by Eric Hunter
On April 29, 2023, the people of Watts came together in commemoration of the 31st
anniversary of the historic 1992 Gang Truce during the LA Rebellions. The LA Rebellions
kicked off in response to multiple incidents of police terrorism and racist anti-Black violence. The acquittal of the four police officers who brutally beat Rodney King by LAPD and the extremely light sentence received by the murderer of Latasha Harlins were two major factors that lit the fuse to the Rebellions.
When most people speak about the 1992 LA Rebellions, usually the first thing that comes to
mind is the burning and looting, or the incident where the trucker driver was hit with a brick on
Florence and Normandie in South Central LA. Not too many people know about the historic
Gang Truce that took place in Watts during the developmental stages of the Rebellions.
Since this part of history is often overlooked, it’s only right that I share my thoughts based on my experiences and observations of this event. But first allow me to provide a historical backdrop to give the readers a clear understanding of what took place.
The historic peace treaty was negotiated at Masjid Al Rasul on Central Avenue right outside of the notorious Nickerson Gardens Projects, home of The Bounty Hunter Bloods. Daude Sherrills was the architect and organizer of the Gang Truce. He is a pillar of the Watts community and he comes from the notorious Jordan Downs Project, home of The Grape Street Crips.
Grape Street Crips and Bounty Hunter Bloods have been in a deadly fratricidal tribal war with each other for decades. Other major hoods like Hacienda Village Bloods and Imperial Court PJ Watts Crips were also a part of the Gang Truce.
The Truce was the action of bringing the rival street tribes together and the treaty was the declaration of why they came together. The treaties were rooted in stopping Black on Black violence and combating police brutality. The murder of Henry Peco in Imperial Courts had a major impact on the momentum of the 1992 Watts Gang Truce. Jim Brown, who just recently transitioned to the ancestral realms, also played a major role in the truce with his Amer-I-Can Foundation.
The seeds that were planted in this movement of unity sprouted into strong fruits of resistance from the streets to the prisons and back to the streets. Many of the same key figures who were involved in the intricate internal framework of the 1992 Watts Gang Truce were targeted, captured and incarcerated on trumped-up charges or direct physical altercations with the racist LAPD. The consciousness that was developed over the years laid the foundation for a new generation Black Panther Party formation called the Black Riders Liberation Party in YTS (Youth Training School) gang prison Chino, California, in 1996.
In 1997 Darryl “Chubby Hood” was gunned down by LAPD in Jordan Downs Projects. In a LA Times article it said that he would get in between gangs from Jordan Downs and Nickerson Gardens and keep a fight from escalating into a shootout. He had loved ones from both street tribes, so when he was murdered by LAPD it brought rival hoods together to directly confront the police.
Community members and grassroots organizers of the 1992 Watts Gang Truce marched through all the projects in Watts along with members of Black Riders Liberation Party, Bloods, Crips, Nation of Islam and Shiite Muslims from Masjid Al Rasul. They marched to the police station after the courts ruled the murder of Chubby Hood a “justifiable homicide.” It was this type of action that developed an updated version of the Black Panther Party’s community alert patrol known as the Watch-a-Pig program. This is the type of atmosphere that the 1992 Watts Gang Truce created.
I was honored to attend this event to commemorate this historic day of unity. All the car clubs came out with their lowriders. We all gathered at the historic Watts train station. There were vendors selling merchandise. There was food and music. A few speakers shared the testimonial tales of transformation about growing from being an active gang member to working in gang violence intervention.
There were people promoting mental health awareness. Many parents and families of loved ones who were casualties of the gang warfare were there to fellowship and heal with each other.
I’ve participated in this tradition for the last three years. One year when I attended this gathering, the theme was The Global Day of Compassion. Another time I went to this event, it took place at Ted Watkins Park, but it’s all in the same spirit of love, unity and power. I enjoyed getting a chance to meet up with some of my comrades from The Black Riders Liberation Party that I haven’t seen in a while. We got a chance to catch up, reflect on a few goals we accomplished and strategize for the future.
I’m definitely inspired to carry out the necessary tasks of creating ceasefires amongst rival turfs and cliques in Oakland as well as the rest of the Bay Area. We have been in denial about the tribal fratricide that occurs in the Bay because we don’t have the same type of gang bang culture that the Bloods and Crips have in LA.
However, if these gangs of LA can unite against the most common direct enemy of any hood, the police, then there’s no doubt in my mind that we can do the same in the birthplace of the Black Panther Party. See, the Crips and Bloods have grown into a global phenomenon. They emerged from the ashes of The Black Panther Party after the FBI launched COINTELPRO operations to divide, conquer and neutralize them.
The Black Panther Party is also a global phenomenon. The spirit of the Panther is the cure for the Black tribal and fratricidal cancer. From the Bay to LA, we can set the proper example and influence the trend across the globe. Operation Panther Planet coming to a hood near you!
RIP Black Ice
RIP T Rodgers
RIP Sanyika Shakur
RIP Jim Brown
Long Live The Spirit of The Historic Watts Gang Truce of 1992.
Journalist Eric Hunter (E Da Ref), an Oakland native, is Minister of Public Relations for the Black Riders Liberation Party and Co-Editor of African Intercommunal News Service. He writes for Black New World Media and the SF Bay View’s Oakland Bureau headed by JR Valrey. Hunter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.