What is Detroit’s Toughest Gang?


Fifth Estate # 276, September 1976

Today’s gang quiz question is one that the gangs themselves have often fought over: which of them is the toughest? We’ll give you a few hints. It’s not the Black Killers, the Coney Oneys or any of the other teenage groups you’ve heard so much about in the last few weeks. Mayor Coleman Young has called them the “toughest gang in this city” and has warned the populace of them.

Like all gangs, they have their own unique mode of dressing which all members of the group affect (not borsolino hats, but close). They are the oldest of the gangs and are not confined to one section of the city. Although involved in numerous murders, beatings and robberies, their biggest rackets are dope pushing (they are responsible for the majority of heroin in the city) and protection. In some areas they have acted as strike-breakers.

Currently some of the upper echelon members of this gang are under investigation for drug trafficking. Their members are repeatedly busted for similar offenses, but this never stops their activity.

A look at their most recent involvement with the courts gives an idea of the danger they represent to the city of Detroit. Seven of the gang members have been charged with assault stemming from a demonstration they held to protest official harassment; they are charged with attacking a woman’s car and beating a TV cameraman simply because they were of the opposite race. Unknown members of the gang tortured two men mistakenly identified by other gang members as being the persons that shot a gang member.

The gang wrecked the car belonging to one of the men, smashed all of its windows, the seats and tires were slashed and sugar poured in the gas tank. Police officials are investigating. One gang member has just been charged with the murder and robbery of men.

Can you name this vicious gang? (Answer at bottom of page.)

ANSWER: The answer, of course, is the Detroit police. In August, Mayor Young stated: “The toughest gang in this city is the Detroit Police Department, and if it comes down to it, we’re going to get it on.” The crimes alluded to are taken from the pages of the Detroit newspapers over the last week and present a tally that undoubtedly matches or surpasses that of teenage gangs.