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Fashion to Die For

Claim:   The Mexican Mafia is retaliating for a drug theft by killing 400 to 1,000 black men wearing white T-shirts.

UNDETERMINED

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 2005]

You guys, be careful, we have heard so much in the news and those of you that were there Bishop talked about this at the second service we had last week and we know he is on the LAPD. Pass this on to anyone that you know that has e-mail. It can't hurt and it sure could help. PRAY!!!!

Unfortunately, the word on the street (which has been confirmed by a probation officer) is that the Rolling 60's (a LA gang) stole 160 kilo's of cocaine from the Mexican Mafia. In retaliation, the Mexican Mafia and other Mexican gangs have decided to target and kill 400-1000 black men of all ages who are wearing white t-shirts. This is not limited to the freeways..... I understand that this is very real and very serious. Please pass this on to EVERYONE that you know. I suggest you do not wear any white shirts at all if possible. Also, if you have on a dress shirt, consider wearing your jacket over it....
 

Origins:   This heads-up about potential danger to those in the Los Angeles area given Target T-Shirt to wearing white T-shirts surfaced on the Internet in early May 2005. It appears to be in part fueled by the spate of freeway shootings that began on 12 March 2005 in that city and which have so far left four men dead and three wounded. Those random assaults (law enforcement officials have repeatedly said there does not appear to be a pattern to them) have left those who live and work in the City of the Angels and who are therefore fated to commute between same feeling anxious and at risk.

Yet while the freeway shootings are likely contributing to the spread of this rumor, there appears to be more at work than just a generalized feeling of anxiety finding voice through a wild tale about potential violence visited upon those who fatally make the mistake of wearing the wrong color shirt in the wrong place and at the wrong time.

Rumors of possible racial unrest tied to Cinco de Mayo have been surfacing in the Los Angeles area, causing parents in some parts of the city to want to keep their kids home from school. In response to those whispers, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has announced it is going to beef up patrols at some campuses. Some schools' principals have sent home letters with students informing them of the rumors and outlining the precautions being taken.

Officials at the LAUSD have been in early May 2005 hearing the rumors of possible violence between black and Latino students but can find nothing to give them credence. "No one has an idea where any of this started," said LAUSD Police Chief Alan Kerstein. "Parents can be sure that there is no substance anyone can find." The e-mailed warning quoted above that makes reference to intelligence gathered by a probation officer appears to have touched off the belief that a violent confrontation is imminent.

The rumors come after a series of racial brawls at several high schools across Southern California, including two outbreaks of Latino-versus-black violence at Jefferson High School in South Los Angeles in April 2005.

As to the content of the e-mailed rumor itself and the gangs it mentions, says the FBI about the Mexican Mafia (aka La Eme or The M.):
The Mexican Mafia, also known as the New Family, is a militant revolutionary group in the California Prison System. They are known to use violent and disruptive attacks against the California Department of Correction Authority. They engage in rebellion, insurrection and destruction of Prison property. This group is made up of primarily Mexican-American convicts from the barrios of East Los Angeles. They have expanded power outside of the penal facilities and are organized into ethnic groups who are trying to control narcotics, contract killings, robbery and forgery. This group is antiblack and has aligned itself with the Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacy movement
The Rolling 60's are a division of the Crips, a primarily black gang that originated in Los Angeles in the 1960s and which now has chapters in major cities across the nation. The Rolling 60's are, according to former Las Vegas police gang detective Billy James Nolen, big time drug dealers, smuggling cocaine and meth across the Mexican border at El Centro, CA. "You could have anywhere from 15-20-30 pounds of cocaine that comes across the border each time and this can happen
10-15 times a day." (The 60's bring part of their shipments to Las Vegas to sell.)

Yet racial unrest and Cinco de Mayo-related rumors aside, the fears that bloodthirsty LA gang members are randomly targeting white-clad non-gang members appears baseless. Nothing has surfaced in the news to suggest that members of the Rolling 60's have made off with a drug shipment that belonged to the Mexican Mafia, nor have gang-related homicides in Los Angeles taken a sudden jump upwards, which would have been the case if any street gang suddenly took it upon itself to murder 400 to 1000 males of what it perceived to be the wrong skin color or sartorial display.

Also, given that the Crips' signature color is blue (that of their avowed enemies, The Bloods, is red), it would not make sense that a retribution aimed at one of its chapters would target not only non-Crips, but ones dressed in white rather than in the Crip-associated hue.

Barbara "color me skeptical" Mikkelson

Last updated:   12 July 2011

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Sources:

    Allen, Brian.   "Rolling 60's Trafficking Drugs Into Las Vegas."
    8 Eyewitness News [KLAS-TV].   4 February 2005.

    Lait, Matt and Jennifer Oldham.   "Driver Shot on 405 in Valley."
    Los Angeles Times.   2 May 2005   (p. B1).

    Shields, Nicholas.   "L.A. Schools Increase Patrols After Rumors."
    Los Angeles Times.   5 May 2005.

    KABC-TV Los Angeles.   "Officials Reassure Parents: Safe to Send Kids to LAUSD Schools."
    5 May 2005.