Sunday, July 27, 2008

No. 12.75: At the wall with Walter

Walter Martinez is a 42-year-old ex-convict. He is half-Sicilian, half-Puerto Rican. His claim: Martinez was a third lieutenant in Chicago's Latin Kings where he would shoot a man if there was a problem with said person and the gang. He's been stabbed five times. His addiction was money, and he said he was a connoisseur of women. His nickname in prison was "Danger" because he was known to be a good fighter. "Once you have a record, society slates you," Martinez said, stating he had his GED and a two-year business associate degree. He said that is all thrown out once you are convicted.

After taking a bullet to his head, Martinez said, he went into a coma that lasted for eight months. When he awoke, he had a different set of priorities on his mind: God and family. "Every day when I wake up, I make it my business to thank God. You have to have faith, you know? Faith can move mountains."

While standing in front of this mural at the corner of 38th Avenue North and 28th Street, Martinez told many stories of prison life and what a difference it is and an impact it will have on freedoms in the world. This is a series of candid portraits, in which you can see the expressions he uses when describing gang and prison life.

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