FBI: Calif. gangs usurping Chavez's eagle

Feb. 24, 2005 at 11:09 AM

SAN JOSE, Calif., Feb. 24 (UPI) -- The famed black eagle that is the symbol of the United Farm Workers is being increasingly used by street and prison gangs in California.

The FBI says some of the state's most notorious Latino gangs have been increasingly using the "huelga bird" made famous by Cesar Chavez to mark territory and communicating within the prison walls.

KNTV-TV, San Jose, reported Thursday that some gangs even use the eagle as a badge of rank, or to decorate a member who has committed a homicide.

Chavez's son, Freddy, told KNTV his late father would be mortified at the hijacking of the symbol of UFW unity by criminals who prey upon the Hispanic community he tried to help.

He also speculated Chavez would try to reclaim the eagle and work to steer gang members on to the straight and narrow.

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