Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Justice For Alex Sanchez


Yesterday morning, Sanchez was indicted by the Feds for allegedly conspiring to assassinate a MS-13 leader in El Salvador. Don’t believe the damn hype.

Those of you who have read Can’t Stop Won’t Stop already know of the story of Alex Sanchez, the ex-MS-13 turned gang peacemaker who ran afoul of the notoriously corrupt LAPD Rampart Division.

(This Division was the one whose street task force officers colluded with gang leaders to sell drugs on the streets. One of them, David Mack, was on Suge Knight’s payroll and has been fingered as a possible suspect in the murder of Biggie Smalls. He was finally convicted for his role in a bank heist masterminded amongst Rampart cops.)

Because Sanchez was trying to stop gang warfare in the area and get gang members to get out of the life, he was harrassed by both the Feds and the LAPD. He was held in an immigration jail for months while he was threatened to be deported. After a massive grass-roots campaign, Alex won his freedom back and was granted political asylum.

Authorities are still trying to exact a high price on Sanchez for his work on human rights and gang peace.

But the media is not offering context, instead its editorial angles appear to be trying to discrediting Homies Unidos’ urgent work.

I couldn’t have put it better than Roberto Lovato does in this important editorial:

I for one do not believe the charges. Rather, I think that these recent accusations are but the most recent in the long, rotten chain of attempts by law enforcement officials to frame Alex, who was regularly beaten, framed, falsely arrested, deported, and harassed by the Los Angeles Police Department since founding Homies Unidos in 1998. First and foremost, I spent the evening calling those who know and have worked most closely with him, and they ALL share that sense that, as one of his best friends told me, “He really is a good person.” I’ve known him for years and will be sending a strongly worded support letter like the many I’ve sent over the course of the many years and many frame-ups law enforcement has ravenously pursued. Those close to Homies and Alex know and are again feeling that cloud of anger and concern that comes with being harassed by authorities abusing the power delegated to them.

Also, Alex is alleged to have conspired to kill Walter Lacinos, who sources in the Salvadoran and gang communities tell me had, in the words of one gang expert interviewed, “many, many enemies in the U.S.-and El Salvador.” While most of charges levelled against most of the the 24 other plaintiffs point to physical acts and evidence, the one and most serious indictment (see full indictment here)naming Alex alleges that he participated in “a series of phone conversations” in which the possibility of killing Lacinos is discussed. No proof is offered to corroborate the charges relating to managing narcotics operations for MS.

Lastly, the sensationalistic judgements of many media and some law enforcement officials raises serious concerns, as well. Close scrutiny of the media coverage reveals an definite disposition to judge and convict Alex even before his trial begins. For example, almost all of the coverage follows uncritically the logic laid out in the indictment. No attempt is made to notice that, for example, Alex is not named in most of the 66-page indicment. Other plaintiff’s names appear throughout. Those reading reporting in the LA Times and other outlets might come away believing that Alex might be involved in the murder of seven people or in conspiring to kill another 8. Consider this note from today’s LA Times:

The arrests cap a three-year investigation into the gang and its cliques, which operated in the Lafayette Park area, west of downtown. Among the most serious allegations contained in a 16-count federal indictment unsealed today was the claim gang members conspired to murder veteran LAPD gang officer Frank Flores.

Those named in the indictment include Alex Sanchez, a nationally recognized anti-gang leader and executive director of Homies Unidos.

Notice how there’s zero attempt to clarify or give greater context to Alex’s story, even though he headlines most of these stories. Even worse is the way that law enforcement authorities like L.A. Police Chief Bill Bratton, who the Times tells us has a big “I told you so” for the city, use Alex’s case to build the case for punitive-and failed-anti-gang policies, LAPD Chief William J. Bratton said the Sanchez case reinforces the thinking behind the city’s efforts to consolidate and more strongly regulate anti-gang funding.

Read Roberto’s entire piece for links to the indictment and much more. He literally blows up the FBI’s case and the media coverage point-by-point.

As we did back then, we will do now. We’ll keep you up-to-date on the case, and let you know of what we can do to secure justice for Alex Sanchez and the peacemakers of Pico/Union.

posted by @ 9:35 am | 5 Comments

5 Responses to “Justice For Alex Sanchez”

  1. Daniel says:

    Thank you for spreading the word and important context & analysis about Alex Sanchez and his arrest yesterday. Don’t stop…


  2. Chaz says:

    It’s nice of u putting it in here…. I had enough of LAPD… Regardless of their intended “noble” works to be heroes for majority, seems like they never did the same for minorities or those who are in between…

  3. Jeff Chang says:

    Alex was denied bail yesterday but the case against him looks incredibly thin. Here are links to Tom Hayden’s updates:

    + Alex Sanchez’s Arrest

    + Alex Sanchez Denied Bail

  4. it’s funny how suge knight is involved..when tupac was in jail he organized and help write the infamous code of the streets which was a peace agreement between the crips and bloods in jails which resonated with the streets…but a code to live by….a man who created peace died…alex a man who created peace arrested by the FBI known for their matters with coutelpro and again in 2009. For me it’s all part of the larger strategy against peacemakers and community organizers. When you are up and doing the best you can do for your community and family is when the government feels threatened and needs to take you down. It is not okay for what has happened to Alex, it is not okay for Tupac having to die, it is not okay for the Black Panthers to have gone down, and not okay for the CRIPS (Community Revolution In Progress) and the BLOODS (Brotherly Love Overriding Our Depression) to have been infiltrated by drugs, guns and violence, all produced by the FBI, Police, Government (War on Drugs Regan Days) for all of us to go down. Tookie Williams was just killed on death row two years ago after becoming the founder of the CRIPS to die in jail as a peacemaker. This is all part of the larger picture of having people of color communities not get along, just kill each other, get locked up and since 1996 circa 2001 get deported. Where is the peace? and When will we be allowed to make it?

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