California officials have started an unusual counterattack against Crips co-founder and convicted murderer Stanley Tookie Williams, who is trying to stave off his pending execution, reports the Associated Press. Before a celebrity-led effort begins to stop a Dec. 13 execution, the people who have watched over Williams for two dozen years have questioned whether he’s truly redeemed. They assert that he still is calling the shots from death row for the Crips, one of the nation’s most notorious gangs. A Corrections Department press release, since removed from a state Web site, described Williams’s crimes and said that as a San Quentin inmate, Williams “wielded his power as his lieutenants and other minions were dispatched to carry out his objectives.”
“When you look at the totality of what has been occurring, that leads me to seriously question this man of peace,” said prison spokesman Vernell Crittendon, who has worked at the prison nearly 30 years and regularly interacts with Williams. Williams, 51, has international acclaim for writing children’s books about the dangers of gang life. He has attracted a cadre of celebrity supporters including actor Jamie Foxx, who played Williams in a television movie, actor-activist Mike Farrell and rapper Snoop Dogg, who’s scheduled to appear at a rally Saturday outside the prison.