Raymond Washington

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Raymond Washington
Raymond Lee Washington - mugshot.gif
1974 mugshot of Raymond Washington
Raymond Lee Washington

(1953-08-14)August 14, 1953
DiedAugust 9, 1979(1979-08-09) (aged 25)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Known for Criminal activity and founding the Crips

Raymond Lee Washington (August 14, 1953 – August 9, 1979) was an American gangster, known as the founder of the Crips gang in Los Angeles, California. [1] Washington formed the Crips as a minor street gang in the late 1960s in Los Angeles' South Central area, becoming a prominent local crime boss. In 1971, Washington formed an alliance with Stanley "Tookie" Williams, establishing the Crips as the first major African-American street gang in Los Angeles, and served as one of the co-leaders. In 1974, Washington was convicted of robbery and received a five-year prison sentence, during which his leadership and influence in the Crips declined.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

A gangster is a criminal who is a member of a gang. Some gangs are considered to be part of organized crime. Gangsters are also called mobsters, a term derived from mob and the suffix -ster. Gangs provide a level of organization and resources that support much larger and more complex criminal transactions than an individual criminal could achieve. Gangsters have been active for many years in countries around the world.

Crips street gang founded in Los Angeles, California

The Crips are a gang based in the coastal regions of southern California. They were founded in Los Angeles, California in 1969 mainly by Raymond Washington and Stanley Williams. Once a single alliance between two autonomous gangs, they are now a loosely connected network of individual "sets", often engaged in open warfare with one another. Its members traditionally wear blue clothing, a practice that has waned somewhat due to police crackdowns specifically targeting gang members. Historically, members have been primarily of African-American heritage.


On August 9, 1979, Washington was murdered in a drive-by shooting shortly after his release from prison. [2] [3]

A drive-by shooting is a type of assault that usually involves the perpetrator firing a weapon from within a motor vehicle and then fleeing. Drive-by shootings allow the perpetrator(s) to quickly strike their target and flee the scene before law enforcement is able to respond.


Early life

Raymond Lee Washington was born in Los Angeles, California, on August 14, 1953, the youngest of four sons to Violet Samuel and Reginald Washington. [4] His parents separated when he was two years old, and he was raised by his mother and stepfather. He grew up on East 76th Street, between Wadsworth Avenue and Central Avenues in Los Angeles' South Central. [1] Washington had a half-brother, Derard S. Barton, from his mother's second marriage.

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America.

California State of the United States of America

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second and fifth most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.

Marital separation occurs when spouses in a marriage stop living together without getting divorced. Married couples may separate as an initial step in the divorce process or to gain perspective on the marriage to determine if a divorce is warranted. Other couples may separate as an alternative to divorce for economic or religious reasons, for tax purposes, or to ensure continuing retirement and/or health insurance benefits for both spouses. A separation can be initiated informally, or there can be a legal separation with a formal separation agreement filed with the court. As for a divorce, the latter may include provisions for alimony, whether to have sole custody or shared parenting of any children, and the amount of child support.

According to neighbours of Washington, he developed an affinity for fist fighting as an adolescent, and was constantly in trouble with the Los Angeles Police Department for various offenses. Washington's mother is quoted as saying, "Raymond was a good kid when he was a boy. Raymond didn't go out of his way to fight or do anything bad, but if someone came to him, he would protect himself. And he was well built. He tried to protect the community and keep the bad guys out. But after a while, every time I looked up, the police were coming to the house looking for Raymond." [1] Some neighbors remembered Washington differently: Lorrie Griffin Moss, who resided across the street from Washington on E 76th Street, said, "I don't have a whole lot of good to say about Raymond. Raymond was a bully. A muscular bully. He wouldn't let anybody from outside our neighborhood bother us. He would bother us. Raymond could be very mean." [1] A friend stated that Washington was a good football player, but never participated as a member of school sports team due to his poor grades. Washington was repeatedly expelled from schools resulting in frequent transfers, attending Locke High School, John C. Fremont High School, an alternative school attached to Washington Preparatory High School, and Fairfax High School in the Fairfax District near West Hollywood.

Boxing combat sport

Boxing is a combat sport in which two people, usually wearing protective gloves, throw punches at each other for a predetermined amount of time in a boxing ring.

Adolescence transitional stage of physical and psychological development that generally occurs during the period from puberty to legal adulthood

Adolescence is a transitional stage of physical and psychological development that generally occurs during the period from puberty to legal adulthood. Adolescence is usually associated with the teenage years, but its physical, psychological or cultural expressions may begin earlier and end later. For example, puberty now typically begins during preadolescence, particularly in females. Physical growth and cognitive development can extend into the early twenties. Thus, age provides only a rough marker of adolescence, and scholars have found it difficult to agree upon a precise definition of adolescence.

Los Angeles Police Department municipal police department in California

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), officially the City of Los Angeles Police Department, is the police department of Los Angeles, California. With 9,988 officers and 2,869 civilian staff, it is the third-largest municipal police department in the United States, after the Chicago Police Department and the New York City Police Department. The department operates in an area of 498 square miles (1,290 km2) and a population of 4,030,904 people.

Gang involvement

In the late 1960s, there was a dramatic increase in youth crime in Los Angeles, particularly in and around South Central's Watts neighborhood. Crime was especially prevalent in the three housing projects located in Watts, known as "the Bricks": Imperial Courts, Nickerson Gardens, and Jordan Downs, where violent street robberies were common among adolescent criminals. Older African-American street gangs in South Central like the Slausons, the Businessmen, and the Gladiators, had been ended by activist groups such as the Black Panther Party and the US Organization. The absence of the old gangs saw numerous new youth gangs begin to form in their place, including the Sportsmans Park, New House Boys, Acey Duecy, and Chain Gang, on West Side.

Juvenile delinquency Illegal behavior by minors

Juvenile delinquency, also known as "juvenile offending", is the act of participating in unlawful behavior as minors. Most legal systems prescribe specific procedures for dealing with juveniles, such as juvenile detention centers and courts, with it being common that juvenile systems are treated as civil cases instead of criminal, or a hybrid thereof to avoid certain requirements required for criminal cases. A juvenile delinquent in the United States is a person who is typically below 18 years of age and commits an act that otherwise would have been charged as a crime if they were an adult. Depending on the type and severity of the offense committed, it is possible for people under 18 to be charged and treated as adults.

Watts, Los Angeles Neighborhood of Los Angeles in California, United States

Watts is a neighborhood in southern Los Angeles, California. It is located within the South Los Angeles region, bordering the cities of Lynwood and South Gate to the east and southeast, respectively, and the unincorporated community of Willowbrook to the south.

Public housing residential properties owned by a government

Public housing is a form of housing tenure in which the property is owned by a government authority, which may be central or local.

Washington, a native of the East Side in his early teens during the rise of the gangs, joined a local street gang called The Avenues, led by another teenager named Craig Munson. At age 15, Washington beat up Munson's younger brother in fist fight after discovering Munson had put a gun to his older brother, Reggie Washington. After the fight, Washington and one of his other older brothers, Ronald Joe, confronted Munson on the corner of E 81st Street and Avalon Boulevard. According to former gang members who knew Washington at the time, he was subsequently beaten up by Craig Munson in retaliation for his younger brother's beating, and Washington left The Avenues. In late 1969, Washington organized his own gang called the Baby Avenues, recruiting a group of other neighborhood youths in South Central. The Baby Avenues wanted to emulate a gang of older youths called The Avenue Boys, which had been active since 1964 on Central Avenue.

The Crips

By 1969, the Baby Avenues had re-branded themselves as The Crips, derived from Reggie Washington's nickname, and the size of the gang had grown rapidly. Fist fighting was the primary method of combat used by street gangs in Los Angeles at the time, and Washington developed a reputation as one of the best fist fighters in South Central's East Side. Washington used his fighting prowess to gain respect and fear from other gang members in the East Side, establishing himself as the natural leader of Crips, and used his reputation to influence smaller African-American youth gangs to join. This resulted in a network of Crip sets (subgroups) across the East Side, including the Avalon Gardens Crips, the Eastside Crips, the Inglewood Crips, under Washington's ultimate control.

Unification of South Central gangs

In 1971, Washington approached Stanley "Tookie" Williams, a similar gang leader from South Central's West Side who used his reputation as a fist fighter to unite gangs under his control, at Washington Preparatory High School where both were attending. Washington had heard of Williams through a mutual friend, who had informed Washington of Williams' toughness and his willingness to fight members of larger, more established street gangs such as the L.A. Brims and the Chain Gang. According to Williams' account of the meeting, what struck him about Washington was that, besides being incredibly muscular, he and his cohort were dressed similar to Williams and his clique, wearing leather jackets with starched Levi's jeans and suspenders. Washington proposed to Williams they form a confederation of the gangs under their influence in their respective areas along with another teenage gang leader called Mac Thomas in Compton, to form a single large street gang. The proposal would see Williams' gangs adopt the Crip branding and would be allied with other Crip gangs outside of the West Side, but would retain ultimate leadership in the East Side. Williams accepted Washington's proposal, uniting the West Side gangs under his influence as the West Side Crips.

Stanley Williams American criminal

Stanley Tookie Williams III was an American gangster, known as one of the original founders and leaders of the Crips gang in Los Angeles, California. In 1971, Williams and Raymond Washington formed an alliance establishing the Crips as the first major African-American street gang in South Central Los Angeles. Williams became the de facto leader and the prominent crime boss in South Central in the 1970s. In 1979, Williams was convicted for the murder of four people during two robberies, and was sentenced to death. The highly publicized trial of Williams and extensive appeals for clemency sparked debate on the status of the death penalty in California.

Levi Strauss & Co. American clothing company

Levi Strauss & Co. is an American clothing company known worldwide for its Levi's brand of denim jeans. It was founded in May 1853 when German immigrant Levi Strauss came from Buttenheim, Bavaria, to San Francisco, California to open a west coast branch of his brothers' New York dry goods business. Today's Levi's are made overseas, and there is only one line of jeans made in the US, in Greensboro, NC. The company's corporate headquarters is located in the Levi's Plaza in San Francisco.

A confederation is a union of sovereign states, united for purposes of common action often in relation to other states. Usually created by a treaty, confederations of states tend to be established for dealing with critical issues, such as defense, foreign relations, internal trade or currency, with the general government being required to provide support for all its members. Confederalism represents a main form of inter-governmentalism, this being defined as any form of interaction between states which takes place on the basis of sovereign independence or government.

The Crips quickly established themselves as the largest street gang in Los Angeles, with increasing numbers and territory as their influence spread across low-income black neighborhoods. Washington, Williams and Thomas effectively held a monopoly on criminal activity in these areas, and became the dominant crime bosses. Street gangs that had resisted being absorbed into the Crips soon formed their own confederate alliance, the Bloods, to protect their independence and their interests in the criminal market. The founding of the Bloods sparked an instant rivalry between the new large gangs that saw a surge in violent crime in Los Angeles, as neighboring Crip and Blood sets began using increasing violence to fight over territory and personal feuds. With the rise of media coverage, which put these new violent gangs on the front page, soon many disaffected black youths were running to join the Crips, many without ever being contacted by gang leaders. One story at the time stated: [5]

One of the gangs, in the area is known as the Crips/ which started out at Washington High School as an extortion and terror organization and spread to other schools where the gang members enrolled after being expelled from Washington, the police said.

The Police also said that this gang has been spreading "like an octopus" and now has members throughout South-Central Los Angeles, Inglewood, Gardena, Compton, Lynwood, Lancaster, Palmdale, the Firestone [unincorporated] area and the San Fernando Valley.

Gang members, to identify themselves, wear black gloves on their left hands and gold-colored earrings in their left ears, which are pierced, according to police. They sometimes carry canes, which they use as weapons.

There are two stories circulating on the derivation of the word Crips. One is that it stands for a cripple, because some of the founders were injured and had to carry canes for a time. The other is that the founders once wore Afro-style hairdos and their parents made them "crip it."[ citation needed ]

Within a few years, much of the original Crip leadership were either imprisoned or dead. On February 23, 1973, Curtis "Buddha" Morrow, a close friend of Tookie Williams and a high-ranking Crip enforcer, was shot to death in South Central following a petty argument. Mac Thomas was murdered under mysterious circumstances in the mid-1970s.

Robbery conviction

In 1974, 21-year-old Washington was arrested for second-degree robbery and sentenced to five years' imprisonment at the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, becoming the first Crip to be incarcerated there. Washington was unpopular among the prison population as he began to recruit young African-American inmates into the Crips, much to the disapproval of established black prison groups like the Black Muslims and the Black Guerrilla Family. According to a former inmate who was housed at Deuel with Washington, the Black Muslims and the Black Guerrilla Family were aware of the spread of the Crips in Los Angeles, and warned Washington that they would not tolerate the formation of Crips in the prison. Washington faced another problem while serving time at Deuel: as the Crips murdered rival gang members on the streets of Los Angeles, inmates at Deuel who were relatives of victims held Washington responsible for their deaths. Greg "Batman" Davis, a friend of Washington and an original Crips member, stated "People in the prisons was losing their loved ones on the streets and because Raymond was the founder of the Crips, they blamed him for it. And since Raymond was the only Crip up there (at Deuel) at the time, they were trying to kill him."[ citation needed ]

In 1979, Washington was released from prison after serving his sentence and returned to Los Angeles. Reportedly, Washington was shocked to discover that the violent war between the Crips, Bloods, and Hispanic gangs had escalated to the point that fighting using firearms, as opposed to fist fighting, was now normal. Over the next few months, Washington became disillusioned with the Crips as the gang committed more violent and senseless crimes, with new recruits seeking to build their reputations.[ citation needed ] Since Washington's imprisonment, the organization had totally broken down into loosely-affiliated decentralized sets that often fought each other, as the Crips' original leadership had disappeared. Tookie Williams, the last remaining original Crips leader, served as the de facto leader during Washington's imprisonment. Williams had been injured in a drive-by shooting in 1976, and developed a growing addiction to PCP that caused his authority to wane until he was arrested for four counts of homicide shortly before Washington was released. According to law enforcement, former gang members and close friends, Washington had decided that the Crips needed to be brought back under one umbrella organization to stop infighting, and then to work towards a truce with the Bloods.[ citation needed ] Upon realizing he no longer held influence in the gang, Washington started to distance himself from the Crips.


At around 10:00 p.m. on August 9, 1979, twenty-five-year-old Washington was murdered in a drive-by shooting on the corner of E 64th Street and S San Pedro Street in South Central Los Angeles, and was rushed to Morningside Hospital where he died while undergoing emergency surgery.[ citation needed ] No suspects have been arrested, and Washington's murder remains unsolved. It was reported that Washington was hanging out on the corner when a car pulled up and the unidentified occupants called him over to the car. Washington's associates, as well as the police, were aware he would never walk up to cars of people that he did not know, and most likely knew the occupants of the vehicle as he told an acquaintance that he knew them. Washington engaged in a brief conversation with them before the occupant in the passenger seat drew a sawed-off shotgun and shot him in the abdomen.[ citation needed ]

See also

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  2. Alonso, Alex A. (October 9, 2010). Death Certificate of Raymond Washington. Los Angeles: streetgangs.com.
  3. Fortier, Zach (2015-02-09). I Am Raymond Washington. SSP. pp. 159-160 and Picture 8-4. ISBN   0692359877 . Retrieved 2018-05-06.
  4. California Birth Index, Name: Raymond Lee Washington, Birth Date: Aug. 14, 1953 and September 8, 1953, Gender: Male, Mother's Maiden Name: Samuel, Birth County: Los Angeles.
  5. "Crips". Lycos.com. Archived from the original on December 28, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-15.