Sanyika Shakur

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Sanyika Shakur
Born (1963-11-13) November 13, 1963 (age 50)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Other names Kody Scott, Monster
Occupation author/writer, speaker
Criminal penalty
imprisonment of six years
Criminal status paroled, August 2012
Children , Keonda Scott, Sanyika Shakur, Jr.
Parents Ernest Scott, Birdie Scott
Conviction(s) armed robbery, assault, illegal possession of a weapon, parole violation

Sanyika Shakur (born Kody Dehjon Scott; November 13, 1963),[1] also known by his former street moniker Monster, is a former member of the Los Angeles gang the Eight Tray Gangster Crips.[2] He got his nickname as a 13-year-old gang member when he beat and stomped a robbery victim until he was disfigured.[3][4] Shakur claimed to have reformed in prison, joined the Republic of New Afrika movement, and wrote an acclaimed autobiography called Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member, which was first published in 1993.

Monster describes how Shakur was drawn into gang life, his experiences as a gangster both on the street and in prisons, and eventually his transformation into a Black nationalist.

Shakur spent 36 months at San Quentin State Prison and five years at Pelican Bay State Prison, most of which was spent in solitary confinement, where he converted to Islam.[5]

In March 2007, Shakur, already sought by police for parole violations and named on the city's most-wanted gang members list, was arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department for allegedly breaking into the home of an acquaintance and beating him in order to steal his car. The charges represent a possible third strike that could send Shakur back to prison for life.[3] In May 2008 Shakur pleaded no contest to carjacking and robbery charges, and was sentenced to six years in state prison.[6] Also in 2008, Shakur made his fiction debut with the publication of T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E. (Grove Atlantic Books). He was released from Pelican Bay after serving two thirds of his 6 year sentence in August 2012.

Early life[edit]

Kody Dehjon Scott was born in Los Angeles, California on November 13, 1963 to Ernest Scott and Birdie Canada, both from Houston, Texas. Kody was the fifth of six children, including four brothers and two sisters. Kody claims to be the son of former Los Angeles Rams running back Dick Bass, and that he was conceived during an adulterous affair that his mother was having with the football star, a claim for which there is no compelling evidence. Ernest Scott held a bitter resentment towards Birdie's affair and physically abused his wife regularly throughout Kody's early childhood.

Ernest Scott physically and emotionally abused Kody, routinely beating him and showing deliberate favoritism towards his biological children over Kody, which included taking the other children out to dinners, movies and trips to his hometown of Houston and intentionally leaving Kody behind. In 1970, Ernest and Birdie Scott divorced and for the next five years, Ernest Scott would visit the family on weekends but still openly displayed contempt for young Kody.

In 1972, Birdie Scott moved her family into a house on W 69th St and Denker Ave in a very rough and gang-infested neighborhood on the west side of South Central Los Angeles. According to Kody Scott, his first encounter with street gangs occurred at age ten when he was assaulted by two thirteen-year-olds who stole his money. Because Birdie Scott worked several jobs to support her large family as well as the neglect that he received from Ernest Scott, young Kody would often hang out on the streets of his new neighborhood. It was around this time that Kody began hanging around his neighbor Stanley Tookie Williams, leader of the West Side Crips street gang.

In his autobiography " Blue Rage, Black Redemption " Tookie Williams recalls the occasions where he and other adult members of the Crips would smoke PCP and lift weights at Williams' house. According to Williams, Kody was always present at the house and would watch in awe as the gang members would lift weights and tell stories about gang fights and shootings that they had committed. In the book Williams also expressed his regret regarding his behavior around the impressionable young Kody, and held himself personally responsible for exposing Kody to drugs as Kody himself would later become a frequent PCP user.

Joining The Crips[edit]

In 1975 a member of the West Side Crips nicknamed Sidewinder formed a "set" called the Eight Tray Gangster Crips (also known as 83GC, ETG or ETGC) in Kody's neighborhood. Kody began hanging out with members of the ETG's, in particular a teenaged member of the gang nicknamed Tray Ball. In May 1975, one month before his sixth grade graduation from [Raymond Avenue Elementary School] (incorrect - Horace Mann hosted grades 7-9 during that time period.

His age is consistent with a 6th grade elementary school graduation), Kody was suspended from school for flashing an ETG gang sign in the Class of 1975 graduation photo. On the evening of June 15, 1975, the day of his sixth-grade graduation, Kody was initiated into the ETG's. Kody was " quoted " into the gang (also known as being "jumped in"; where gang members beat up the new recruit to see if he or she is brave enough to fight back and defend themselves).

Kody and another gang member then hotwired a stolen car after which Kody and several members of the ETG's, all armed with revolvers and shotguns, tracked down members of the Brims street gang (a set of the Bloods) who had been hanging out in the Crips' neighborhood. The ETG's opened fire on a group of approximately fifteen Brims, shooting several of them. Kody, armed with a sawed-off 12 gauge shotgun and instructed not to return to the car unless he used all eight rounds of the weapon, shot several Brims gang members that evening.

Disfiguring an older Black man[edit]

As a new member of the Crips Kody was mentored in the ways of gangbanging by Tray Ball. In 1977, at age thirteen, Kody and Tray Ball attempted to rob an older African American man walking through their neighborhood. The man punched Kody in the face and, after being physically restrained by Tray Ball when he attempted to run, Kody kicked and stomped the man for approximately twenty minutes. Kody's vicious attack left the man in a coma with his face permanently disfigured.

According to Kody, Crips present at the crime scene overheard police officers saying that whoever assaulted the man was a "monster" and reported this back to Kody. From that point on other members of the ETG's referred to Kody as "Monster" and Kody took the name as a street moniker.

First arrest for shooting[edit]

Kody's first arrest occurred in 1978 at age 14 after he shot at the employee of a fast-food restaurant who had assaulted his younger brother, Kershawn, and later assaulted and pulled a gun on Kody. Kershawn Scott later joined the Eight-Trays and assumed the nickname Lil' Monster.

A week after being released from jail Kody was arrested again after being falsely accused of shooting a member of the Inglewood Family Bloods while he and other members of the Crips were on their way to a roller skating rink in Compton, California. On February 14, 1979 Kody was arrested for assault and grand theft auto and served nine months at Camp Munz in Lake Hughes, California.

The Rivalry Between The Eight Trays and The Rollin 60's: The beginning of Crip vs. Crip Violence[edit]

During Kody's stay at Camp Munz several major events occurred on the streets of South Central L.A. involving the Crips. On March 15, 1979 West Side Crips leader Stanley "Tookie" Williams was arrested for four murders committed during two separate robberies while on an alleged drug binge (to his death Williams steadfastly denied committing the murders). Williams was sentenced to death row and executed by lethal injection on December 13, 2005.

On August 9, 1979 Raymond Washington, the founder of the Crips, was murdered in a drive-by shooting near his home. Because Raymond Washington always made it a point never to walk up to cars, it was determined that his killers were people he knew personally since he had walked up to the murderers' car and had a conversation with them prior to being shot. Washington's murder was blamed on the Hoover Crips (now known as the Hoover Criminals), which started a war between the East Side Crips and the Hoovers.

In September 1979 a 15-year-old member of the ETG's nicknamed Bootsy got into a fight with a teenaged member of the Rollin 60's Neighborhood Crips named Tyrone over a girl who had been dating both young men. Before this incident and the gang war that resulted from it, the Eight-Trays and the Rollin 60's were close allies, even participating in fights and shootings together against the Bloods. In a subsequent fistfight between the two teenagers a new recruit to the ETG's, eager to make a name for himself, pulled a gun and shot Tyrone to death.

Tyrone's older brother, a member of the Rollin' 60's, demanded that the ETG's hand over the new recruit to be punished by the 60's and to prevent a war between the two gangs. The ETG's were unable to find the new recruit, who had already turned himself in to the police. The Rollin' 60's, feeling that the ETG's weren't being honest, murdered a member of the ETG's in retaliation, shooting the young man in his face six times at point blank range after he was ambushed on his front porch.

A meeting was called by the leaders of both gangs in an attempt to end the fight. However, because tensions were high with both gangs, the meeting erupted into a gang rumble, after which the Rollin' 60's and the ETG's engaged in a gang war that still exists to this day.

Shooting and hospitalisation[edit]

Kody Scott, along with his best friend Deautri "Crazy De" Denard, was deeply involved in this gang war and was responsible for shooting and assaulting dozens of members of the Rollin' 60's. On December 31, 1980, 17-year-old Kody was ambushed and shot five times by three adult members of the Rollin' 60's after being set up by a group of girls who were dating friends from his set. Perhaps what saved his life was the fact that earlier that evening Kody had been drinking a cheap brand of low-end fortified wine called "Night Train" and smoked PCP with other members of the ETG's as the gang celebrated New Years Eve and the level of inebriation that Kody was under at the time of the shooting prevented him from going into shock. After being shot Kody reported having hallucinations of seeing the faces of all of the gang members he had shot since joining the Crips as well as seeing the infant daughter that he had with his girlfriend, Tamu. Kody survived the shooting and was hospitalized for several weeks.

Kody's younger brother Kershawn, who was by now a member of the Eight-Trays nicknamed Lil' Monster, sought revenge for his older brother's shooting. On New Years Day 1981 Kershawn and several teenage members of the ETG's committed a string of retaliatory shootings. Kershawn shot two teenagers who were standing in the front yard at a house party that was being thrown in the Rollin' 60's neighborhood and later that evening shot another teenager to death in a drive-by as the young man was walking down the street.

Kershawn was later arrested and sentenced to five years in California Youth Authority for murder as a juvenile. While recovering in the hospital Kody's assailants from the Rollin' 60's came to the hospital in an attempt to finish him off. Due to the intervention of a nurse who was attending to him, Kody was unharmed. However, once released from the hospital, he continued gangbanging and would spend the remainder of the 1980s in and out of the penal system for numerous violent offenses.

Changing his name to Sanyika Shakur[edit]

While in prison during the 1980s Kody befriended members of the Republic of New Afrika movement. Kody, who dropped out of high school, began to educate himself in prison. He changed his name to Sanyika Shakur and began changing his viewpoint regarding his role in the plight of blacks in the United States of America. After being released from prison in 1988, Kody married his longtime girlfriend, Tamu.

In January 1991, Kody was arrested for assault and grand theft auto after beating up a crack dealer and stealing the dealer's van. Kody was incarcerated during the 1992 Los Angeles Riots following the acquittal of the four police officers accused of beating Rodney King following a traffic stop. The beating of white truck driver Reginald Denny was committed by members of the ETG's in Kody's neighborhood. This event, as well as participating in Leon Bing's book Do Or Die inspired Kody to write his book, Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member.

Friendship with Tupac Shakur and the Vibe Magazine Interviews[edit]

In the early 1990s Kody, now calling himself Sanyika Shakur, met rapper Tupac Shakur (no blood relation, but same revolutionary family). The two immediately became good friends and Kody mentioned Tupac in the introduction to his book. In 1996, as Kody was on the run from police for a parole violation, he met up with Tupac on the set of the x-rated version of Tupac's music video "How Do U Want It". This would be the last time that Kody would ever see Tupac.

On September 13, 1996 Tupac Shakur died after being shot in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada seven days earlier, allegedly by members of the South Side Compton Crips. Kody would later interview Tupac's alleged murderer, Orlando Anderson, for a December 1997 Vibe Magazine article about Tupac's murder, in which Anderson denied being involved in the rapper's murder.

After being captured by police, Kody was sent to Pelican Bay State Prison, where he spoke with Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight, who was also incarcerated at Pelican Bay for a parole violation stemming from his participation in the assault on Anderson. According to the Vibe Magazine article, Kody, upon hearing that Tupac had been shot, initially suspected that Suge Knight had set him up because Tupac was planning to leave Death Row Records to start his own record label.

In the article Kody stated that he was incredulous after hearing Knight's claim that Tupac died owing him money despite selling over $60 million USD worth of albums for Death Row Records, and that he knew that all of Tupac's possessions, including his home and his cars, were in Knight's name. At the end of the interview Knight told Kody that Orlando Anderson was indeed the person who killed Tupac. Orlando Anderson was killed on May 29, 1998 in an unrelated shooting.

Since 2000[edit]

In March 2007, Shakur, already sought by police for parole violations and named on the city's most-wanted gang members list, was arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department for allegedly breaking into the home of an acquaintance and beating him in order to steal his car. The charges represent a possible third strike that could send Shakur back to prison for life.[3]

In May 2008 Shakur pleaded no contest to carjacking and robbery charges, and was sentenced to six years in state prison.[6] Also in 2008, Shakur made his fiction debut with the publication of T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E. (Grove Atlantic Books). He was released from Pelican Bay after serving two thirds of his 6 year sentence in August 2012.

In November 2013, Shakur published a book of essays titled Stand up, Struggle Forward: New Afrikan Revolutionary Writings on Nation, Class, and Patriarchy (Kersplebedeb Books ISBN 9781894946469).

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