Adam Toledo death: Who are Chicago Latin Kings? Gang threatens to avenge 13-year-old boy shot dead by cops

The police department was reportedly concerned over the gang planning to launch a retaliation against its officers following the shooting of Adam Toledo on March 29

                            Adam Toledo death: Who are Chicago Latin Kings? Gang threatens to avenge 13-year-old boy shot dead by cops
Chicago Police officers could face a threat from the Latin Kings after the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo last month (Getty Images)

Even before the dust settled over the brutal death of Daunte Wright, police atrocity has hogged the limelight once again. This time, it is over the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo by officers of Chicago Police in a dark alley. While the incident happened on March 29, the police have released graphic footage of the shooting incident on Thursday, April 15, and it has fueled the general public’s anger around the city and its mayor appealed for calm. "We live in a city that is traumatised by a long history of police violence and misconduct. So while we don't have enough information to be the judge and jury of this particular situation, it is certainly understandable why so many of our residents are feeling that all too familiar surge of outrage and pain," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. 

The release of the footage has also brought to the fore the possibility of the Latin Kings retaliating against the law-keepers over the shooting incident. Earlier in April, the Chicago Sun Times reported that Chicago Police issued an “officer safety alert” to the officers informing them the department’s narcotics unit learned about factions of the Latin Kings in the Ogden patrol district on the Southwest Side being asked by the gang’s top members to target unmarked Chicago police vehicles. The retaliatory plan was over the killing of the teen in an area that is considered a stronghold of the gang. There were also claims on social media that the slain boy was with a known gang-banger at the time of the shooting and carried a tattoo of the Latin Kings.





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Who are the Latin Kings?

The Latin Kings were founded in the 1950s in Chicago’s Humboldt Park area by Ramon Santos as The Imperials -- a Puerto Rican progress movement that aims to curb racial discrimination. The Imperials later merged with other Puerto Rican and Mexican street gangs to form the Latin Kings as they faced threat from Italian and Greek greaser gangs. The Latin Kings later devolved into a criminal enterprise functional throughout the US. The outfit has two umbrella factions -- the King Motherland Chicago or the King Manifesto and Constitution and Bloodline. All members of the gang call themselves Latin Kings.

Those Latin Kings who are associated with the Motherland faction also call themselves ‘Almighty Latin King Nation’. They feature more than 160 structured chapters operating in 158 cities in more than 30 states. The membership in Chicago itself is estimated to be between 20,000 and 35,000. 

Chicago police prevent demonstrators from reaching the private residence of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker on July 10, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Getty Images)

The Chicago chapter of the Latin Kings is considered the largest Hispanic street gang in the US and one of the biggest street gangs in the city. Most of their members are from the US itself, unlike MS-13 and 18th Street gangs whose members exist in Central and South America. The Kings also have wings in Central America and Spain besides memberships in New York, Texas and Florida. The Kings’ graffiti includes a lion wearing a crown or a five-point crown which is accompanied by the initials “LK”. Their predominant colors are yellow or gold.