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Popes (gang)

North Side Insane Popes
Founding locationChicago, Illinois, U.S.
Years active1950s-present
TerritoryNorth side of Chicago
EthnicityMostly Greek-American, eventually included Polish-Americans, Irish-Americans, Latino-Americans; some Black-Americans and Asian-Americans
AlliesFolk Nation, TAP Boyz, Imperial Gangsters, Cash Money Brothers
Rivalssimon city royals People Nation, Insane Deuces, Future Stones/P.R Stones, Almighty Gaylords, Latin Kings, Black P. Stones, Washoe Gang, Assyrian Kings

The Popes (also known as the Insane Popes and originally the Almighty Popes[1]) are a Chicago, Illinois street gang, formed in the late 1950s on the north side of Chicago, primarily building membership from a Greek "Greaser" gang that hung out at the corner of Lawrence and Rockwell. This small group had problems with the much larger Latin Kings gang on the north side, and so they began to associate with the Simon City Royals in an attempt to protect themselves. However, rather than joining the Royals outright, they eventually decided to form their own gang, which they named the Popes: this stood for "Protecting Our People Eliminating Spics" (eventually the racial slur would be replaced by "scum" when the Popes ceased to be a racist gang and began inviting Latinos and African Americans to join).[2]


By the mid 1970s the Popes' main membership consisted of many Poles from the Albany Park/Lincoln Square neighborhood, and German, Irish, and Scandinavians in the Portage Park, Jefferson Park, and Mayfair neighborhoods. At their peak in the mid-1960s to early 1970s, they had 300-500 members. In the 1980s, news reports indicated that some members were the children of Chicago Fire Department firefighters and Chicago Police Department officers.[3]

Insane South Side Popes

Insane South Side Popes
Founding locationChicago, Illinois, U.S.
Years active1950s-present
TerritorySouth side of Chicago
EthnicityMostly Caucasian Americans
AlliesPeople Nation, 12th Street Players, Insane City Knights, Latin Kings, Black P. Stones, Party Players, Almighty Players, Almighty Gaylords
RivalsFolk Nation, Gangster Two Six, Latin Counts, TAP Boyz, Wah Ching, Insane Spanish Cobras, Satan Disciples, Ambrose, Insane 22, Latin Angels

In the mid 1970s, the Popes' leader, Larry "Larkin" Morris, started a new Popes branch on the south side. In 1975, Larkin was killed by members of the Almighty Gaylords. The north side Insane Popes formed even stronger alliance with the Simon City Royals, and called this (DAB). The Royals joined Folk Nation, and the Insane Popes eventually did also. However, the south side branch, who hated the Satan Disciples and Two Six gangs who were also Folk members, became a renegade faction, even going so far as to join the rival People Nation collective.

Modern day

Today the North Side Popes' main rivals are the Latin Kings, and the South Side Popes' main rivals are the Satan Disciples. Today there are about over 100 active gang members of the south side Insane Popes.

The North Side Popes remain allied with the Folk Nation, while the south side Popes remain allied with the People Nation. South Side Popes wear Chicago White Sox apparel. North Side Popes wear baby-blue and black, showing allegiance to other Folks gangs (these were Pope colors from the start), particularly the Simon City Royals with whom they retain close ties although the official unity of Royal/Pope/Nation (RPN) has been dissolved.

See also


  1. ^ Possley, Maurice (February 10, 1998). "2 Street Gang Members Found Guilty Of Murders". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  2. ^ Curran Kirby, Kate (2006). "1". In James W. Wagner. The Chicago Crime Commission Gang Book. Chicago Crime Commission. pp. 18–20. OCLC 70236857.
  3. ^ Possley, Maurice (February 5, 1998). "Shooting Was Ordered, Judge Hears". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 16 March 2016.

External links