Gangster Report correspondent Dave McEvers reports on a generational divide in Chicago’s Black Disciples street gang and an accompanying gangland assassination that took place back in the winter on the Windy City’s Southside.
November 13, 1989 was an unseasonably warm day for Chicago, temperatures reaching close to 70 degrees by the afternoon and matching the heated vibe spawning from the tough-as-nails south side. The homicide rate in the Windy City jumped from 660 to 742 that year, the tipping point in what would be a near-decade reign of terror in Chicago street gang affairs.
The south side’s Englewood neighborhood is Ground Zero for Chicago street gang culture, dating all the way back to the 1960s and historic shot-callers Larry Hoover and David Barksdale. Hoover’s Gangster Disciples and Barksdale’s Black Disciples gangs merged to form the Black Gangster Disciples Nation, which has grown to become one of the biggest, most powerful and ruthless street gang empires in the United States, boasting over 25,000 members nationwide.
On Monday, November 13, 1989, a fight between rival factions of the BGD Nation broke out in Lowe Park located on Englewood’s north edge next to the sorting yards of the Norfolk Southern Rail Yard complex. In a neighborhood like Englewood, the sight of 20 or so young, African-American males scuffling in a park hardly creates any attention. That was until four gun shots rang out, sending the elementary and junior high school aged kids playing in the park and walking home from schools nearby scatter in different directions.
When the dust settled that late fall day, one man lay dead: his name was Gregory Freeman, a cousin of the undisputed boss of the Black Disciples Jerome (Shorty) Freeman, busted earlier that year for heroin trafficking. Gregory Freeman had been fighting on behalf of his cousin’s “BDs” against an offshoot group within the Black Disciples family known as the Renegade Disciples.
Fast forward three decades to this past winter. Twenty blocks south of Lowe Park, by Hamilton Park on Englewood’s southern tip, a 46-year old man stood near the open door of his SUV. He had a lot on his mind, trying to make sense of the chaos he saw on the street. The sky was dark and it was a little past 9:00 p.m. on February 6, 2019 when the man was gunned down, shot in the head in front of his Nissan Rogue truck.
Police found Black Disciples “OG” Lawrence (Big Law) Loggins face down in a pool of his own blood sprawled across the truck’s driver’s seat. Thirty years ago, Loggins had killed Gregory Freeman in the fight at Lowe Park. Big Law himself admitted to Freeman’s murder, but claimed self-defense. Three young female witnesses who had been on their way home from school as the violence erupted in front of them, contradicted Big Law’s version of events and Loggins was convicted at trial. He served 20 years and was released in 2009, managing to stay out of trouble and off the radar for a decade before the streets caught up with him in February.
At the time he was killed, Big Law was the highest-ranking Black Disciple on the “outside.” Big Law’s son, 29-year old Lawrence (Lil’ Law) Lee, runs a subset of the Black Disciples called the Lamron crew, based on Normal Avenue in Englewood (Lamron is Normal spelled backwards), and is in the midst of a 15-year state prison bid for an attempted murder.
Lil’ Law is viewed as the fastest-rising young power in the Black Disciples today. Not only was his dad an OG, his mom has been described in court records as a female shot caller in the Black Disciples. Popular Chicago-born rappers Chief Keef and Lil’ Durk, pioneers of the “drill rap” movement, often shout out the Lamron crew on their records.
The exact motive for Big Law’s murder isn’t known for sure. The old timers in Englewood immediately speculated it was Shorty Freeman’s vengeance from the grave for killing his little cousin. Shorty Freeman died of kidney failure in 2012, but still had plenty of loyalists roaming the streets of the south side.
This seems unlikely though once you scratch past the surface of the vengeance theory. It’s hard to fathom that Big Law could serve 20 years in the same Illinois State Prison System and at times, the same actual prison itself, as a boss at the level Freeman and his hundreds of inmate soldiers and emerge completely unscathed as Big Law in fact did. And not only did he survive under Freeman’s prison dominance, he actually gained rank in the Black Disciples hierarchy, as Larry Hoover’s “Folk Nation” alliance of gangs was starting to bear fruit.
If Shorty Freeman had wanted revenge, it’s more than likely Big Law would have been murdered in the first few days of his arrival in the prison system, not 30 years later. Furthermore, if avenging the Gregory Freeman murder played any part in the Big Lay hit, it only served as a symbolic justifiable cover for what really happened.
The most probable reason for Big Law’s murder was a consolidation effort he was spearheading in an attempt to bring all the varying and increasingly-estranged Black Disciples sets from the south side under one banner. Big Law’s vision, per sources, was met mostly with confusion and contempt. He had gained some traction in the years preceding his slaying, bringing together smaller sets from the Englewood, South Shore, Burnside and Roseland neighborhoods, but his overall plan was failing to materialize at the speed and rate he had anticipated, according to sources.
Big Law sealed his fate by pressing his luck and the numerous set bosses for an answer. He called for a meeting of all Black Disciples shot callers on the day he was killed. The meeting, per multiple news reports, took place on the late afternoon of February 6, 2019 in Englewood, and according to witnesses that were present at the intended summit, it didn’t go well. A number of shot callers didn’t show, sending Big Law into a tirade, screaming at the ones who did appear before him. In no uncertain terms, he went on to lay down the gauntlet, demanding a new gang structure and street tax.
One person that attended the meeting characterized it as “bizarre” and said, “It was like we were all shaking our heads agreeing with him, but we were all thinking the same thing.” That “thing” was that Big Law had to go.
Within hours he was dead.
The clash he lost his life to was at least partially generational. The “BGs” (baby gangsters) had knocked off the OG. Rigid hierarchal structure was a thing of the past and the Black Disciples’ BGs wanted it to stay there.
How much of a role ‘Lil Law did or didn’t play in his father’s assassination remains a hazy subject. Lil’ Law was caught in the so-called “Great Sicilian Conundrum,” was he to side with his street family or his blood family? On one hand, avenging his father’s death is acceptable, even necessary to maintain standing in some cases. On the other hand, Lil’ Law is high enough in the Black Disciples organization that it’s reasonable to believe he could of or would have had to have either ordered or sanctioned the hit on his dad. You have to remember, this is a father he never knew possibly using his name to street tax his allies.
The world Big Law knew when he came out of prison in 2009 had drastically changed. Where there had once been an organized army of soldiers, the new street-gang landscape on the south side of Chicago was intensely factionalized and free from formal structure and overall leadership. Big Law decided to try and bring order back to the streets and devised a plan to consolidate all of the Black Disciple cliques, spanning from Englewood to the “Wild Hundreds,” into a consortium of interconnected sets reminiscent of Shorty Freeman’s heyday in the 1980s.
In the two decades Big Law was locked up and off the streets, the entire international economy of drug trafficking had changed. When he was incarcerated in 1989, crack cocaine was still relatively new and coming in from everywhere. Aggressive state and federal legislation aimed at combatting what had turned into a nationwide crack epidemic, sent droves of African-American gang bangers to prison, creating massive leadership voids. Upon his return to the streets 20 years later, the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel had practically total control of wholesale distribution in the American drug game and Chicago was the cartel’s nerve center in the United States.
Back in Big Law’s younger days of the 1980s, a vast array of small street gang sets spread throughout the city relied on their respective street gang hierarchy to acquire and pass along product down the chain of command and filter the money back up. While this structure still exists to some extent, any crew can basically get the same drugs for the same price in Chicago, negating the need for the kind of structure Big Law and the OG’s needed in the past, basically renders an entire generation of OG’s without leadership spots to hold when they return to the streets from long prison stints. From the perspective of many BGs today, the OGs are no longer relevant, relics from another place and time in history that doesn’t pertain to their business in the here and now.
Lil’ Law, the king of the Black Disciples’ BG generation, is eligible for parole in 2022. At the very latest, he’ll be home by 2025. We will probably never know the full story of why Big Law was killed or if Lil’ Law played any role in his dad’s bloody demise, but almost everyone agrees that the contract and the shooters themselves came from within the Black Disciple family and not a rival gang.
If the story of Big Law teaches us anything, it’s how difficult the cycle can be to escape. When you think about it, Lil’ Law never had a chance to be anything but a gangster.
And the vicious cycle continues.
This article was originally posted here