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Latin Kings: A Street Gang Story
Co-Produced by DCTV and HBO for HBO's "America Undercover" Series®.
The Latin Kings are New York's largest and most dangerous street gang. For decades they were synonymous with drugs, guns and murder.
When the homicidal King Blood went to prison for multiple murders, Antonio Fernandez (King Tone) took control of the Latin Kings. In a sudden change of direction, King Tone vowed to lead the gang away from crime. He urged kids to put down their weapons, stay in school, and celebrate their Latino heritage in a positive way.
In many poor neighborhoods, King Tone was hailed as a working class hero. The Kings grew to over 6,000 members. Tone led street demonstrations for better schools. He organized protests against police brutality. Every week the media carried another story about this new type of kinder, gentler gang leader. Yet the cops said it was all a smoke screen to hide the Kings' illegal activities.
They arrested Tone 9 times. Many of the charges seemed trumped up, and Tone won every trial. So when Tone was arrested for drug dealing, community leaders paid his $300,000 bail, pitting authorities against the community and their newfound hero.
"He could have changed New York City," said the District Attorney. "He wanted to be the Puerto Rican Martin Luther King."
To film Latin Kings: A Street Gang Story we were at King Tone's side for a full year - in the streets, in homes, and in jails, with total access to Tone and the Latin Kings.