Yesterday we were among the first to break the story on Blood and Crip gang “truce” agreements, brokered in large part by leaders from the Nation of Islam in Baltimore. But no sooner than our report began going viral, the Baltimore Police Department seized on this as an opportunity to demonize those groups, and claim that the truce was all about bringing harm to them.
In spite of the police press release to this effect, there was nothing said by any representatives of the Bloods, Crips, Black Guerrilla Family or any other gang that would have given the police any reason to believe this.
In fact, when we spoke with a local contact involved in this peace-brokering, they said that they were calling for “protests but not destruction of the community.”
Now, several Blood and Crip members are making the rounds in the local, Baltimore media to clarify the position of the groups involved in the truce, and to debunk what they call the “lies” of the Baltimore Police Department, related to all of this.
At an event in a local church shown in a Baltimore Sun video, a man named Charles Shelley, who described himself as a member of the Crips, wrapped his arm around a self-described Bloods member named Jamal, calling for unity in the aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray. Both of them clarified that this call for unity was never a call for looting or burning businesses, and the police who said as much were simply lying because they are terrified of the gangs coming together rather than fighting one another.
But only hours earlier, the Baltimore Police Department had issued warnings that said members of “various gangs,” including the Bloods, Crips, and Black Guerrilla Family, are planning to “team up” in order to attack officers.
Where did they hear this? Certainly not from the gang leaders involved in the truce, nor did they hear it from the Nation of Islam members who were out keeping peace on the streets when the police failed to.
“We not here for nobody to get hurt,” Charles told a local Baltimore Sun reporter.
“We don’t want nobody to get hurt. All that about the police getting hurt by certain gangs, that’s false. We not here for that. We here to protect our community, and that’s it. We don’t want no trouble. We’re doing this because we don’t want trouble.”
“The police department hate to see us right now,” Jamal said.
(Article by M. David and Shante Wooten)