Police Raid On the Almighty Latin King
& Queen Nation:
Outrageous Use of Police Power
to Suppress Political Opposition
Revolutionary Worker #959, May 31, 1998
Before dawn on May 14, 1,000 heavily armed police and Federal agents swept down on homes across the city, arresting 94 people they say are members of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation (Latin Kings). This was one of the largest coordinated raids since Prohibition in the 1920s! The police openly admit that their main target was the leader of the Latin Kings, Antonio Fernandez, known as King Tone, and bragged that the raid was a "crippling blow." What is behind this? Why are the authorities intent on crushing this group? And why do people need to oppose and condemn this attack?
No matter what the authorities say, this raid was NOT about drugs. The Latin Kings street organization, for the last couple of years, has been speaking out on one of the biggest problems the people face--the GANG IN BLUE that is terrorizing the people. The Kings stood side-by-side in angry protest with people in the Bronx when the outrageous acquittal of Officer Livoti came down in 1996. (Livoti choked Anthony Baez to death after Baez's football hit Livoti's patrol car.) They marched with tens of thousands to protest the police rape and torture of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima. They took part in Racial Justice Day demonstrations. And King Tone gave a strong speech to the second National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality on October 22, 1997.
These are the real "crimes" for which the system has targeted them--the excuses the police give are paper thin. They claim to have seized 4 kilos of drugs (8 lbs). There is no reason at all to believe this--an organization that controls the scale of drug trade managed each day by the NYPD is quite capable of framing their enemies by planting drugs and lying. But even if every word of this were true, it would be penny ante, vastly less than the tons of cocaine brought into the U.S. by the CIA and their Contra allies. It's just not what this attack was about.
In the NY Times (May 15) the police accuse the Latin Kings of being "tightly organized," having "strict rules, codes of conduct and even applications for membership." Are these now crimes for oppressed people? And what are these "strict rules"? Among them are the following: "A member must tell the truth at all times." "A member must not steal," and "A Latino is always ready to die with dignity and honor for our Latino race. Latin Kings are people with morals and principles, with honor, dignity and pride." (From basic documents of the Latin Kings, cited in New York Magazine.)
Last Thursday's raid, under the guise of stopping drugs and violence, was a violent use of police power to try and cripple a group that has been actively criticizing the police and the system. When coordinated police raids on this scale begin to happen against political opponents, it is "heads-up time" for all justice-loving people. The city must not be allowed to hide high-powered acts of vicious repression behind a smokescreen of a phony war on gangs.
The New York City Branch of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP, USA) calls on all those who side with the people, or who believe in the right of political dissent, to strongly condemn this police action. We support the efforts of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation to transform their organization into one that serves the people. We pledge to expose this attack and to support efforts to defend those arrested.
Revolutionary Communist Party, USA--
New York City Branch,
May 20, 1998.
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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