Bad Seeds: The True Story of Toronto's Galloway Boys Street Gang

Bad Seeds: The True Story of Toronto's Galloway Boys Street Gang

Betsy Powell

Language: English

Pages: 201


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This book tells the story of the Galloway Boys, who as young teens banded together in an urban-blighted area of Toronto's east end to sell drugs and run guns. They were led by Tyshan Riley, born into one of the toughest neighborhoods in Canada and raised by an often absent and erratic mother. He learned his lessons on the streets-how to sell drugs, how to steal--and used violence to get the money, sex and respect that he lived for.The area known as Galloway is home to 186 hectares of public housing. Crossing bridges is the only route into the area. It created a sense of isolation and for those who lived there a sense of mistrust of anyone from the outside. The area was a fertile ground for the growth of gangs--and as well for the drug dealers, prostitutes and crackheads who survived along a major east-west thoroughfare leading in and out of Toronto's downtown core. And while the Galloway Boys lay claim to their turf, farther to the north the Malvern Crew was laying claim to theirs. The war was inevitable and it would claim ten casualties, including the innocent.

For three Galloway Boys - Tyshan Riley, Philip Atkins and Jason Wisdom - their days in the street were numbered. With the cold-blooded murder of Brenton Charlton and the near fatal shooting of his friend Leonard Bell at a busy Toronto intersection on March 3, 2004, the police investigation would lead to the arrest of Riley, Atkins and Wisdom, and with the testimony of a former Galloway Boys gang member, Roland Ellis, the three would be convicted of the first-degree murder of a man who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Through the testimony of Ellis and that of other witnesses, the wiretap evidence, Crown attorney and defense arguments, a portrait of a gang emerges, one that lives on our streets yet is hidden to our eyes. "Bad Seeds" compels us to take our blinders off and face a reality of modern urban life that no one professes to care about very much. There is peril in willing blindness.

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Malvern of the 1980s was unlike the Malvern it would become. “Back in the day, there wasn’t the trade in guns or drugs like there is currently,” he wrote in a 2009 article published in the Star. “Growing up, the worst we had to fear was that someone was going to try to beat you up.” Malvern, though, was never going to be a suburban utopia. Instead of roads designed in circles and crescents, Malvern should have been built on a grid system to allow better bus service. Families without cars were

“Jason Wisdom and Tyshan Riley,” Ellis said, “but there was probably more but like I don’t know who else was in there.” “Who told you about this stuff ?” “This is just news like carries around the block. Like these dudes, when they do stuff, they’re not smart,” he replied. “They’ll call up people, ‘like everyone come to Smokey’s tonight’ and like 50 people [will be there] and everyone’s watchin’ the news seeing what’s going on—maybe like smoking weed, drinking like—celebrating type of shit.”

2004. He would later recall “the look of fear on my younger . . . daughter’s face when she had to come see her father riddled with bullets, lying in a hospital bed and told ‘Your father is in a critical state’; having to see the pain and constant tears in the eyes of my then-fiancée, now my wife, the months of work hours she lost to be by my side all the time without complaint. She suffered many sleepless nights and what seemed like endless crying as she watched me in pain and agony.” Bell

row in the second-floor Colony Grand Ballroom, a large, windowless room with giant glass chandeliers. Court staff checking in the arrivals had posted signs laying out the ground rules: turn off cell phones; no food, drink, or gum-chewing; no talking while court is in session, even though the actual court was across the street. The jury pool faced their own large screen, which fed images from three cameras: one showing the judge, another the three defendants, and a wide shot of the courtroom. All

Ellis and Wilson had concocted their stories from jailhouse gossip and information released publicly at Toronto police news conferences. “It’s called stimulation,” he said. “The information is put out there in order to further their investigation but the problem is the information you’re getting back is the same information you’re putting out.” Garbage in, garbage out, went the argument. Midanik’s approach in a courtroom can be exhaustive and exhausting, apparently even to him. After speaking

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