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Latin Kings Beating Caught on Tape

5:57 PM, Sep 21, 2006   |    comments
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By WFLA TAMPA, FL -- Former "Latin Kings" member Alex Perez-Valdez is not too happy. In May, Perez-Valdez was beaten by members of the Latin Kings - he says for not allowing another gang member, who turned out to be an informant, to be killed. So the gang, in essence, held court, with a trial and an issue of judgement. In the end, he ended up unconscious, with lumps on his head and chipped teeth. The attack was taped. You can hear members of the gang taunting Perez-Valdez: "I wanna talk to you. I wanna talk to you, so you can look at me, my brother." Newschannel 8 in Tampa (WTSP) and the Tampa Tribune filed suit to get access to this tape. And although grainy, you can hear Perez-Valdez' brutal beating and him pleading for his life. "I feel you lying to me." "I'm not lying to you." (scuffling noises) "I ain't lying. I'm not lying to you..." "It's supposed to be like this..." That beating, and this tape, helped authorities learn the Latin Kings were planning a major meeting in Tampa. Working with an informant, law enforcement set up a sting and busted more than three dozen Florida Latin King leaders at a Tampa club on August 20th. The sheriff's office says it put a significant dent in the Latin King leadership, including Michael Lugo, the suspected Florida leader. Lugo is also charged with the brutal beating. Perez-Valdez insists he's not the informant who helped police and says he's not helping them now. "I was not the person," he said, "I was not the person that brought the whole Latin King nation down. I was not the person." Perez-Valdez says no matter what happens to Lugo or the Latin Kings, he wants people to know he's trying to change his life, and the release of this tape isn't helping.

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