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Gang Member Complains About Treatment From Police — FOP Pres. Responds with Facts

Samuel Salazar, Mugshot — St. Joseph County Jail

MISHAWAKA, Ind. — A self admitted member of the Latin Kings street gang and his wife are complaining about the way he was treated during a felony traffic stop where he resisted arrest and was pulled from the vehicle to be placed into handcuffs. In a video posted to Facebook, that’s been viewed more than 10,000 times, the wife of the gang member falsely claims he was profiled and then abused by police.

According to Mishawaka FOP President Rich Freeman, Sam Salazar was paced going nearly 65 miles an hour in a 30mph zone. When an officer attempted to pull him over, he did not stop and continued to drive about a quarter of a mile until he reached a dead-end street. Salazar refused to get out of his vehicle and was surrounded by officers with guns drawn, plus a K9 unit, to place him under arrest.

CRIMINAL HISTORY

Unknown to police at the time, Salazar is a self admitted member of the Latin Kings street gang with an extensive criminal history dating back more than a decade, further justifying the actions taken by officers at the time of the arrest.

Salazar’s criminal history includes arrests and convictions for battery, drugs, resisting arrest, auto theft and habitual traffic offenses. He was sentenced to two years in prison in 2016 in which he spent less than two years in jail.

GANG AFFILIATION

REAL News Michiana has confirmed Salazar is a member of the Latin Kings street gang. Salazar admitted to officers during his arrest in 2020 that he was a member of the Latin Kings. Salazar’s social media is also full of pictures showing Salazar with other confirmed gang members, being in possession of a gun, throwing gang hand-signs and showing him with gang affiliated tattoos.

FALSE CLAIMS OF ABUSE

The spouse of the gang member took to Facebook to slam the police response against Salazar with extremely uneducated commentary and selectively edited video.

The incident in question is from 2020. Salazar was convicted of two crimes related to the arrest. However, the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office gave Salazar a sweetheart plea deal in which he was only convicted of misdemeanors, despite having a prior conviction for resisting arrest.

Subscribe to get access to this video and the court documents showing Salazar’s conviction

FOP RESPONSE TO FALSE CLAIMS

“The purpose of this video is to offer context and explanation to what appears to be a general lack of understanding of the law and how police respond to human behavior. Mr. Salazar admittedly stated in the rest of the video not shown, that he does not know the law, yet behaved in a manner that escalated the situation far beyond what was necessary because he believed he was right.” Mishawaka FOP President, Rich Freeman, writes a Facebook post with a link to a video responding to Salazar’s false claims.

“When accusations like these are made, I feel there should be a discussion to offer more information to the public so that situations like these can be avoided. When organization remain silent on these issues, I feel that the public views this as an admission of wrongdoing.” Freeman continues.

LATIN KINGS’ CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE

“A lot of the anti-law enforcement sentiment that’s going on across the country right now, many of these groups are jumping on board with those movements.” Jason Wilke, a retired police officer and Latin King expert, said.

Wilke, who travels the country teaching law enforcement about the Latin Kings and other gangs, spoke to Clifton French about the Latin Kings in general.

“It’s hyper structured. They’re probably one of the most structured organizations that we have here in the United States.” Wilke said. “Any type of criminal enterprise that you can think of, they’re going to be involved in. Fraud is a big one especially for the younger kids who have a solid knowledge of the internet. Gambling, prostitution, human trafficking; any type of criminal enterprise that’s going to turn a dollar, they’re going to be involved in it.”

Wilke says each city with a Latin King chapter has its own structure with its own leadership that members typically answer to.

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