BEVERLY HILLS, California — Snoop Dogg has been embroiled in his fair share of legal brawls over the years, but now he's fighting for someone else's fate: longtime friend Stanley "Tookie" Williams, who is scheduled to be executed on death row next month.
Williams, co-founder of the Los Angeles Crips gang — which Snoop was a member of in his early years — was sentenced to death in 1981 after being convicted of four counts of murder stemming from two robbery incidents. In October the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Williams' final appeal and set his execution date for December 13. His only chance of staying alive is if California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger grants him clemency and offers him an alternative sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Williams filed a request for clemency last week with Schwarzenegger, and Snoop has been taking a bold stand in the media, speaking out for his friend in an effort to get the governor to sign the petition. On November 19 the rapper will attend a protest outside San Quentin State Prison in Northern California, where Williams is being held.
"We're just going up there to peacefully rally with the kids and just bring awareness up, because this guy is a great man and he's done a lot for the community," he said. The rapper tore up the red carpet at the Xbox 360 launch party Wednesday night, donning a long brown tee with "SaveTookie.org" printed boldly across the front.
"[Williams] has been nominated [for several] Nobel Peace Prizes and he's a peaceful guy," Snoop added. "He's been accused of murder, and they're trying to execute him, and we just feel his voice should be heard. They should let him live because he's done so many positive things [in his life]."
During his 24 years on death row, Williams, who has always maintained his innocence, has written a series of children's books called "Tookie Speaks Out Against Gang Violence" that warn kids about the dangers of gangs, crime and incarceration. He's also made videotapes that have been shown to members of rival gangs in an attempt to help end feuds. Jamie Foxx was nominated for a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the reformed inmate in the 2004 TV movie "Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story."