Simon City Royals
|Founding location||Chicago, Illinois|
|Years active||1950s - Today|
|Criminal activities||Drug trafficking, weapon trafficking, robbery, assault, burglary, racketeering, murder|
|Rivals||People Nation gangs|
The Simon City Royals, formally the Almighty Simon City Royal Nation, are a Chicago street gang which began in the late 1950s as Simon City, a greaser gang. They named themselves for Simons Park which is located on the corner of Drake and Wabansia, in the Humboldt Park neighborhood where they originally formed.
The Royals are heavily involved in the dealing of illegal drugs and other contraband, particularly in prisons where members are incarcerated. They have also successfully bribed a prison guard in Milwaukee, to smuggle drugs into an institution. They are also involved in racketeering and loan sharking.
In the 1960s, they became involved in turf wars with other gangs including the Imperial Gangsters, Latin Kings, Jokers, Drakers, and Belairs. By this time Simon City had begun to expand and organize, and spread to other neighborhoods on the northwest side. They started talks with a gang called the Ashland Royals who were headquartered on the corner of Paulina and Cornelia streets.
The leader of Simon City, Michael Kraft, fought a leading member of the Royals and lost, with the result being that the two gangs merged into one. The gang was now called Simon City's Angry Royals, soon to be shortened to Simon City Royals. Some sections of Simon City continued to operate as a separate group under the old name for a few years before either joining the merged group or leaving the gang entirely.
Turf wars and alliances
In the 1970s, the gang had tenuous alliances to the city's two major white gangs, the Popes and the Gaylords. In 1975, the Gaylords killed Larry "Larkin" Morris, then the leader of the Popes, and the Popes decided to form an alliance with the Royals. The Royals also fought major "wars" with the Latin Kings, Insane Deuces and Latin Eagles in which many lives were lost, including some of the top ranking Simon City Royals.
By this time the Royals had spread out to include neighborhoods like Albany and School, Drake and Wolfram, Southport and Fullerton, Central Park and Wilson, California and Fletcher, Farwell and Clark, among others. The Southport and Fullerton Royals were involved in a "war" with the Insane Unknowns because they had killed the leader of the Unknowns after inviting him to a peace meeting. The Unknowns would then wipe out the Southport and Fullerton Royals, killing their leaders and taking control of the area.
To protect their members in prison and to maintain some presence on the streets, the Royals opted to join the Folk Nation which sprang up in the late 70s/early 80s. The leader of the Simon City Royals, Todd O'Thomas, aka Todd Brewer, was killed by the Puerto Rican Stones in the early 80s.
The Royals entered into vicious street wars with the Latin Kings, Insane Deuces and Gaylords. In 1984, the Royals shot a 14 year old Gaylord in the back, killing him. One of the Gaylords present was Michael Scott, who would later go on to write a book about his days as a gang member called "Lords of Lawndale". Hours after the murder, Scott identified a Royal named Mike Hynes as one of the shooters and testified against him.
Hynes and Orlando Serrano, who claimed to not be a gang member, were tried for murder. Serrano was found not guilty, but Hynes was convicted in part because of testimony given by fellow Simon City Royal members, as well as testimony given by Scott and two others who were present when the killing occurred. Hynes spent over twenty years in prison and was killed shortly after his release after being involved in the stabbing of a woman in a Chicago bar.
The Royals killed several members of the Deuces and the Kings and the PR Stones in the 1980s, in addition to the 14 year old that they shot in the back. By the early 90s, however, they had begun to feud with their former allies, the Spanish Cobras and Latin Disciples. The Royals killed several Cobras and had some of their members killed in return.
Out of necessity, they entered into a grouping within the Folks alliance known as the Almighty Family. This faction consists of the Royals, Imperial Gangsters, Harrison Gents, Latin Eagles and Ambrose.
The Royals still control some of their historic strongholds on the north side of Chicago and have spread into the suburbs and other states such as Wisconsin and Mississippi. Today they still consist of mostly white members but also many Latinos and black members as well.
- Crocker Stephenson (August 3, 2009). "Guard gets probation in Simon City Royals case". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved November 6, 2009.
- Jeffrey Flanagan (January 10, 2003). "Chicago-based gang picks up on Royals' new color scheme". Kansas City Star.