Fundraiser For NC Latin Kings in Greensboro

From Capitalist Press

GREENSBORO — The Rev. Joseph Frierson wants to see justice served.

But justice, he said, is not what the federal government is pursuing in its racketeering case against Jorge Cornell and other local members of the Latin Kings.

“We are not saying that wrong things did not happen,” Frierson said. “But Jorge was not the root cause of that. What Jorge was doing was taking young men and women who had been battered and bruised by life’s journey and seeking to transform them into individuals that added to the quality of life.”

Frierson will be among the local clergy, attorneys and other community leaders Sunday at Bethel AME Zion Church to show their support for Cornell and discuss the injustice they said he is facing.

Cornell, who is the Inca or head of North Carolina’s Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, is among 14 alleged gang members accused in a federal indictment on conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping and extortion.

On Monday, Wesley Anderson Williams, known as “King Bam,” pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise. He is the sixth defendant to cut a plea deal.

The remaining eight defendants, who are in federal custody, are scheduled for trial Oct. 15. They also will appear in court Tuesday for pretrial motions.

Cornell, who hails from New York and moved to North Carolina 10 years ago, came to prominence in 2008 when he and local clergy hosted a press conference to protest what they saw as police harassment of minorities and immigrants.

Cornell campaigned twice, unsuccessfully, for a seat on the City Council.

Supporters said Cornell’s criticism of the police made him a target.

“For a long time, he lived in a rental house near Freeman Mill Road and Florida Street,” said Randy Johnston, a political consultant and supporter of Cornell’s. “And you would go over there and it was a joke. The parking lot of the rec center across the street from the house, there were always police there.”

Greensboro Police Department spokeswoman Susan Danielsen said the department could not comment on Cornell. “Offering the police perspective has the potential to impede the judicial process,” she said in an email.

The meeting Sunday, Frierson said, has been organized by the Beloved Community Center, along with the Greensboro Legal Defense Fund, which has been trying to raise money for the Latin Kings’ defense. The event will feature a video detailing Cornell’s life story and work in the community.

“It is our view that this is probably one of the most egregious and most irresponsible forms of justice we’ve seen in Greensboro in the past 30 years,” Frierson said.

Contact Robert C. Lopez at 691-5091 or robert.lopez@news-record.com