NEW ORLEANS — A Terrytown teen made Internet headlines when he was disciplined by his uncle for claiming to be a gangster.
Last week, the teen, who was identified as 16-year-old Michael Taylor, was shot to death outside of his home.Taylor’s family said he wasn’t in a gang, but acknowledged that he glorified that lifestyle, which may have led to his death.In the video, you can hear Lamoine Ward, Taylor’s uncle, yelling, “This is my (expletive) nephew right here. He ain’t no gang member. We don’t come from that (expletive). You tell ’em all that (expletive) — all that’s fake. … Well this (expletive) whooping ain’t going to be fake.”
After the uncle whips his nephew he exclaims, “Get that on Facebook!”It’s been about a year since the video went viral. Ward said it wasn’t his intention for the video to get so much attention. He said he simply wanted to set the record straight after he caught his nephew boasting about being in a gang on Facebook.
“Because I was not only going on his walls, I was searching his friend’s walls – I also was frightened about what could happen to my family,” he said.However, Ward never imagined that his nephew would be shot to death near his Terrytown apartment last week.“I was led by the right spirit when I did it, but now the enemy is twisting it in my head like I did something wrong,” Ward said.
“Like, maybe I drew some extra attention to make him feel he like he needed to prove to these people he’s not soft.”After the video surfaced, Taylor was picked on and ridiculed at school, his mother Kimberly Ward said.Kimberly said her son was a good kid, but one who may have been desperately trying to fit in.“I’m hurt. I’m not angry. But I’m hurt. I’m hurt, my boy was my world,” Taylor’s mom said.
Lamoine said the video was created out of tough love to try to save his nephew from the violent street life.Lamoine said he doesn’t regret posting the video to Facebook, but he does have other regrets.“I regret maybe not being a part of his life a little bit more after the video,” he said.Taylor’s mom doesn’t blame Lamoine for his actions. She said she believes her son was already a victim of the culture that glorifies gang life and violence.
“I’m hurt, but at the same time I’m blessed,” she said. “If my child’s death could save another child’s life and another mother don’t have to go through what I feel, I feel alright then.”
Taylor’s family said parents should check their children’s Facebook pages and be active in their lives. Most of all, Kimberly said, “Don’t be a friend, be a parent.”
Taylor’s killing is under investigation.