Samoan Gang Life in LA (Compton Projects)

Feb 04, 2023 3.2M Views 4.1K Comments

Today we meet up with some old-school Samoans who did many hard years in gangs and prisons. Their crimes were horrendous but they’ve decided to change their lives and move forward on a mission to keep the youth out of the gangs that they helped form. Join me for an eye-opening, heart wrenching, and inspirational journey.

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► Video edited by: Natalia Santenello
► Researched by: Kymberly Redmond

– Good morning, guys.
Today, we’re gonna
meet up with a man
who spent 24 years in prison
for committing second degree murder.
I talked to him over the phone
and he said he’s got a
lot to share with us,
and I always feel you can
learn something from everyone.
So that’s what we’re gonna do right now.
Go down to the projects in Compton
and see what this man has to say.
Let’s do this.
♪ hip hop ♪
– You know everybody here?
– I don’t.
– Need me to introduce?
This is–
– This guy is a living legend.
– Pleasure.
– Nook, pleasure.
– Special guest right here.
– Special guest.
– Welcome, man.
– For those of you who know,
Nook was in a video we did
last year, fantastic video.
– How you doing? My name
is Bell, aka Pineapple.
– Pineapple, Peter.
– What’s up, bro? Dilly.
– Dilly?
– Yeah.
– How are you doing? Peter.
– Peter?
– Yes.
(Peter laughs)
– All right, easy, easy.
(people talking indistinctly)
– What we like to do always
when ah… any event or our functions,
we like to open up with a prayer
and close it with a prayer.
– Okay.
– Is that cool?
– [Peter] Can I record the prayer?
– Absolutely.
– [Peter] All right, let’s do it.
– Cool.
– Take it off.
Father in heaven, we come before you.
We bow our heads to ask and give thanks
for the following things.
We just ask for your
continual wisdom and support,
and we say, oh Lord,
please bless us throughout
this video footage,
that we’re all around in
different cities today,
that we also ask for your protection,
and we say and pray these things
in your mighty name Jesus Christ, amen.
– Amen.
– Amen.
– Beautiful.
You’re all religious?
– Absolutely, so one of the biggest thing
with the Samoan community is faith,
and that’s one of our models
with the F.O.U. movement,
is Fa’amanuiaga a le Atua, God first,
and that’s what we try
to do is put God first
in everything we do.
– [Peter] F.O.U. is, what
does that stand for exactly?
– Fa’atasiga ou uso.
– [Peter] What does that mean?
– Gathering the brothers.
One of the things with the fo
is what we wanna advocate is the colors,
we wanna leave the colors for
the next generation, right?
We wanna–
– You wanna leave the colors?
– Along.
– [Peter] Gotcha. Bloods and Crips.
– Right, so–
– You were a–
– Crip.
– You were a Crip.
– Yeah this is a Crip
neighborhood right here.
[Peter] Everyone here was Crips?
– No.
– No? Okay.
– When we got here in the ’60’s
it was one of the first
neighborhoods in Compton.
Park Village and the Grandees,
which is a little bit down the ways.
Yeah, that’s the home
I grew up right here,
704 West Corregidor.
It looked a lot different.
I joined the gang that’s
in this neighborhood
about the age of 12,
and that decision would dictate
my life for years to come.
Starting me on the path of
crime, violence, drug abuse,
alcohol abuse, and that’s
just total disaster for a kid.
You know, I used to always think
that I was a product of my environment,
but today I understand I’m
a product of my decisions,
and what I mean by that
is you got two kids,
and from the same environment,
one grew up to be a gangster,
one grew up to be a pastor.
Our parents brought us here from Samoa
to chase the American dream,
and then I believe for me,
the first half of my
life I squandered that
by the choices I made.
– We’re from Long Beach.
– Okay.
– Compton, Long Beach.
No bueno.
– Okay.
– Right, Spanish right?
Ain’t no good right?
I want to show you, so where he’s from.
– Uh-huh.
– He’s from SOS, and let
me show you this over here.
So you can understand how
monumental this is for us.
They’re basically saying “Kill it.”
– [Peter] That means kill?
– Yeah. His neighborhood.
– [Peter] That means
kill his neighborhood?
– Yeah, they don’t get along.
– [Peter] But he’s over here
and there’s not an issue?
Because… This is because of him.
That’s how much love they
have for this guy right here.
– [Peter] So Upu is
the big OG around here?
– Yes sir.
– [Peter] Gotcha.
– I should give credit to Dill too,
he did the work.
– But I’m the same thing
with him.
– Yeah.
– He’s gonna be able to go where we’re at,
because of him.
– We might be from
different neighborhoods,
but we all know each other.
One of the things that brought us together
is that we all been
through some dark places.
You know, a lot of us…
All of us are gang members,
and all of us been in prison.
I was in prison for 30 years,
and so while we was in there,
we was all able to turn our lives around,
and that’s what kind
of brought us together,
so when we came out here,
when the daily devotions started,
the chatter started picking up,
of us coming together and doing
something for our community,
and so this is how all this came about.
The F.O.U. movement was born from that.
– So how does that work?
‘Cause usually I hear the story
of someone going to prison,
say for 30 years.
You were 24 years, right?
– Yeah.
– You come out, you’re even
worse off, you’re harder,
but you guys seem to want
to do something different with your lives.
How did you figure that out?
– Well, it was through the daily devotion
and always God first, you know,
and us changing our lives.
We did a lot of soul searching
in prison, a lot of us.
We were what they call lifers.
So we went to a bunch of classes in there,
and we just got in touch within ourselves
and we wanted to make this change,
so we already had a
mindset of coming home
and doing something for the community,
trying to make a change,
and then when we got together,
that’s when we put the plan all together
for what we wanted to do now.
– [Peter] So the goal is to
prevent your younger self,
say the new generation,
from doing what you guys did?
– 100%.
– Yes.
What we do, we share our story
and let ’em know what
they’re going to go through
if they keep up on this road.
You know, because it ain’t what
they see in the rap videos.
There’s a lot of pain to this game.
(helicopter whirring)
– Gang presence in Park
Village today is still here,
but it is not as much prevalent
as it was, say in my era.
– [Peter] The ’90s were the worst, right?
– The ’70s, ’80s and ’90s was the worst.
Kids are still joining these gangs,
probably like over 50% of the Samoan kids
growing up in Park Village
is going to join the gang,
you know, and that’s just alarming.
– 50%? Wow.
– Over 50%.
– [Peter] Is it because it’s people…
Kids want to be part of
something, they wanna be accepted,
they want to be respected?
What is it?
– I think a lot of it’s pressure,
I think peer pressure had to do with it.
I remember growing up, for me,
my older brothers joined
the gang first, so I just
felt pressured to follow
their footsteps and stuff.
My older brothers are doing
this. It’s gotta be cool.
When I joined the gang,
those percentage was like 85%
of the kids growing up in
here was joining the gang.
– This is the culture we created,
all the way from the ’70s.
We started this and then
my brother, Upu, and them
took it over in the ’80s, and so forth.
Brother Peter here,
they took it to the ’90s
and 2000s.
So this is the lifestyle
and the culture we created
for our young ones,
without even knowing we were doing this.
– [Peter] Why did you create it?
– This is just a part
of me trying to fit in
where I can get in.
I wasn’t doing good in school,
and so part of that, you know,
not doing good at school,
I started getting high, drinking,
and the gang thing was
something that caught my eye.
You know, I kind of liked the way…
I like the whole gang, the way we dress.
You know, the way we kind of like…
I don’t say fellowship,
but the way we got along with each other,
we started treating
each other like family.
– Okay. So it’s a belonging?
– Yeah.
– And there’s an excitement to it, right?
I could imagine.
– Yeah. It is.
– Like there’s an adrenaline?
– Yeah. It is, it is.
When you represented something that,
like what we was representing, you know,
you wanted your hood to be that hood.
You wanted to be about it
and everything that you did
was about it, representing it, you know?
So yeah, it was a sense of pride.
I loved what I was doing, and
I was willing to die for it.
I grew up
in the neighborhood was
a bunch of Mexicans,
so I ended up joining the Mexican gang,
and one of the reason I
joined the Mexican gang
was because the Samoan
gangs started popping up
in the ’70s.
That’s my generation,
and so me understanding
that we’re pretty much all
related, somehow we’re connected,
so I didn’t want to, you know,
I didn’t want to go against my own family,
but I loved the the gang culture thing.
I loved the whole swag about
doing what we were doing.
I decided I was gonna
ride with the Mexicans.
– [Peter] They took you in?
– Yeah, I mean there’s some
Samoans in Mexican gangs,
just like there’s Samoans
in the Black gangs.
All the gangs in southern California,
all the way from San Diego,
and then it goes all the way
up to northern California.
They all go into one umbrella.
They all, when they go in prison,
everybody listens to whoever, you know,
the shot callers are in prison.
For the Samoans, when you go in there,
like my brother Upu and Dill, you know,
they were still Cripping.
So when they went in there,
that’s who they kicked it with.
You know, you can’t go–
– Okay.
– You know, because that’s all we knew.
So we didn’t go and
kick it with our folks
right when we went to prison,
we were still caught up
in this gang mentality.
So when we went in
there, that’s, you know,
whatever group that we belonged to,
that’s what we went and did time with,
until years later when we was able
to turn our lives around and do whatever,
everything that we had to
do to get our lives right,
that’s when we was able to come back to,
we called it coming back home,
and that’s when you go back
to the Pacific Islander car,
and, you know, we finished…
I finished up the rest of
my time with my folks.
– If you go into California prisons,
it’s like walking back into the 1950s.
Everything is racially segregated,
so the Blacks can’t
interact with the Mexicans,
Mexicans can’t interact with the Blacks,
Whites can’t interact with the Blacks.
So Samoans, our position in there,
and today it’s like a liaison
for all the other cause.
– [Peter] You guys get
along with everyone?
– Well, we can interact with the Mexicans,
which is allowable.
We can interact with the
Whites and the Blacks.
So all of them use us, say like,
they need to have a transition,
a transition action.
– Sure.
– They’ll have to use, yeah,
they’ll have to use Samoans, or the usos.
– [Peter] You guys are
the mediators in there.
– Exactly.
Although we’re a small number in there,
make up a small population
compared to the other races.
It’s a very well respected group.
– [Peter] So that’s why you
have to get along with everybody?
‘Cause you’re lower in numbers, right?
– No.
– No?
– No, we don’t have to
get along with nobody.
Even though we’re lower numbers,
but we don’t let nobody push us around.
If there’s only six or
seven or 10 of us, you know,
we going to represent it,
and people know that.
– Actually, I bought these flowers.
After we leave from here or at some point,
we’ll go to the scene of the crime,
of where the crime, the murder happened.
Actually, this year will
be the 30th anniversary
of that terrible night.
– Hey. What’s up?
(smooth music)
– [Peter] I think I gotta
rock this one, right?
– Mind to get a picture with you guys?
– [Peter] You want me out?
– No. Come on.
– Okay.
– My wife will come out and
we’ll get a picture too.
– [Peter] You know these guys?
– From the movement on the,
you know, that we watch.
– The videos.
– Done before the video. 30 for Life.
– Ron Uso.
– Ron, he is from Vacaville,
and you know, that’s our area.
Me, myself, you know, I’m military,
traveled the world,
but when I saw that,
I said, “Man, Carson,”
where I grew up and
went to high school at,
and all these guys here,
they’re doing a good thing, man,
and I bless their hearts for what they do.
Always a turnaround, but
I can’t speak for that.
I can only speak for my
usos and what they’re doing.
Hey, there’s no way that we can top that.
No, all I can say is,
I give you guys props
for all that you do.
I don’t even know what you’re
filming, but I’m just glad that-
– [Peter] You’re in it, if
you’re all right with it.
– Oh, of course.
– You’re cool?
– I’m all right. Yeah, exactly.
– Okay, cool.
– Thank you guys.
– [Peter] You’ll be in with the OGs here.
– Oh, man. That’s nice.
– This lady right here,
she had a story with Bell
when he came in there,
and told him about how she’s
lost her son to gang violence.
– Recently?
– Recently.
Give her some ears and some
comfort and some support.
Hopefully bring some
traffic to her business.
– Yeah, we’ll drop the link
to her business down below.
She needs support for sure.
– Upu? All right, Upu. Lucia.
– Lucia, nice to meet you.
– Nice meeting you too.
– You met Bell.
– Hi, Lucia.
– Yes.
– This is Peter.
– Hi, Peter.
– Nice to meet you.
– Nice meeting you, too.
– So Peter, I came in
here just to look around
and then I met Lucia,
and I was talking to her
and I kind of told her what
we was doing over here.
– Okay.
– And I told her
about the F.O.U. movement.
She didn’t know who we were,
and I told her the
things that we were doing
in the F.O.U. movement,
and she shared a story about her son.
Her son, you know, died, got killed.
– I have a picture of him up there.
– In 2016, and he belonged to a Blood gang
out here in Carson.
Even though I just met her,
this is the stuff that
we created, you know,
our young ones following our
footsteps, and now he’s gone.
And so this is what we trying to stop now,
by the work that we do by
giving back to the community,
and so it was an honor to
meet this lady right here.
– This must be fuel,
guys, for your movement,
when you see these stories,
you hear these stories.
– Exactly.
– Like you feel the purpose
in what you’re doing.
‘Cause I’m sure it’s
very difficult at times,
with your histories, with your past,
but to turn that all into a good thing.
– Yeah.
– Yeah, it was definitely–
– If we could prevent another Nicholas,
or we could prevent a mother
from losing their child,
and that’s what this movement
is, to us, is worth it.
We’re out here for the fight.
We know the challenge that lies ahead
to rectify the thing that we did wrong,
but we’re willing to take
that challenge head on.
Every day I wake up for it.
And I’m sorry for your
loss once again, Lucia.
– Thank you.
– Nice meeting you.
– Nice meeting you too, Belly.
Keep up the good work.
– Yeah. Thank you.
– Thank you.
– Stay with it.
Don’t leave our kids.
– What’s the name of your business?
– Poly Raggs.
– Poly Raggs?
– Yes. Thank you.
– [Upu] That’s our
brother Peter right here.
– All right, Peter. Thank you.
– [Peter] All right guys,
come here for all your Polynesian needs.
Very colorful dresses for the ladies.
Got some cool necklaces, T-shirts.
Sorry guys.
Dresses, t-shirts, the full Monty.
– This is my lovely wife and my kids.
These are the ones that
changed my life, Peter.
When you’re inside,
you have some of your
cellies that have kids.
So you like,
how you in here if you got kids?
That means you wasn’t doing
your job as a father. You know?
So me, I’m like, if I
ever become a father,
I’ll make sure to give all minds to them,
so I don’t go back in.
That’s what it is for me right there.
– [Peter] This is
“Angelina my love”, right?
– That’s her.
– [Peter] That’s how it comes
up on the screen, Angelina.
– That’s how it is, man.
(Angelina laughing)
You know, when you married,
you locked in and you
zoned in, and you know, hey.
She’s one of the
big game changers for me.
She had a foot on my throat,
making sure that I go to all
the programs I had to go to,
and, you know, making sure
that I stay out of trouble.
– Could you have done it
without her, do you think?
– I could have done it without her,
but she made it a lot more easier for me.
– Yeah.
– You know,
because now I had somebody
on my team that supported me
and cared about me,
and it brought those emotions
back to the forefront,
because a lot of times we lose all that,
because you’re so busy
trying to be that guy,
that guy that you created
in this gang world,
that you were never yourself.
– So that’s gotta be hard?
The guy you created,
you have to almost reinvent yourself.
– Yeah.
– Right?
– Yeah.
– Like your whole identity changes,
or you have to try to change it,
or how does that work?
– It’s just going back to what you,
where it all started from,
you know, how you grew
up, how you, you know,
I remember all those things
my mom and dad taught me.
You know, respect your elders,
the love, and the family stuff.
So having that on me all
the time, but not using it,
when I was able to turn it all around,
you know, all these things came back,
but it was hard though, because
when you change in prison,
you know, people are watching,
you know, so they’re
watching all your moves.
You know, you can talk
that game that you change,
but when you go back to the yard
and you’re still involved with
drinking and getting high,
then you know, people
will look at you like,
oh, your word ain’t no good.
– Can you drink in prison?
– Yeah.
– It’s easy to get alcohol?
– We make it.
– How do you make it?
– Orange, sugar.
Apple and sugar.
We use candy. Whatever’s sweet to–
– Just ferment it?
– Yeah.
Let it cook for three, four days.
– Everything they have out here,
they got it in there, Peter.
– What about marijuana?
– All that.
– Fentanyl?
– Fentanyl is–
– Well, that’s new.
– Somewhat new.
– Meth?
– It’s like yeah, it’s worse.
– Yeah. They got all that.
Yeah, meth, cocaine.
– Easy to get all that stuff?
– Easy.
There’s always somebody, you know,
one of my first cases I
caught was trafficking.
– Okay.
– You know, so we had like,
free staff bringing stuff in.
We sent ’em out there to
the city that we was at,
whatever prison you’re at, and you know,
you get all the connections
from the guys that live out there.
– Pineapple, you were saying,
you’re out in the street,
you’re all tough and whatnot,
but when you go home with a
Samoan mother, what happens?
– You’re just the son, you know,
you just going do everything
that mama tells you.
She going tell you to
go clean the bathroom,
you gonna go clean the
bathroom, wash dishes, cook.
Whatever it is that my
mother needed to be done,
we did it.
– So you go from sort
of owning the streets
to all of the sudden doing
whatever mama wants?
– That was that crazy mindset
that we had, you know,
because I was more scared of my mother
than anybody else on the streets.
You know, moms, she was the shot caller.
You know, but it wasn’t
just that I was scared of her.
I just had so much love
and respect for her.
– And she didn’t know what you were doing?
– No.
She had no idea.
Even when I was an
adult and I was married,
all that, my mother never seen me smoking.
She never seen me get
high, anything like that.
I hid all that from my mother,
and you don’t get high, you
don’t go into the house smoking
or drinking at the house.
You know, I grew up where church
was the most important thing, and family,
so there was no drugs, no alcohol,
and I had both my mother and father.
– [Peter] So you grew
up with good parenting?
– Yeah.
– [Peter] So how did you
slide into the dark side
if you grew up with great parenting?
Do you think the parents
make a big role in that?
– Nah, well they play just a little,
I would say a real tiny bit,
because our communication
was totally different,
because they come from
Samoa, they’re not…
they’re trying to learn just
like we’re learning in America,
and so when we step out the door,
they didn’t have the knowledge
of what’s going on out there.
You know, so we had to
deal with that on our own.
I couldn’t come back and
talk to my mom and dad
about anything like that,
because it was like a language barrier
where they didn’t really
understand English, at all,
and then I didn’t know
how to speak Samoan,
where I can communicate with
them what was going on with me.
So, you know, you just sat on your issues,
you sat on your problems,
and those little problems
became bigger problems,
and then you just get caught up.
– All right guys, we’re gonna
get some Polynesian food.
Some of the best, I was told, in the car.
– Carson is one of the staples,
staple cities in the southern
California Samoan family.
A lot of the Samoan families
got jobs at the port
or the oil refinery, and
was able to buy homes,
and then another thing
about Samoan migration,
what we did back in the ’60s
when we first came to America,
like a lot of Samoan families
would try to find where their church is.
Normally, all the Mormons
would come to Compton,
where we had Compton first
ward, Compton second ward.
– [Peter] A lot of Samoan Mormons?
– Oh yeah. I’m a Mormon.
I was born into the Mormon church.
– Interesting.
– Yeah.
This is one of our members over here.
– What’s up, Ross?
– What’s up, Bell?
How’re you doing, man?
Good to see you, man.
– This is brother.
– How you doing, sir?
– How you doing?
– Peter.
– Ross.
– You know, he went
through some health issues,
but we haven’t seen him in a minute.
And he’s here today.
We just met him today,
so it’s good to see him.
– You know that movie
“Gridiron”, with The Rock?
– [Peter] Haven’t seen it.
– Well it’s about–
– The Gridiron Gang.
– Yeah, Gridiron Gang.
But anyway, their story was based on…
The character was based on him.
– Really?
– Yeah.
– I was locked up when they…
So they had to use another inmate.
– Okay.
– Yeah, but they used my life story.
– [Peter] Are you in the
group with these guys?
– Right. Yeah.
– All right.
– Yeah, he’s one of those
originals from the group.
– And he’s from Long Beach,
East Side SOS.
– [Peter] And you feel
totally comfortable over here?
– Oh yeah. Yeah.
Ain’t nothing gonna stop
me where I can go, man.
– Now, you guys are in fifties, right?
Fifties, forties, thirties?
– Yep. 43.
– Okay.
Okay. So what about 20 year olds?
Will they be able to do this right now?
– Yes.
– Go between Long Beach…
– That’s our mission.
Our main thing is to plant the seed.
Is to plant the seed so the
youth got somewhere to go
when they need it.
We didn’t have that growing up.
They know the work we do,
and they’ve heard about us,
and some of ’em agree
with what we’re doing
and some of ’em don’t,
but they’re still caught
up in that lifestyle
that they’re in, you know,
trying to be as bad as they
can be, and we understand that,
but there’s gonna be a time
when they going to need somebody
to fall back on, and
that’s where we come in.
You know, we planting
that seed to let ’em know,
come, come to us, man.
Let us take care of you.
Let us love you like a little brother.
– [Peter] So there’s
support if they need it?
– Yeah.
– These cats are from Compton.
– [Peter] You guys cool if
I put the camera this way?
– Yeah.
– Okay.
– Absolutely.
– So what’s the story?
They’re from Compton.
– They’re from Upu’s neighborhood.
– Okay.
– I’m saying right now…
– Actually, Cuuhraig, come here.
Cuuhraig’s an upcoming artist here in LA.
– Oh, nice.
– Yeah. This is Peter.
– [Peter] What do you create?
– Music. Rapper.
– Nice.
– Hip hop. R&B.
– You being a young
Samoan kid from Compton,
– Yeah.
– Do you feel restricted?
Can you move around to other cities?
– Oh no. Yeah, yeah.
I can move around other cities.
It is, ’cause really for me,
it’s just like putting off all my,
you know, the younger
generation and culture,
you know what I’m saying?
So just looking out for everybody else.
So there’s not really
no restrictions for me.
– [Peter] They probably
know your music then too.
– Yeah. Yeah.
– And I like your lyrics too,
because a lot of youngsters today,
they all, everybody’s pretty…
You can go on YouTube and
watch a thousand videos
and they’re all pretty much
talking the same thing.
– Yeah.
– And then with his content,
you know, he just promoting,
you know, just being
young and having fun, man,
and loving life.
– Yeah.
– [Peter] It’s not N
bomb every other word?
– Oh nah, there ain’t no
N bombs coming from me,
even though that’s like, you
know what’s around me though.
– Sure.
– Yeah.
– I don’t use that in my music.
– [Peter] So your music has
a more positive message?
– Yeah. It’s uplifting, positive.
So that’s what we trying to put out.
– Nice.
– Yeah.
Stay with it. Stay with it.
– [Peter] So you’re the boss here?
– Yes.
– Okay. What’s going on?
We’re late. I apologize, we’re late,
but you still have some food here.
– Yeah.
Now, because we’re almost
closed, we have chop suey,
Fa’alifu fa’i, fa’alifu kao, fai’ai pilikaki.
Curry mussels, povi,
mamoe, and turkey tails.
– All right, so if anyone’s
in the Compton, Carson,
greater LA area, they want to come here.
– Yes. Saturdays and Sundays,
I have ‘ulu, baked taro,
fa’alifu fa’i, palusame,
the works.
– Awesome.
I’ll take these curried muscles please.
– How many?
– Five.
– You wanna try a banana?
– [Peter] I’ll do a banana, yeah.
We’re gonna eat in the park and
I’ll let you know how it is.
I’m sure it’s awesome.
All right.
– Thank you.
– Guys. Link down below.
I always love these local
family run businesses
that put their heart and soul into things.
So check them out.
♪ hip hop ♪
– Over here…
where a murder took place 30 years ago.
This used to be a bar.
Came here, we had just lost
one of our gang members.
We came back from his
service, his funeral service.
So I was already enraged with, you know,
hate and anger and frustration.
So we came here to drink,
and while we was in there,
I got in an argument with a
guy named Robert Virgil,
and that argument escalated
into shoving and pushing.
I pushed him outside,
started beating him right
here in the parking lot.
Continued to beat him.
He tried to get up and, you
know, run or escape my attack.
I still attacking him,
and then we ended up over here,
and where pretty much, I
think I gave him the kick blow
that probably ended his life.
– [Peter] He was fighting back, or no?
– He was trying to, at first,
but then I just overpowered him,
But… right here.
This is where it was at.
Where he took his last breath.
And then…
As an active gang
member, I had no remorse.
You know?
So one of the facts of my crime
is after I beat him to death,
I reached in his wallet,
and I started, you know, I
really wasn’t looking for money.
It’s just, just a habit I guess, you know,
I was just robbing people so much,
it’s a natural thing to do.
So I went and took his wallet,
and I was going through his wallet,
and I was ruffling through his paper
and I was just throwing
things out of there.
And I remember looking at it,
looking back at the body one more time,
and then once I found that, you know,
I seen that there was no money
or nothing valuable in that wallet,
I threw it right here
on the roof of this bar,
And so I’m gonna leave these flowers here,
and the reason why I’m gonna
leave these flowers here
is because, his daughter,
she had a valuable letter in his wallet
that he carried with him for years,
that she gave him a letter
when she was a little girl,
and he always kept that
safe in his wallet,
and it was the world to him.
So when…
Detective called, notified the family
and told him that he was
found lifeless right here,
they asked for the wallet,
and when they told her
they found the wallet
on the roof of the bar,
she immediately asked,
“Hey, is there a letter in there?”
And there was no letter.
Probably I just, without
even having a clue on.
So those are some of the things we do
when we harm or commit crime,
we never think of the magnitude
behind that harm, right?
Like I didn’t have a clue
that this man’s wallet
contained this precious…
you know what I mean?
It’s just priceless.
And I can’t give that back to the family.
She wanted her dad to be
buried with that letter,
and unfortunately, yeah,
I don’t know what happened to the letter.
So I’m gonna leave these flowers here
in the honor of his daughter,
Susan, of that letter.
My parents taught me not to kill,
but I developed this violent
behavior from the streets
and the choices I made being in the gang
to where it led me to just
viciously, mercilessly
beat a man to death.
And today I have to live with that and…
Just try to make living amends
to that crime that
happened over 30 years
Right here.
So it’s good…
I appreciate you just
willing to come by, you know,
and be part of this,
’cause this right here is
healing for me as well.
It’s part of my movement,
is to try to live, make living amends,
like my actions today.
I can’t give back Mr.
Virgil to his family,
but what I can do is
I can show that I’m truly remorseful,
Not just by my word,
but through my actions.
That’s what through our movement we push
it’s a lot of healing.
‘Cause a lot of us
come from broken homes,
broken relationships,
broken neighborhoods,
and there’s a lot of harm in there.
A lot of times we carry this harm
and we don’t even
realize we carrying this,
and then it can just take
a simple trivial argument
with Mr. Burchill, and
I just decide, you know,
just let the emotions overcome me
to where I can’t even control it.
– So it can all just
happen like that quick.
– Absolutely. Yeah.
– It just, that event happened, like–
– Never met the man in my life,
and the investigator of the police said,
“Man, this guy was beat like
he was a long life enemy.
Where’d you get that anger?”
Like, you know what I mean?
“If you just met him, why’d
you beat him like this?”
And it took me a while
to start doing the work,
the internal work to find out
where did that come from?
– Where did it come from?
– Like I said, I was carrying
around a lot of stuff
that I didn’t know how to unpack.
Unhealthy things, right,
and I didn’t know how to unpack them.
I didn’t know how to express myself
of what I was going through.
I didn’t know how to ask for help.
You know, I had that pride.
Like, I couldn’t go to my
older brothers, or somebody,
if somebody was picking on me,
I just kept it to myself,
and building up anger
and resentment toward the
person, or someone, you know,
and then let my emotion
get the better of me.
– There was no group like
F.O.U. around at that time?
Is that correct?
– No.
– There was nothing to go to?
– There was churches.
– There were churches.
– There was definitely,
I’m not gonna say we were
just out here left for dead,
or nobody was trying to take care of us.
It’s just, we turned our backs on it.
And father, I come to you in prayer,
and just, and thank you
for this opportunity
for allowing me and my
brothers to come here
and just pay honor and respect
to the memory of Robert Virgil, Lord.
He lost his life here at this
very exact spot 30 years ago,
Lord, and I am the murderer of that crime,
and today I ask you for
forgiveness of that crime.
I ask his family for
forgiveness of that crime.
I ask my own family for
forgiveness of that crime,
and my community to forgive
me for that crime, Lord,
and we thank you for this
work that you put before us
and we ask you to continue
to work through us,
In your mighty name we praise,
Jesus Christ, Amen.
– Amen.
– Amen.
– Yeah, that’s another
part of what we do, Peter.
All these things that we do is
part of our healing process.
It’s us making amends to our victims,
to our community and our family.
You know, that’s why
we so passionate, man.
We’ve done a lot of
damage on these streets,
and uh…
To be on this side
of the wall is like,
it’s priceless for all of us.
Words can’t even express what
we feel when we’re out here
in the communities doing
something that’s finally right,
and then our own family
looking at us with respect
and loving what we doing.
Why I do what I do is also for my parents
I wasn’t able to be the son
that they was hoping I would be,
but through their
prayers, all these years,
in Samoa, my family moved back and…
Has guided me to where I’m at today,
so that’s where that push comes from,
that why we’re in the
front line of what we do
because it’s also we’re carrying
the memory of our parents.
– This is one of them.
It’s my brother, Crim.
He was actually my road dog.
He was the general out here
while I was doing all that time.
Probably pressured the wrong person.
– [Peter] How many friends have you lost?
– Probably most of the
homies are right here.
This is Little Coolie and Big Dog.
Car crash. Wrong side of the 710 freeway.
I think the story was
that they actually ran
into some Park Villagers.
– See that’s the thing about these
two neighborhoods right here.
When the war started,
it was on and cracking.
That’s when the Samoans started
going at it with each other.
The Bloods and the Crips,
the SOS and Park Village.
So there was a lot of bloodshed in this.
and it’s a trip because
when we’re in prison,
all of us are doing time.
We’re cellies, you know,
these two might be
cellies, you know, because–
– Cellies?
– Cellies.
– Cellmates?
– Cellmates.
– [Peter] Gotcha.
– So we’re able to put
all that to the side.
Whatever you felt at that time, you know,
we’re just able to just squash it.
– It’s funny that you
want to do Sanita’s story
because this is the place where we met.
– [Peter] Sanita’s your wife?
– Yeah.
– [Peter] How did you meet in a cemetery?
– I was here for one of
my friend’s services.
Matter of fact, the services
I was talking about at the bar.
– Yeah.
– It was that day.
– You two met.
Upu went into prison, 24 years.
And you waited 24 years? Is that correct?
– Yes. Waited.
– Crazy woman.
– It’s crazy.
I’m glad I did, because he does
help balance things at home,
and of course we work together,
so we’re inseparable,
since he’s been home.
– [Peter] What’s your work?
– We’re truck drivers.
– [Peter] You’re both truck drivers?
– Yes.
– You guys have drove through every state.
– Every 40… Yep.
The lower 48s.
– Where do you love?
– I love Nebraska, Iowa.
California is my least favorite state now.
– Driving in.
– To drive in. Why?
Traffic or what?
– Yeah.
55 miles for the truck.
You know, all these silly
laws and restrictions.
– I like New York.
– Really?
– Up, what is it? Upper state?
– Upstate.
– Upstate New York.
– Like the 87.
– Yes.
– Yeah.
– What I love about it is
it reminds me of Samoa.
Because the plants, the bushes, the trees,
everything’s green there.
I left when I was six,
but I still remember,
and that’s what I love about
New York, that it’s lush.
– That it’s like Samoa.
– Yes.
– That’s the first time I’ve heard that.
– That’s the first time I heard that too.
Thank you so much, dear
Lord for this wonderful day
that we was able to spend with Peter
and just sharing a lot of the
stuff that we grew up doing,
a lot of the things that we’re ashamed of,
but we’ve been able to
share it and let him know
who we are today, as the F.O.U. movement,
and all our brothers here from Compton.
We thank you Father.
We ask you for strength and guidance
in everything that we do.
We thank you for this food
we’re about to eat, dear Lord,
in His name I pray.
– Amen.
– [Peter] There’s one guy
eating Samoan food here.
That’s me.
– That’s you.
– And you guys love the hot dogs.
Is this like a Samoan sauce, curry?
– Mm-hmm.
– Oh yeah.
Mussels in curry.
– Yeah. The curry, Samoan favorite.
– You got that from Poly Grill.
– Poly Grill is solid.
They’re good.
(upbeat music)
All right guys.
A very serious topic, very heavy topic,
very interesting story.
And look, this is one perspective in
the perspective of these guys.
Really interesting,
really commendable what they’re doing.
Obviously I don’t have the
other perspective to this story,
so always keep an open
mind with this content,
and lastly, I wanna say,
though they’ve committed
these horrific crimes,
right now, they’re focusing their lives
on preventing others from doing the same,
so the amount of people they can save
could be, who knows,
dozens, hundreds, thousands down the road.
So thanks for coming along.
Check out their links down
below here in the description.
Until the next one, take care.
♪ hip hop ♪

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