In too deep: three decades of gang involvement was more than enough for one former leader. Now he's telling others not to follow his path
by Beauty Turner
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Hoover called me into a meeting and asked me to stop extorting from Brick. At that time, I told him, 'Okay.' But, as soon as I got back to 95th Street, we were back on Brick's case. Hoover was mad for a little while, but later he said, 'That's just Ulysses.' We saw all the money Brick was making from selling dope, so we decided to just get rid of him and make that money instead.
Many times my life was threatened. Brick had the police grab me from in front of my father's house. They made me lay down on the floor of their car at gunpoint. Two white detectives took me to Brick's house. Brick came to the car. I could see his face. He said, 'Whack him!' I thought that my life was over.
They took me to the [Dan Ryan Woods] forest preserve on 87th and Western and said, 'We ought to kill you, nigger. You better leave Brick alone.' One of the detectives put a gun to my head. After they threatened me for a little while ... they let me go.
It made me come on to Brick even harder. We were successful in uprooting him from the community. And that's when we started selling drugs.
Brick tried one more time to kill me. I was standing in the middle of 95th Street, and a guy opened the side door of a catering truck [that Brick was driving] and let off five or six rounds, but he missed me. I fell to the ground face first. After the shots were over, I just lay there. I thought I was bit. People from the Lowden Homes projects came running and gathering around, asking me, 'Chief, are you all right? Are you hit?'
Do you miss that type of life?
No. I will tell any young person: 'Don't get involved in gangs.' I was in too deep.
It's different when the federal government comes in. They have taken the gloves off. It is an all-out war. It's not an easy game anymore. The government got Larry Hoover. They got Jeff Fort. And they made me see how serious it was. There's no more love, life and loyalty in gangs anymore. Your best friend will turn state's evidence on you. Nobody wants to do 20 years for you.
But, now, instead of taking from the community, I want to give back. That's why when I start something it is something positive that will not harm my people only enhance their lives.
I did a lot of negative things in the past. The road that I took when I was younger was not the right path. I scarred a lot of people. I hurt a lot of people. I never want to do that again. Today, I will tell the young people to stay in school and stop the killing, and start the healing. A message to the youth: If you must get in too deep, make it in your books.
Former gang leader Ulysses "U.S." Floyd, who spent nearly 30 years "in the game," helped start the Lilydale Outreach Workers, a South Side community group serving youth and seniors.