in the GD organization. It could fractionate into smaller units, it could become more decentralized, its "sets" could become more autonomous, and thus the GD organization will be significantly disrupted over time is the prediction here.
3. Substantial Collateral Impact.
That the GD's did exercise enormous power and influence seems unquestioned at this point in time. That Hoover was able to continue to orchestrate his gang activities even while serving a murder sentence in a state correctional system is also a matter of historical record. Thus, with the effective federal prosecution of Hoover and many other GD leaders, the astute gang analyst will also realize that the greater the gang threat, the greater the positive collateral impact from a law enforcement point of view. What this means is that with Hoover effectively neutralized, GD members who may have wanted to defect, who may have wanted to "flip" or snitch, will now feel more comfortable in cooperating with investigators.
Secondary positive impact could therefore involve other informants coming forward, as GD members may face the risk/benefit situation of facing greater costs of staying in the gang than trying to get out. Those GD members who had hero-worshipped Hoover, who may have wanted to erect a statue of Hoover, will now realize he is gone from public life and he will experience the civil death that the penal sanction in America is supposed to induce. In state custody, Hoover was able to create the myth that he was a legendary leader: he was not out on the gang line everyday, they are the ones making mistakes, not Hoover, so if something went wrong it was never Hoover's fault, it was someone else's.
Current research on gangs throughout the United States (see Project GANGECON, 1995, National Gang Crime Research Center) indicates that about one-third of all gang members, regardless of the nature of their gang, would "flip" or "snitch" given the right conditions. Such conditions are now ripe for the GDs.
It is important to understand that many types of crimes for which no statute of limitation exists (murder, homicide, arson, etc), can be traced to gangs like the GDs. It seems reasonable to expect substantial collateral impact in this regard in the future. Other GD crimes such as homicides will now be able to be solved and effectively prosecuted, as potential informants will feel safer to provide testimony, knowing that Hoover is locked up in supermaximum "no human contact" status in the new federal Alcatraz in Colorado.
4. Strong Deterrent Effect.
From a long-term impact perspective, we should expect a strong deterrent effect from Operation Headache. Again, the logic is as historical as the presumed negative short-term effect discussed earlier. Recall the federal prosecution of the top leadership of the El Rukn gang, where the straw that broke the camels back of public outcry was the fact that here was a gang that had sought to commit acts of terrorism "for hire" for hostile foreign terrorist organizations. What message got sent to other American gangs by the rapid dismantling of the El Rukns? The deterrent effect seems to have been effective in preventing hostile foreign and domestic terrorist organizations from manipulating ideal groups for such operations: gangs. We have not seen subsequent examples of major gangs becoming involved in political terrorism since the effective prosecution of Jeff Fort and his El Rukn gang back in the 1980's.
So the message sent to other gangs in the United States today is also very clear from Operation Headache: it can be risky business to try to achieve the status of being a supergang, for the moment one becomes the largest gang in the USA, the leaders are the first to be targeted for federal prosecution. It may therefore achieve the deterrent effect of forcing gangs into a more localized, less formalized style of organizational apparatus. Some shift from the vertical and formally organized style of gang organization to the more horizontal and loose knit style of organization could occur. This effectively reduces the gang threat as well. Why? Because the greater the organizational sophistication of a gang, the greater its objective crime threat.
Therefore it seems reasonable to expect a kind of lasting deterrent effect in the case of the GDs. Gang leaders throughout the United States who may have lusted for Hoover's status may now modify their lofty aims. For gang leaders will realize that the moment they "profile" in this way, they could be facing the same fate as Jeff Fort, John Gotti, and now hopefully Larry Hoover --- a life behind bars in no human contact status.
5. Restored Public Confidence in Law Enforcement.
Whether it was Al Capone, John Gotti, Jeff Fort, or now Larry Hoover, when a criminal organization is able to effectively operate over time in any community that same community experiences a decay in respect for the law. The fact that successful federal prosecution neutralizes such powerful crime figures is therefore also a factor that over time can be expected to restore public confidence in law enforcement. This is also a long-term prediction for Operation Headache.
Community support for anti-gang initiatives could be expected to rise with the effective neutralization of the largest gang in the United States. Community fear could be transformed into community mobilization against gangs. In Chicago neighborhoods where the GDs had operated for nearly a quarter of a century, the news of the 39 GD leaders being indicted by the federal government was equivalent to a kind of quiet individualized "D-day" celebration. Many prayers had been answered by victims of gang crime and gang violence. Those who celebrated the most with the news of the federal indictments in Operation Headache were those in communities who felt the daily devastation of GD influence. In many gang-infested communities today gangs like the GDs have successfully prevented millions of citizens from stepping forward to provide the eyes and ears necessary for law enforcement to successfully target the gang menace today. It is a matter of pervasive fear itself. So by alleviating that fear, we can extrapolate a long term positive benefit. This is true because gang tenure varies directly with the amount of fear the same gang can induce in a community. By reducing that fear, we believe the stranglehold of gangs on some communities can be broken.
DID OTHER GANGS BENEFIT FROM A SHORT-TERM IMPACT OF THE FEDERAL PROSECUTION OF THE GDs?
Yes, we believe that did occur, it is similar to the "displacement effect" in community policing. In community policing, where one geographical area "tightens up" and begins "zero-tolerance" campaigns to arrest for certain offenses, neighboring communities without this level of "target hardening" become the primary choice for offenders to move their business to, they set up shop in neighboring territories where there are similar opportunities but without the risks of arrest. Thus, when the GDs where prosecuted, we anticipated correctly that gangs like the BPSN and the BGs (New Breed, AKA "Braids") would benefit, and they have by some reports increased their operations in some regards. But another gang, we did not originally predict would benefit, actually did: the Latin Kings. In some jurisdictions, the Latin Kings have come to be the dominant threat group.
DID THE FEDERAL PROSECUTION ACHIEVE SIGNIFICANT MEMBERSHIP DEMORALIZATION WITHIN THE GD MEMBERSHIP?
We believe the follow-up evidence supports the conclusion that significant demoralization did pervade the GD membership. The evidence for this consists of (1) reluctance of GD members to take positions of authority any longer for fear of becoming a target of federal prosecution, (2) GD members defecting from their gang, joining other gangs, in both adult and juvenile correctional institutions in states that are geographical contiguous with Illinois, and (3) the actual defection of some high-level leaders inside the Illinois GD gang operation who have basically "dropped their flag" (or become informants).
Perhaps the most demoralizing effect of the federal prosecution of the GDs was the fact that numerous witnesses stepped forward to testify against the GD leadership. The federal government had an abundance of informants and GD members willing to testify. Snitches? Sure, but there is no honor in gangs today. The best estimate is that one out of three gang members in America would rat on their homies in a New York minute, if they had the proper motivation to do so (i.e., un-indicted co-conspirator, charges dropped, plea agreement, etc).
The Gangster Disciples have historically, like most formalized gang organizations, dealt with informants and those who try to testify against their gang, or its members, with threats of violence or violence itself. The record is one that includes killing and assassination of known informants or those whose were planning on giving testimony in court proceedings against members of the gang. This gang is capable of witness intimidation to a degree that is surpassed by few gangs: many of its members are found in a variety of "poorer neighborhoods" (what Thrasher called "interstitial areas"), so anyone who lives, say in "public housing" would find themselves facing a number of members who live in the same building or public housing complex who would be capable of intimidating them on a daily basis. There are few places, in Chicago at least, that the Gangster Disciples cannot "reach out to".
One of the professors who testified for Larry Hoover's release came to an NGCRC party ("wine and cheese reception" for gang researchers) at a national criminology meeting shortly before Hoover's trial. The professor was spotted immediately and I approached him, in order to have him photographed. He told me he was certain there would be only one or two informants at best and no one would be able to link Larry Hoover to any drug dealing. How wrong he was! And the GD gang realized, afterwards, the same cruel fact of life: it is hard being a Gangster Disciple when there are so many snitches in the organization.
DID THE FEDERAL PROSECUTION ACHIEVE SIGNIFICANT ORGANIZATIONAL DESTABILIZATION OF THE GDs?
We think yes. Certainly, one of the predictions was that the GD gang would become more decentralized without the "hands-on" micro-management of Larry Hoover, and that prediction seems to have been borne out since his conviction. The fact that in some areas within driving distance of Chicago we have seen the GDs "fractionate" into competing cliques is also evidence of this organizational destabilization. As well, we can point to the oral interview information from active and former GDs who tell the story same story that many GD "sets" today are "out for themselves". To the extent that there are relatively autonomous GD "sets" operating today is evidence of what would be unthinkable prior to Hoover's conviction: these "sets" would have been targeted by the central GD leadership for ruthless treatment, for being "renegade" GD factions. Leaders of such renegade factions would be ruthlessly executed. Today, almost anyone anywhere can claim they have a GD faction up and going as a gang operation and there really is no stable or verifiable central organization anymore to "check them out". For this reason astute gang specialists are aware of the fact that there exist in areas far away from Chicago, the epicenter of the GD gang, gangs that call themselves "GDs" but their symbols and their written materials they use bear little to no resemblance to the authentic gang materials from the original Chicago-based GD gang operation. In otherwords, one by-product of the GD prosecution has been that it enabled such "emulator" versions of the GDs to arise and function outside of the Chicago area. These persons running these autonomous GD operations know there is little likelihood of facing an "inspector" from Chicago headquarters.
One clear-cut piece of evidence of significant organizational destabilization is that we have searched and searched for new and recent "memo's" from Larry Hoover, or the Chairman, to their troops in recent years. The GD members themselves are probably as relieved as we are that these memo's have virtually disappeared since the federal prosecution.
Let us quote from one GD who gave us this statement:
"Because the feds stepped in, you have more people reluctant to step up and take leadership positions in the GD organization. The feds have these new laws and so people are reluctant to take on leadership roles."
Similarly the following GD quotation is compatible with this assessment:
"You still have some people who don't care, and those people would be leaders if they could work it out. You have people still associated with the organization who like me have been involved for a long long time, but they are not operating under one focus anymore".
THE PREDICTED EFFECT OF SUBSTANTIAL COLLATERAL IMPACT
The original prediction assumed that there would be secondary benefits to the GD prosecution. One clear-cut type of evidence in support of this premise is the "get tough" policy that was implemented after Larry Hoover's conviction inside Illinois prisons. Things have changed quite dramatically inside Illinois prisons with regard to gang activities. The evidence for this seems overwhelming, and is a major credit to the administration of the IDOC. Certainly, the GDs were the single most formidable gang organization that IDOC had to deal with, and the federal prosecution made it easier to "crack down" on gang activities. Add to this the one "wild card" of the infamous "Speck tapes" that produced national negative publicity for IDOC, and combined, we see that the impetus was there for IDOC to initiate major policy changes making it harder for gangs to operate they way they did in the past.
It may very well be that a lot of the GDs who witnessed the rise and fall of their esteemed leader, Larry Hoover, realize today that his preference for the "limelight" was his ultimate downfall. We may therefore see a more subdued GD organization in the future, one that does not intentionally "bring on heat" to the same organization in the same way that the ineffective leadership of Larry Hoover did for his gang: bringing it into the national spotlight, and thus also into the "sights" of federal prosecutors.
THE EVIDENCE OF A STRONG DETERRENT EFFECT
It is safe to say that a strong deterrent effect has been achieved with the federal prosecution of the GDs. This would not have been possible alone, but after the GD prosecution, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois also went after the north and south side factions of the Latin Kings, scoring huge take downs. The U.S. Attorney also effectively targeted the Black Disciples. Thus, subsequent gang prosecutions along with the original GD prosecution, have tended to substantially increase the cost faced by gang leaders in Chicago today.
Gangs will always operate in Chicago. Gangs have probably always operated, to some extent, in Chicago. But the evidence suggests a major curtailment of conspicuous gang operations since the GD prosecution. Obviously, the Chicago Police Department must take some of the credit for this, being able to strategically target various gang operations on a citywide basis.
But missing today are the large-scale gang picnics of the GDs and their massive protests in Chicago's loop. These just seem to have disappeared after the federal conviction of Larry Hoover. Disappearing from the Chicago media circuit, as well, have been some of the notorious "spokespersons" for the GDs that had previously become regular items in the print and electronic media. Their story is "gone now". And most importantly, their credibility is gone now. We still see some of them craning their heads and necks toward the cameras at police brutality or excessive force social protests, but their ability to draw a "news conference" is gone today.
THE EVIDENCE OF RESTORED PUBLIC CONFIDENCE IN LAW ENFORCEMENT
This seems the easiest, but may be the hardest to ever prove. The reason is the fact that no one tracks attitudinal measures of "respect for the law" as an ongoing, cyclical, or periodical measurement of the effectiveness of law enforcement, or simply put a measure of confidence in law enforcement. It is reasonable to assume that the fear of gangs has not subsided in places like Chicago. The best we can do on this type of prediction is say that Chicago appears to be headed in the right direction.
ADDITIONAL SPECIFIC FINDINGS ABOUT THE IMPACT OF THE GD PROSECUTION
Some definite areas of prosecutorial impact appeared from the interviews conducted for this assessment. Some remarkable effects appear to have been generated from this federal gang prosecution. These effects include: (1) the reluctance of some GDs today to want to fill leadership positions, (2) defection from leadership positions in the GD gang, (3) the movement towards decentralization and competition within the GD gang for the drug sale operations, (4) the GDs are losing their foothold in traditional areas of domination even though a lot of them still exist and still control other areas of Chicago, (5) some rival gangs think the GDs are getting weaker, (6) impact outside of the Chicago area appears positive as well, including inside juvenile and adult correctional institutions, (7) one jurisdiction near Chicago is reporting a "splintering" effect among the local GDs, where they now compete with each other on a more localized level, (8) Larry Hoover's power base has certainly eroded and an incapacitation effect is evident now that he is in federal custody and no longer able to spend all day visiting and communicating to his troops on the phone, (9) the political activism of the GD gang has all but lost its steam and their front groups are no longer able to hold routine "press conferences" as they did in the past, and (10) it would appear that even inside the Illinois adult correctional system (I.D.O.C.) that the "zero-tolerance" approach to gangs has finally been implemented, making it hard for any gang to carry on business as usual, or at least compared to the past.
These effects are described below in greater detail.
RELUCTANCE OF SOME GANGSTER DISCIPLES TODAY TO WANT TO FILL LEADERSHIP POSITIONS
Several sources indicated the tendency today, among members of the Gangster Disciples, where members of this gang are very reluctant to fill leadership positions. In its heyday, it could be assumed that the opportunity to rise in the gang organization was more attractive. Today, several sources suggest quite the obverse: that some members do not want to step into the shoes of a leader and the reason is readily apparent.
The reason why some members of the Gangster Disciples are reluctant to accept a leadership position has to do with their perception that they would then be a target of prosecutors. This can be illustrated in the following quotation from a GD interviewed for this article:
"A lot of people don't want no functions no more, they are afraid of being snatched up".
Let us try to translate what this GD member is saying. By reference to "functions", he is saying that people in his gang do not want leadership positions (i.e., functions). The specific reason for this reluctance to assume vacant leadership positions is that they might be "snatched up" (i.e., investigated, targeted, and prosecuted).
DEFECTION FROM LEADERSHIP POSITIONS INSIDE THE GD's
This is a clear-cut example of the demoralization of middle management leadership within the GDs, clearly attributable to the federal prosecution, and resulting in a very high ranking member going "inactive". The subject is a 33-year-old African-American male, currently confined in an Illinois Department of Corrections facility in Centralia, Illinois. During the period from 1992 until 1995 he held the rank of "Institutional Coordinator" for the GDs at the Pontiac prison facility in Illinois. He is a good example of high level defection from the GDs attributable to the federal prosecution initiative. We thank him for sharing his extension collection of the GD memo's quoted earlier in this article.
Even after the federal prosecution, he reports that the GD operations in Illinois prisons still operated the same as before. Basically this meant that on a weekly basis written reports flowed up the chain of command from lower level leaders to persons like himself, and then directly to Larry Hoover in some condensed or verbal format on major topics of concern. Such weekly reports include who the members are in the gang, which members got violations, etc. In otherwords, the assessment from this subject is very consistent with that from others in the gang and from rival gang members in custody in Illinois. It seems that the GDs are still functioning, behind bars at least, like they have always functioned in the past.
There appear to have been a combination of factors that account for the defection of this subject from a top leadership position in the GDs. Most important was his increased alienation from the gang due to the sense he had been developing that it really was "all about money" and that in spite of his efforts and service to the gang, he was not getting what he felt was his "fair share". We can add to the factors leading to defection is age, at 33 perhaps he was ready to "mature out" or "age out" or "burn out" of the gang. We can add to the factors his fear of getting another "beef" while in custody. And it seems we can add the factor, in his case, that he did experience some cognition that the federal prosecution was sending a message to GD leaders like himself: he might be a target himself of federal prosecution.
So in 1997 he dropped his flag and now he just wants to get out of prison. He went "inactive" in the gang. He did not have to take a "violation" to do this. He explained that he just wanted to "step down" from his position in the gang, he needed to "chill out" to be able to get released from prison.
ARE GANGSTER DISCIPLES STILL INVOLVED IN DRUGS?
Yes, of course. Simply removing the top leadership did nothing to dismantle a large organization that has existed for years with its role in the underground economy being primarily that of drug sales. It seems fundamentally clear, from the interviews conducted for this assessment, that not much has changed in regard to the membership of the Gangster Disciples and their involvement in illegal drug sales. The issue that cannot be addressed here is a more quantifiable issue that does not have any know evaluation data source: to what extent has the market share, previously dominated by members of the Gangster Disciple gang, increased or decreased since the federal prosecution? This issue cannot be addressed here for the aforementioned reason.
One thing that has apparently happened, however, is that in some cases a previously cohesive and centralized gang organization called the "GD's", now may function as a network of independent players, still using their GD clothing and "props", but functioning in relative autonomy from a centralized gang organization. In some jurisdictions the GD's have split into separate factions, to maximize the local profit from drug selling.
TURF CONTROLLED BY THE G.D.'s: NOT MUCH CHANGE
The GDs are still associated with Chicago's southside, even though there are chapters or factions that exist in other neighborhoods (i.e., Northside, etc). Basically, rival gang members still fear going into GD controlled neighborhoods on Chicago's southside. The evidence that GDs have lost much "territory" does not emerge from interviews with current and former GDs and other rival gang members.
One rival gang member did describe how the GDs had lost some territory or turf. The specific location of the turf that was formerly controlled by the GDs which is now controlled by another rival gang was described by one informant as being located at Roosevelt and Racine. This area is now controlled by BGs (i.e., Black Gangsters, AKA "New Breed", AKA "Braids").
The GDs are still "up and down" State Street and they are still "deep" as they would say, that is "very strong" in numbers, in their mother-chapter area of Englewood. Regarding their foothold along State Street, in the Robert Taylor homes, however, some of these buildings where the GDs were strong are now scheduled for demolition.
VIEWS FROM RIVAL GANGS ABOUT HOW THE GDs ARE DOING TODAY
Vice Lords ride under the five-pointed star, they are classified as a "People" gang, and often themselves use the term "Brothers" interchangeably with the designation "People" to describe their gang alliance system. Vice Lords have always been a rival gang for the Gangster Disciples. The one advantage in talking to rival gangs is that they are less reluctant to "give up information" when the information solicited is about their opposition. Here is what one Conservative Vice Lord said about the GDs:
"I'm a Vice Lord...a former 5-Star Malik...but I've got some family members who are Gangster Disciples. The Gangster Disciples are still strong in the prison system, they have the numbers in the prison system. On the street, I believe the Gangster Disciples are getting a little weaker, because so many of them are getting locked up for their gang-banging, killing each other."
There are several factions of the Vice Lords: Conservative Vice Lords, Travelling Vice Lords, Mafia Insane Vice Lords, Unknown Vice Lords, etc. The following view about the Gangster Disciples comes from a member of the Travelling Vice Lords:
"Ain't nothing changed with the GDs, their still the same to me. I am always running into them. They are always flagging. Larry Hoover may be in federal prison, but he is still talking to people."
HAS LARRY HOOVER LOST POWER IN THE GANGSTER DISCIPLES?
Larry Hoover is still "honored" in his gang, the Gangster Disciples. Obviously, being in federal custody has curtailed his ability to micromanage gang operations. The best way to describe the GDs today is that they are kind of a "new society", somewhat on their own, facing the situation where they will in all likelihood never be able to communicate directly with their top leader. New leaders could emerge, and some say are emerging, from a crippled gang organization like the GDs.
There are mixed results in terms of whether Larry Hoover is still calling the shots for the GDs. Some say that in spite of being in a high security federal prison, that information still gets to him, and that he still makes decisions for the gang. Some say that his power has faded given the certain fact that he can no longer micro-manage the gang in a "hands-on" free-wheeling fashion. In as much as Larry Hoover has always been able to "appoint" his henchmen in the gang to positions of leadership, it is reasonable to expect that more than some duties and assignments had to be delegated given his federal conviction. But even here, the issue is the extent to which such appointees would truly be loyal to Larry Hoover or would they, like others in similar circumstances, simply pilfer from the proverbial gang till and amass their own private power structure in the gang?
Simply inducing such disorganization and disarray into a highly centralized gang like the GDs is a prosecutorial accomplishment and a measure of the effectiveness of the prosecution itself.
IMPACT OUTSIDE OF THE CHICAGO-AREA
The impact of the federal prosecution outside of the Chicago area, which is the epicenter for the Gangster Disciples gang, appears to support the original prediction (see Journal of Gang Research, Volume 3, Number 1). Confidential information from a neighboring adult state corrections agency revealed that the single largest number of gang inmates "defecting" from their gang are in fact inmates who had previously been members of the Gangster Disciples. Data at a local law enforcement level in the same neighboring state suggests, similarly, some "fractionation" is occurring in the GD gang: some type of decentralization and autonomy now characterizes "chapters" or "factions" of the GD gang. They may improvise on the traditional codes and constitutional by-laws, etc, of the GD gang, and basically "do their own thing". This development is similar to how easy it is for a "Crip" or "Blood" gang to form: no one questions their right to use the name in a localized branch of the gang. Previously, it might have been possible for members of the GD gang to enforce local edicts and require "tribute" from local chapters of the GD gang.
So there does appear to be one very positive result of the federal prosecution of the GDs that was not anticipated in the original prediction made in this journal: in the neighboring state, the successful federal prosecution provided a "face shaving mechanism" for GDs who were prison inmates to "renounce" their gang and give up "gangbanging". The present author is therefore grateful to an adult corrections gang specialist in the neighboring state for this incredible insight. It would strongly suggest that a formal impact assessment consider this unique aspect of gang suppression in future studies.
SIMILAR DEFECTIONS OCCURRED IN A SECOND NEIGHBORING STATE IN THE JUVENILE CORRECTIONAL POPULATION
In a second neighboring state outside of Illinois, a gang specialist who works in that state's largest juvenile correctional institution provided a story that was nearly identical to what had happened in a state adult facility previously discussed above. Immediately following the successful prosecution of the GDs, in this particular juvenile institution, large numbers of GD members "flipped" or "switched" their allegiances, and joined other gangs. Some joined the Vice Lords, their historical rival and enemy gang! Remember the Vice Lords are a People or Brother gang alliance system, riding under the "five pointed star"; while the GDs were a "Folks" gang alliance system, riding under the six pointed star. Some GDs joined gangs other than the Vice Lords, but the important thing to note here is that many dropped the GD flag in order to affiliate with a gang other than the GDs.
Asked how this process worked, the gang specialist in the juvenile institution reported that "these kids are very impressionable to begin with", thus, when other gang members in the facility became aware of Larry Hoover's downfall, these other gangs would verbally harass and castigate the existing GD members to the effect "your king is gone now". This had a major effect on GD members in the juvenile correctional population. Many simply thought their enterprise was now defunct, and they "jumped ship", joining other gangs almost immediately.
SPLINTERING EFFECT OF GD's IN AURORA
Aurora, Illinois is located about an hour's drive southwest of Chicago, and is therefore in the immediate vicinity in terms of a "ripple effect" for gang impact. The report from one Gang Crime Specialist in Aurora tends to suggest that immediately following the federal prosecution of the GDs, a "splintering effect" occurred within the GD gang in Aurora. Basically, after the prosecution the GDs in Aurora split into five separate factions. That is, the GD population in Aurora decentralized itself to the neighborhood level. They still sell drugs. But now the five separate factions of the GDs are "out for themselves", they will fight each other if necessary in order to continue their focus on selling drugs. The loyalty to a centralized organizational GD structure has all but disappeared, leaving behind several fragmented and much less cohesive units of what was formerly a highly structured and centralized gang organization.
SPECIFIC DETERRENCE FUNCTION: DISINCENTIVE FOR BEING A G.D. LEADER
The federal prosecution of the GDs appears to have achieved a specific deterrence function by communicating a clear disincentive for being a gang leader in this particular gang. Offenders know that when Larry Hoover received a federal life-sentence, a life-sentence in the federal system really means "life", unlike many state systems of sentencing where persons can be eligible for parole after so many years even with a life sentence. The highly effective federal prosecution of the GDs sent a message to society that it does not pay to be involved in gangs, thus deterring others from such criminal gang involvement. But additionally it also sent a message to the larger membership base of the GD organization itself. And that message appears to be: if you want to be a GD leader, then the government will go after you.
HOW ABOUT THE POLITICAL ACTIVISM OF THE GD's IN CHICAGO?
As a necessary clarification, let it be made clear here that in no way can the GD involvement in politics be construed as legitimate political participation in their society. They were out to achieve one thing: obscure the criminal activities of their gang by conspicuously cloaking some of their activities in so-called political events. This included protests, voter registration, and slating their own candidates for local political office.
Recall that it was Larry Hoover's "defense strategy" to claim he was being prosecuted because he had his gang turned into a political machine which the status quo was threatened by. We must obviously reject such lunacy. Larry Hoover is no more a political prisoner than a common burglar or typical rapist is a political prisoner. For Larry Hoover and the GDs, political involvement was a public relations gimmick for the gang. Other gangs today fit this same profile: it is a way for them to operate in some communities by claiming they are a political group or that they are in some strange ways a "liberation" group, or like the Neta's they may claim to have the aim to "free" the "country" of Puerto Rico from American imperialist domination.
On the political front, there are mixed results from the evidence of the impact of the federal prosecution. But let us review the good news first. There appear to be four areas in which some clear impact may have been achieved.
First, it appears that the GDs are no longer able to generate as large of a mass of juvenile and young adult GD members for their protests and activities.
Secondly, the GDs through their political front groups, including "21st Century V.O.T.E." have not been able to maintain the momentum they had during the time frame shortly before and during the federal prosecution of the GDs.
Thirdly, few today would be able to be "conned" or "snowed" into thinking that the GDs are genuinely concerned about "Growth" and "Development" for their communities. Most people today know that was a scam operation, and it is unlikely that some of the abuses of the past could be easily repeated (i.e., using a Chicago Public High school for a gang leader awards ceremony such as occurred during October, 1993).
Fourth, the GDs are not able to pull together large-scale massive picnics as they did in the past; one at a park in Starved Rock, Illinois drawing 5,000 in 1992; the one on a private farm in Kankakee County, Illinois drawing about 10,000 in 1993. Thus, a dampening effect on large scale public or semi-public operations seems to have been achieved.
Having mentioned four different examples suggestive of some deflation of the political activism of the GD gang, it must also be mentioned that there is evidence of continuing GD political involvement. One of the latest developments concerns how GDs have been trying to keep the City of Chicago from demolishing certain highrises in the "projects", the Chicago Housing Authority, particularly in geographical areas where they have historically been very strong: i.e., the Robert Taylor Homes on Chicago's southside, just east of the Dan Ryan Expressway. One Chicago Gang Specialist recently reported that the GDs were trying to force CHA into turning the buildings over to them to run their "school" or community enterprises. This has not been verified, but what is a matter of public record is that some families in these same public housing complexes have refused to move out in spite of concessions made by CHA for relocation (i.e., paid moving expenses, etc).
In summation, it would appear that there is still a lingering political capability within the Chicago-based GD gang; but most of the wind has been taken out of its sail would also be the assessment of this author.
THE SPECK TAPE
The infamous "Speck Tape" is a homemade VHS video program featuring Richard Speck doing drugs and having sex with another inmate while in an Illinois prison. There is much significance to the "Speck Tape" for this assessment of the GD prosecution. First, the release of the Speck tape came during the time period of the GD prosecution. Secondly, Speck himself was under the protection of the GDs while in prison. And, now thirdly, as has been speculated for some time in gang specialist circles, the GDs appear to have played a role in the production of that very same tape.
Here is what a former institutional coordinator for the GDs told us in late 1999, when we interviewed him for purposes of this follow-up study:
"Speck paid his way through prison life...by the GDs being the largest and most serious gang in the prison system at that time, he paid for protection, he kind of stood out, he would pay by cash and sex, moving drugs for the GDs and things of that nature."
Additionally, this former leader of the GDs inside the Illinois prison system remarked that:
"I heard the theory that Larry Hoover had the tape made, but I think some people under him actually had the tape made. For some reason or another they made it for their own personal gain and it was used against them in the long run. I think the tape was being used against the IDOC and in turn it eventually backfired, not only against the GDs but all gangs operating inside IDOC."
As he explained, the Speck tape led to a "crackdown" on gangs in the Illinois Department of Corrections:
"When the tapes came out of Richard Speck, that made a big difference, then the system changed fast. The IDOC officials have changed things dramatically, no more walking in groups, things are much more restricted now, and the prison officials will use more disciplinary procedures against gang members today than they did before the tapes."
Could the Speck tape have been made by one of the "programs" of the GD organization as a way to shake-down or extort IDOC officials into giving Larry Hoover special treatment? Could it be behind the transfer of Larry Hoover to a minimum security facility? We do not know. These are speculative issues without any substantiation.
HAS LARRY HOOVER'S POWER AND AUTHORITY OVER THE GANG BEEN DIMINISHED?
Yes, and no, again a kind of mixed set of findings on this aspect of the follow-up story regarding the prosecution of the GDs. Some say it has had a substantial effect in terms of eroding the power of the "Chairman" of the GD organization. Some say that his authority is still unquestioned, and that to a limited extent, he still sets policy for the gang.
Here is what an informant with over 20 years of experience as a Gangster Disciple told us:
"He (Larry Hoover) has left people behind to follow-up on what he is doing. From my standpoint it is not worth it at all, they are going against each other, laws are not being followed that are supposed to be followed, everyone is out for themselves now."
"He (Larry Hoover) had steps in place, chairman and cochairman, and cochair had people under him; now whether people are listening to him, I don't know, but from what I have seen, I doubt it."
The best answer we have is that incapacitation has been achieved for the GD leader Larry Hoover: he is no longer able to remotely control his gang from behind bars now that he is in supermaximum federal prison custody. With a federal life sentence, Larry Hoover has nothing to lose, but he has limited ability to carry out the attention to detailed organizational administration he once had while in the Illinois prison system. His phone privileges have been dramatically curtailed, his visiting and other contacts have been substantially reduced, and he is under the watchful eyes of the Federal Bureau of Prisons which has the ability to detect any attempts at continuing illegal gang operations under his direction. Thus, he and any of his colleagues who want to risk it, do so at great peril.
HOW HAVE THINGS CHANGED INSIDE THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS SINCE THE PROSECUTION OF THE GDs?
The evidence suggests, quite impressively, that a true zero-tolerance policy is now in effect regarding gang activities in the adult state correctional institutions in Illinois. This author was very skeptical when he first heard the reports. But the evidence seems overwhelming, from all possible sources, and most importantly the gang members themselves.
Here is how one GD described the I.D.O.C. in late 1999:
"Things have changed a lot in prison....I've been in 15 years.....the gangs ran the prisons then....now the DOC runs the prisons....back then we all stuck together....things we could do back then we cannot do now.....we could have big meetings on the yard and things of that nature, now you better not get caught with two in a crowd. Back then nobody cared, the prison was like the streets you had drugs money and sex, now you don't have any of that."
Someone recently released from Stateville remarked:
"Back in the old days, you could throw up gang signs, cock your hat to the right, and no problem. Today you can get another year added on to the time you are caught in any kind of gang activity. Back then they did not care if you was throwing up gang signs and stuff like that."
Another inmate told us: "the IDOC has full control of the prison system now...you may have isolated fights now and then, but gangs are not being tolerated in the prison system anymore."
Another similar remark was this: "You had a battle field back in the old days, prior to Speck's tape, all the correctional officers wanted was to get paid for their 8 hours, they didn't care as long as it didn't hurt them; but the Speck tape raised eyebrows, the prison system now is 200 percent different. The gang rivalry is still there, it is always going to be there, but the conflict in the prison system has slowed down."
One GD reported some degree of demoralization among the GDs when Larry was convicted, but qualified it to the following effect: "it's like everybody kind of got over it, ain't nothing they can do about it, but now they are reluctant to step up to leadership because the federal government is involved in it."
Similarly, a GD made the following analogy about the effect of the federal prosecution: "The size of GDs they will always be there, but the way things are going, there are going to be fewer and fewer. Like in the Al Capone days, you will always have some type of organized crime. You will always have different groups. Like the KKK, their organization was strong at one time, but they are in deep cover today, because they know the feds are always going to be after them."
Possible Successor to Larry Hoover:
The issue of gang leadership succession arises if Larry Hoover receives a federal life sentence arising from currently pending federal charges. Who would "take over" the top position in the gang as "Chairman of the Board" in actual continued functions of the gang as an organizational entity? As the current chairman would be functionally "ex-officio" should a harsh federal penal sanction. A high ranking informant in the BGs ("Smitty", AS) was the "celly" or cellmate of Melvin Haywood AKA "Head" or "Fatty". The informant stated that Melvin Haywood may take over the GDs, as he is "next in line".
At the Cabrini Green Public Housing complex in Chicago, after the federal indictment of Larry Hoover, the GD governor for Cabrini was made a board member when he got out of p prison; when he was in the Dixon Correctional Institution, he reported right to Melvin Haywood. Leon Holton "Milkman" is said to be Melvin Haywood's main man.
As one GD told us: "No attempt has ever been made to take over Larry's function. You had a lot of bickering at the time of the Speck tape, people did things in larry's name for their own personal benefit. They never had any loyalty in the first place, it is all about personal gain now, if they can get more by turning to another organization, better money, more drugs, bigger position, they will flip to another organization, people are a scared of the federal government."
SUMMARY OF THE DOWNFALL OF THE GANGSTER DISCIPLE GANG
To a very large extent the rise and fall of the Gangster Disciple gang is a case study in organizational dynamics for a criminal enterprise. First, the gang benefited from the formalization of the gang structure, including detailed memoranda, written rules and regulations, a lengthy "code" and "creed" or constitution, and even the use of a "suggestion box" for its incarcerated members. The increase in the formality of the gang, in terms of its organizational sophistication, certainly helped position it to grow steadily over the years and expand its influence. But this organizational formality and the information that it exposed would also be the ultimate basis for the effective federal prosecution of the gang as a continuing criminal enterprise as well. So while the efforts to make the gang a more complex social organization worked to help build it to be the largest centralized criminal gang in American history, these same efforts would expose the gang and make it vulnerable to prosecution at a later time.
So one lesson to be learned from the GD gang is that the increase in organizational sophistication carries with it the possibility of increased membership and ease of membership management, but this also means a major risk in terms of the vulnerability the gang has when the same information becomes available to investigators. Thus, a criminal organization, to be effective, must be secretive in nature; so a gang that systematically releases information about itself is a gang that opens itself up to investigative scrutiny. The GD gang's feeble attempt to make itself look like something other than a criminal enterprise was obviously ineffective, i.e., hiding behind a cloak of "do-gooderism".
A second major lesson in gang etiology learned from the GD gang has to do with involvement in politics and interaction with the news media. This was a gang that wanted the "limelight" anywhere it could get it. This was a gang that was effective in manipulating politicians and undertaking their own political initiatives. This was a gang that relished the opportunity to talk with news reporters, for they thought they had the ability to manipulate the mass media, and to some extent they did, but more often than not, every time the gang made itself available to reporters, some more damaging insight would appear in a growing scandal of how a gang leader can operate his gang with impunity from behind the walls of a prison and extend the gang influence into the outside communities. This was a gang that wanted to be a form of organized crime, but still functioned as a bunch of streetwise thugs wearing white hats when they tried to "con" the mass media.
The GD's, once they started dealing with the media, made the fatal mistake of trying to "spin" their image as being something other than a gang, laying claim to being about "Growth and Development" for their community. The persons who spoke for the GDs, including Larry Hoover himself, were simply not very gifted "spinmasters". They tried to live two lives in the same shadow: being a criminal gang enterprise, and claiming to be a bunch of "do-gooders". It was inevitable that the gang would attract some hard-hitting journalists who would dig deeper for the real story about the GD gang.
So certain was Larry Hoover that he could pull-off this social construction of portraying his gang as somehow having been transformed into a "do-gooder group", that to a large extent it became his basis for a defense strategy when he went to trial on federal charges. He bargained that if he was portrayed as a political prisoner, that he could sway the hearts and minds of a jury to acquit him. It backfired in a very big way, and in retrospect was exactly the kind of thinly disguised and deceitful posturing and megalomaniacal grandstanding that a prosecutor could benefit from.
The idea that Larry Hoover was being prosecuted because he had transformed his gang into a lawful and politically active community organization was the kind of "sham" and "scam" that any person of normal intelligence could quickly see through. Members of the jury simply did not buy the scam that Larry Hoover was being persecuted by the federal government because he was a major political figure in the African-American community. It was a bizarre and counter-productive defense to the kind of criminal charges he was facing.
Some legal scholars may eventually conclude that it was equivalent to having ineffective legal representation during trial.
POST SCRIPT: WHEN WILL THE MOVIE VERSION BE OUT?
We don't know, but we have heard the rumors to this effect. The NGCRC has not be privy to such developments, but obviously the story of the GD prosecution, the "rise and fall" of the gang, its uncertain, perhaps unpredictable future, make for interesting material for a movie script. We suspect it is a matter of time, and all we can hope for is that the real story gets out. Towards that end, we have gone on record here in presenting the facts about the effect of the federal gang prosecution against the GDs.
The author welcomes comments observations from all concerned. Because, obviously as well, we have not yet written the obituary on the GDs. When there is money to be made in the underground economy of Chicago, and elsewhere, no matter how illegal it is, you can probably count on some GDs or someone just like them being involved. And that will always be the case.Do you have any additional information you would like to share with the NGCRC about this gang or some other gang that deserves an NGCRC "profile"? If so, mail your material directly to the NGCRC. The NGCRC routinely updates its gang profiles, and an important source of information are readers like you, so if you have something useful to share, please mail it to us this way, mail it and ship it by United States Postal Service to: Gang Profile/Threat Analysis Team, NGCRC, PO Box 990, Peotone, IL 60468-0990. You can do this and ask for full anonymity if you prefer.
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