For as long as she can remember, “Kid,” a 21-year-old gang member, has wanted to study criminal justice and work as a crime-scene investigator.
Not the typical career choice for someone who neither likes nor trusts the police.
“I never thought about it like that,” she said. “I just thought about what I wanted to do. … I ain’t got to make friends to be no crime-scene investigator. I ain’t got to be their friends.”
Video: From Fathers to dads
About the series:
Reporter: Taylor Dungjen
Photographer: Amy E. Voigt
Getting the gang story: How 2 Blade staffers overcame obstacles to cover Toledo's gangs
Chances are Kid wouldn’t be their friend anyway. Friends, she said, aren’t real and cannot be trusted. Neither can family.
“Friends, they backstabbers,” said Kid, a member of XBlocc, during an interview at the Lucas County Correctional Treatment Facility. “… I have hood homies. I got goons. I don’t got friends. Call nobody my friends. Ain’t nobody your friend.”
“I didn’t burglarize nobody,” she said. “I was driving, so you live and learn.”In mid-February, Kid had been at CTF for less than a month. She was sent there by Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Stacy Cook after she was convicted of attempt to commit a burglary.
Education and basketball kept Kid out of the gang for a long time, at least until 11th grade, when she left Scott High School and was kicked out of her mother’s house.
She tried to stay with her dad, whom she described as a drug user, but ended up moving in with a cousin and then getting a place with roommates. Being on her own pushed her further into the gang, which she said she was born into.
RELATED ARTICLE: As fathers falter, gangs fill the void
To survive — to make money — she has sold drugs, but on any given day, she could be up to anything else. Except stealing, though she said that’s a common hustle for female gang members.
“Most girls hit licks with the dudes too,” she said. “Break in people’s houses, you know, they go to the stores, steal. It’s just any way of hustling. … Find your hustle, stick to it.”
Her place in the gang — with XBlocc and the motorcycle gang she associates with — isn’t much different from her male counterparts and men don’t treat her all that differently, even though women in gangs are far outnumbered by men.
She said all of the female gang members she associates with “fight dudes. Bar none. Scared of nobody.”
And every gang has a female set, or at least a group of girls who claim to be a part of the gang. They call ’em “hood bitches.”
Kid said men have threatened to kill her. Mostly because they are embarrassed to be beaten up by a female, she said.
Some of her associates have been injured — stabbed or cut up. They’ve been shot at.
“People always shooting and stuff, but that’s how we live,” she said. “That’s how we choose to live. Can’t complain. I refuse to call the police because the police can’t do nothing for me.”
When Kid is released from CTF, she wants to go to school. In March she took a test to earn her high school equivalency diploma.
“Everything happen for a reason, like I said,” Kid said. “Live and learn. I would rather live and learn my mistakes than somebody try to stop me from making mistakes because that ain’t going to help me.”
Contact Taylor Dungjen at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.