FBI Agent Discusses Los Angeles Anti-Gang Initiative

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I don’t see myself separate form a lot of
people that I work with and a lot of the people that I’ve met in the community. I see myself
as one of them. I used to be one of them. I grew up in the inner city. I grew up in
foster care. I grew up in places where violence was rife and graffiti was everywhere and gangs
were everywhere and drugs was everywhere. Again, I personally was involved in that to
some extent as a youngster but I realized very early that that was not for me. I am the son of a murdered father. My father
was a nightclub owner. And he worked for the mob. He ran nightclubs for the mob. And girls
and numbers and drugs and that whole life. And that’s what my father did. He was murdered when I was 12 years old. I
was the last one to see him alive. And I knew that my life had to matter. My
life had to count. And I can relate so much to what these kids go through and what these
kids see and the violence they see every day. A story I like to tell is when I was a local
police officer we conducted a search warrant. We went into the house and were yelling at
everyone to get on the ground and we used diversionary devices, which are loud flash-bang-type
devices. And when I got up to the bedroom to finish clearing the house there were two
young children that were asleep in bed. They never woke up. So it just said to me, what are they dealing
with every day that they would not wake up when law enforcement entered the residence
and yelling at everyone to get on the ground and using diversionary devices. What do they
see every day? What do they go through every day? Well, I was able to answer that question very
easily because I knew what I saw every day growing up as a small child. And the impact
that that had on me and how I grew up and the things that I was able to escape from,
I guess you could say, really empowers me to go back and to give back. The richest man, I believe, is the one that
gives back, not the one that takes. And when they see me, I want to stand as an
example that you, too, can come from this environment, that you can make mistakes, you
can fall down, that you can get back up, that you can correct your life, and you can do
the right things. You can work hard and you can go to school. I have a college education. I have a bachelor’s
degree, a master’s degree, and a PhD. So, you can acquire an education. You can acquire
a set of life skills that will allow you to go on in your life and be successful.

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