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Monday, November 29, 2010

Cincinnati Baseball Caps Become NYC Thug Fashion Statement: Gang Members Wearing Reds Hats To 'Intimidate Rivals'

Al Capone Preferred The Cubs
CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The colors of Major League Baseball's oldest professional team -- the traditional red-and-black Reds cap -- have been adopted by the Bloods.  The violent street gang is wearing Reds' caps in New York to intimidate witnesses and rivals.  Colors are often banned in courthouses, or they attract attention from court security personnel.  So the Bloods are wearing the baseball team's headgear to slide around the ban.  Nobody mistakes them for fans.  Still, it seems to work.   Gang watchers and police websites and portals are full of chatter about how the Bloods have adopted the "C,"  and turned it into a common sight in Queens, the NYC borough that's become the gang's eastern stronghold.  The site of a Reds' cap on a gangsta is so common that it was the subject of a New York Daily News piece last weekend about the latest red menace.

Police Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) blog jumped on the story and spread it across the law enforcement community. Know Gangs has a thread going. The Daily News quoted prosecutors who said the Reds' caps are a slap at the Crips:

"Queens top gang prosecutor complains the brazen thugs wear the cap to intimidate witnesses and show solidarity with brother gangsters. 'They should not be coming into this courthouse wearing their colors,' says Mariela Palomino Herring, the chief of the Queens district attorney's gang violence bureau. 'This is our territory, not theirs.'"

The Reds were the National League Central champs, but nobody in New York thinks that has made their headgear super popular in that city. Rappers have been sporting Reds' caps -- perhaps to play off the gangsta image. Lil Wayne wears one., the cap store based in Ocean City, Md., that has become a huge online retailer, says Reds' headgear is near the top in sales. All those gangstas and wannabes?

Grand Central Sports says the Reds cap is also used by gangs in Indianapolis and Chicago:

"Baseball caps as part of a gang’s attire is nothing new.  The Raiders black-and-silver caps with a pirate’s face was all the gang rage in Los Angeles during the ’90′s and the Pittsburgh Pirates hat is favored by the Latin Kings.  Right now the Reds cap is the color of choice by other gangs in Chicago and Indianapolis.  New York Yankee caps with gang colors were pulled from the shelves by manufacturer New Era in 2007.  The red or blue bandanna-patterned lids were lifted because of their gang-related colors.  Stores also removed others with a crown hanging from a gold ‘NY’ insignia after it became popular with the Latin Kings.  Regular citizens were afraid of being affiliated with the gang and beaten by a rival clan."

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