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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Racketeer or wrongly accused? Discussion panel gives new perspective, information on Jorge Cornell case

Many people have heard of Jorge Cornell and his upcoming trial, but a Guilford discussion panel titled “The RICO Prosecution of Jorge Cornell: Racketeer or Wrongly Accused?” gave a new perspective on the topic.

Jorge Cornell is the head of Greensboro’s Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, a gang organization that originated in Chicago.

On Oct. 15, Cornell and 12 others went to trial on racketeering charges under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. This act calls for penalties on gang-related — specifically racketeering — actions.

Cornell is accused of heading a conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping and arson, according to the Greensboro News & Record. The trial is expected to continue for five to six weeks.

Cornell came to North Carolina in 2005. After establishing the ALKQN, he called for peace on the streets between gangs in 2008.

Many of his policies focus on assisting children and teenagers in the ALKQN, who had to adhere to a set of rules to stay in the organization. Among other things, members had to stay in school and treat others respectably.

The individuals on the panel knew Cornell personally and used their own experiences with him to explain the reality of his situation.

Guilford alumnus and panel member Eric Ginsburg ‘10 met Cornell at the Greensboro community center. Developing close relations with him, Ginsburg managed the first of Cornell’s two City Council campaigns in 2009.

Guilford County Board of Education member Deena Hayes also noticed Cornell because of his peace tactics.

“I really saw the big picture,” Hayes said. “He wanted to change the direction of what street gangs normally do.”

“He loves people, loves his children,” said Lewis Beverage, another friend of Jorge Cornell. “Nothing but love.”

The panelists saw a common issue in the situation surrounding Cornell: the Greensboro Police Department.

Hayes invited Cornell to join the School Safety Committee she created, which at the time was looking into the issue of gangs in schools. When she did so, the GPD left the committee despite the fact that Cornell was committing no offense.

“I’m not afraid of gangs,” said Sarah Lee, a neighbor of Cornell. “I’m not afraid of my neighbors. The only gang I’m afraid of is the Greensboro Police.”

On Dec. 6, 2011, Greensboro police raided the ALKQN.

Lee said the police carried M-16s and flash grenades, assaulting innocent groups to address a threat that may not even exist.

“To throw three-year-olds and 16-year-olds to the ground, so they could pull a woman out of the shower and tell her she could take it later, to take a birthday card to the Kings and Queens,” Lee said. “Not a single gun was there or taken. Instead they took clothes, literature, birthday cards.”

The panelists agree that Cornell has been unjustly accused, and that the leader of the ALKQN could not be participating in such organized crime.

“They’re accusing them of being a criminal enterprise, of raking in money, when they don’t even have lunch money,” said Reverend Nelson Johnson, another friend of Cornell.

Hayes made a similar connection.

“I’ve never seen someone work for food, for utilities, for basic needs, who was running a corrupt organization too,” said Hayes. “It just doesn’t add up.”

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