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Gina Silva

Former Rival Gang Members Unite To Create 'Trap Kitchen LA' Catering Company

Both chefs grew tired of slinging drugs, so they opted for slinging soul food instead. 

Malachai Jenkins and Roberto Smith at one point would've never saw eye-to-eye. Both LA natives pledged their allegiance to rival gang members, Jenkins a Crip and Smith a member of the Bloods. But after years of gang banging, Jenkins grew tired of the dangerous life.

"All money isn't good money, Jenkins said. "[Selling drugs] worked for me for a little while until it started to get me into trouble, so I had to find something legit to do."

A mutual friend introduced Jenkins to Smith and the two became fast comrades. Jenkins then enrolled in the famed culinary school Le Cordon Bleu, and from there things began to change. Upon finishing his courses, Jenkins, who also goes by the name Chef Spanky, began cooking meals and posting the finishing product on Instagram. Soon, people started placing orders and slowly, their catering business Trap Kitchen LA was birthed.

"The gang stuff, the shootings, now that I'm in this kitchen, I don't go through none of that," Smith said.

The way it works is Jenkins puts the daily menu on Instagram and people then place their orders. The men make everything from the simple yet comforting chicken and waffle,s to the popular and more decadent $25 Pineapple Friday dish which is made up of King Crab, lobster, jumbo shrimp and salmon over white rice covered in Teriyaki Sriracha sesame seeds and green onions placed inside an actual pineapple. Whatever your stomach desires, the gentlemen of Trap Kitchen LA will serve you.

"You can make the same amount of money selling drugs, selling food," Jenkins said.

Massive respect to these young men.

 

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Michigan Man Awarded $1.5 Million After Serving 46 Years On A Wrongful Conviction

When Richard Philips was 27-years-old, he was found guilty of dragging a man named Gregory Harris out of his car and shooting him to death. Harris' brother-in-law corroborated the story and told investigators he met with Philips in a local bar to discuss the murder.

Yet despite the statement from the victim's relative, Philips maintained his innocence. It wasn't enough, however, and Philips went onto spend 46 years in prison.

Then in 2010, Richard Polombo came forward and admitted to the killing. It would be another four years before the Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan's law school heard Polombo's confession, and another three in legal proceedings before Philips was granted a new trial in 2017.

In March of 2018, Philips was a free man. CNN reports that Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has awarded Philips $1.5 million, $50,000 for each year he was imprisoned. The money will not be taxed and Philips won't lose any of it in lawyer fees.

In 1990, Philips began painting to "to stave off loneliness," and began selling his artwork in prison to fellow inmates. The money he made went into purchasing more supplies. Philips' watercolor paintings echoed themes of hope and survival.

Now, at 73 years old, Philips rents a small apartment and hopes to buy a home with his money. For now, he's enjoying life's simple pleasures and along with his new home, he says he also wants a German Shepherd puppy.

"He is pretty well-adjusted. He says that he is not bitter," Gabi Silver, Philips' attorney said.

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102-Year-Old Woman Evicted From Home To Make Room For Landlord’s Daughter

A 102-year-old woman living in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Ladera Heights is being evicted from her home of three decades. Thelma Smith was notified on March 8 that she has to move out so that the landlord’s daughter can move into the single-family home, after she graduates from law school.

Smith was on a month-to-month lease and has been paying “very low rent,” her longtime neighbor told the L.A. Times. She has to be out of the home by June 30.

While Smith’s eviction is legal, as landlords have the right to evict tenants to help relatives under L.A.'s Rent Stabilization Ordinance, Larry Gross of the Coalition for Economic Survival told the Times that the law is used to “target low-income paying tenants.”

Smith is a former director of the Sugar Ray Robinson Youth Foundation, a Los Angeles-based charity aimed at serving underprivileged youth. She has yet to find a new home, and rejected her neighbor’s offer to move in, but it looks like she’ll be getting housing assistance from Arnold Schwarzenegger. The actor and former California Governor vowed to help Smith, whom he called a “dear friend for a long time.”

“Imagine doing this to a 102-year-old woman who gave back to the community her whole life. It is heartless,” he tweeted Friday (May 24). Schwarzenegger went on to state that he will be reaching out to Smith. “Landlords, you’ll hear from me too,” he added.

Thelma has been a dear friend for a long time. Imagine doing this to a 102-year-old woman who gave back to the community her whole life. It is heartless. Thelma, I’ll be reaching out to help. Landlords, you’ll hear from me too. https://t.co/IJQrclGQ6I

— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) May 24, 2019

Landlord Arthur Hilton explained to CBS News that the home was never meant to be a rental property, even though Smith had been living there for 30 years. “This property was purchased by my parents not for rental but for the Hilton family,” he said.

Smith, a widow who never had children, planned to live in the home for the remainder of her life.

See more on her story in the video above.

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MANDEL NGAN

Baltimore Sergeant To Plead Guilty For Planting Evidence

A retired Baltimore police sergeant will enter a guilty plea next week after prosecutors allege he planted evidence at a 2014 crime scene.

According to The Baltimore Sun, Keith Gladstone was out to dinner with another officer when he received a frantic phone call from his mentee, Sgt. Wayne Jenkins who said he ran down a man with his car in Northeast Baltimore.

Gladstone allegedly got a BB gun from the trunk of his police car and drove it to the scene. When he arrived he “dropped the BB gun near a pickup truck” as the man named Demetric Simon laid on the ground injured. Per an indictment, Jenkins told another officer to move the BB gun closer to Simon.

During an interview with The Sun, Simon denies having any weapons on his person, especially a BB gun. “I never had no BB gun,” Simon last year. “I never aimed nothing at him. He ran me over because I was getting away.”

Gladstone and Jenkins often collaborated together before Jenkins went on to lead the corrupt Gun Trace Task Force Unit. He's now serving 25 years in federal prison.

New charges outline Jenkins wrote the false police statement against Simon and attributed it to another cop who was at the scene.

It appears Gladstone's unethical ways have caught up to him. He reportedly worked in high-ranking drug units despite misconduct accusations that included being reprimanded by a federal judge and also being found liable by a civil jury for assaulting a man in 2015 during an arrest.

Gladstone has been charged with conspiracy to deprive civil rights, conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States and witness tampering. If convicted of all three, he could face 20 years in prison.

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