Gang Member Turned Author Arrested in L.A.

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In Los Angeles, police have arrested a notorious gang member who was near the top of the city's new "Most Wanted" list.

But Kody Scott isn't like other fugitives on the list. He's a best-selling author whose life story is about to be turned into a movie.

The 43-year-old Scott, born in South Central L.A., later took the name Sanyika Shakur after converting to Islam. But he was known to police and fellow members of the Eight-Tray Crips gang as "Monster." On a Black Entertainment Television talk show a few years ago, he explained how he got the nickname when he was just 13 years old.

"The name came from a beating that I had given a guy," Scott said. "We had robbed him, and the dude hit me in the face. Then we chased him and beat him, and stomped him and disfigured him. And the pigs, police, were saying that whoever had did this to this cat was a monster. And the look on the people's faces when I came back to the hood that night — it was just power. And I felt it. And I just took that name."

Scott says the beating left the man in a coma. He wrote about it later, when he was in prison, in a candid autobiography that became a best seller. He also wrote about converting to Islam and moving away from gang life. A film version of the book is reportedly in the works by the director of the movie Training Day.

None of those developments impress Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton.

"I didn't like his book and I didn't like him, so I was kinda happy to see we got him again and put him behind bars again," Bratton said.

Scott was already a fugitive for parole violations when Bratton listed him on the city's new most wanted list of gang members. This week, after an anonymous tip, police arrested Scott for allegedly breaking into a man's home in December and beating him in order to steal his car.

Bratton told reporters this could mean a life sentence for Scott.

"If he's turned his life around, then it must have been since December," Bratton said. "It's not about the fact he wrote a book a number of years ago and is a celebrity. I could give a hoot if he's a celebrity, as long as he's not beating the hell out of people, disfiguring them and stealing their cars."

Gang expert Alex Alonso says there are much worse "monsters" out there than Kody Scott.

"It was absolutely ridiculous that they put him on a top ten gang-most-wanted list when we have a whole lot of unsolved murders out there," Alonso said.

Alonso believes Scott's arrest was motivated by politics and public relations.

"We're in a mode right now where we need to at least appear to be hard on crime, hard on gang crime specifically," he said. "And what better way to do it than arrest one of the most famous gang members in Los Angeles right now?"

Scott's book editor, Morgan Entriken, says he spoke to him just last week, and urged him to surrender.

"I did not think he was very involved anymore, but you know, I think it's also very hard to leave your old ways behind," Entriken said. "I just hoped through his writing, he might be able to put that life behind him. He's was a very talented writer. So I'm saddened by what's happened."

Entriken says just last month, Scott turned in the manuscript for a novel set in South Central L.A. The main character was a gang banger trying to get out of the thug life.



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