San Diego: D4’s Gang Problem Has an Unlikely Spokesman

Butler’s rallies give a consistent voice to the most significant public safety problem in the district: homicide. The topic of violence comes up often at candidate forums for the March 26 special election to fill the district’s City Council seat.

Stacy Butler holds a rally for peace at the corner of Euclid and Imperial avenues in southeastern San Diego.

Every Thursday, one of San Diego’s most notorious gangsters goes to one of the city’s most notorious corners to rally for peace.

“This is my corner, man,” said Stacy Butler, extending his arm wide to point across Euclid and Imperial Avenues in Lincoln Park.

Decades ago, the intersection became known as the Four Corners of Death for its reputation as a gang violence hotbed. Around the same time, Butler, then a gang member, went to prison after being implicated in the killing of a San Diego police officer. After he served 12 years, Butler pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was released in 2000 after a string of police and prosecutorial misconduct tainted the evidence against him. He’s always maintained his innocence.

These days, Butler’s trying to be known in southeastern San Diego neighborhoods for helping to end violence in his community.

Last Thursday afternoon, Butler pulled handmade signs out of his 1993 Chevy Astro van: “Stop Going To Jail,” “Guns Kill Dreams” and “Pita Si Quieres Paz,” Spanish for “Honk If You Want Peace” and a nod to the district’s changing demographics.


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