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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Gangs, Gangs, Gangs, Gangs

OFF THE WIRE
In California there are eight criteria used to authenticate a citizen as a gangster. If you meet two of them you become “validated..’ They are: Admitting to being a gang member; being arrested “for offenses consistent with gang activity;” being seen “affiliating with documented gang members; “displaying gang symbols and/or hand signs” – like wearing a motorcycle club support short; being “seen frequenting gang areas;” “wearing gang dress;” having a “gang tattoo;” or being classified as a gang member while in custody.”
There are about 150,000 names in the California database called CalGang. And last year a state auditor found that CalGang was full of glaring errors. For example, 42 one-year-olds were validated as gang members. According to CalGang, 28 of those admitted to a policeman that they were in a gang.
The database also relies on clandestine video surveillance and facial recognition software to determine whether someone meets one or more of the criteria for gang validation. Unfortunately, the software has been “documented” to be wrong about 20 percent of the time.
Last year, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that required police to tell you, if you asked, if you were in CalGang. The law also required police to expunge your name from the database if your record is “not modified by the addition of new criteria for a five year period’”
http://www.agingrebel.com/16273
Until last year in California, you could become a “documented gang member” and never know it. Because most gang databases remain secret it is impossible to know how many people stand accused of guilt by association without their knowledge throughout the United States.
“Criminal Intelligence Systems” are authorized by the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968. The formal title of the law is “An Act to assist State and local governments in reducing the incidence of crime, to increase the effectiveness, fairness, and coordination of law enforcement and criminal justice systems at all levels of government, and for other purposes.” The best known sections of the act forbid the interstate sale of handguns and provide federal grant funding for police. Title Three of the act created so-called “Title Three wiretaps.”

Loan Sharking, Smuggling, Bribery

The act also formally encouraged the sharing of police intelligence among various local, state and federal agencies – and so modern “fusion centers.” One section of the act reads: “It is recognized that certain criminal activities including but not limited to loan sharking, drug trafficking, trafficking in stolen property, gambling, extortion, smuggling, bribery, and corruption of public officials often involve some degree of regular coordination and permanent organization involving a large number of participants over a broad geographical area. The exposure of such ongoing networks of criminal activity can be aided by the pooling of information about such activities. However, because the collection and exchange of intelligence data necessary to support control of serious criminal activity may represent potential threats to the privacy of individuals to whom such data relates, policy guidelines for federally funded projects are required.”
Starting about 20 years ago, the provisions intended to curb usury and smuggling were applied to the war on “street gangs” which includes the war on motorcycle clubs. Hence “gang databases” and “validated gang members.”
In California there are eight criteria used to authenticate a citizen as a gangster. If you meet two of them you become “validated..’ They are: Admitting to being a gang member; being arrested “for offenses consistent with gang activity;” being seen “affiliating with documented gang members; “displaying gang symbols and/or hand signs” – like wearing a motorcycle club support short; being “seen frequenting gang areas;” “wearing gang dress;” having a “gang tattoo;” or being classified as a gang member while in custody.”

Many Gangsters

There are about 150,000 names in the California database called CalGang. And last year a state auditor found that CalGang was full of glaring errors. For example, 42 one-year-olds were validated as gang members. According to CalGang, 28 of those admitted to a policeman that they were in a gang.
The database also relies on clandestine video surveillance and facial recognition software to determine whether someone meets one or more of the criteria for gang validation. Unfortunately, the software has been “documented” to be wrong about 20 percent of the time.
Last year, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that required police to tell you, if you asked, if you were in CalGang. The law also required police to expunge your name from the database if your record is “not modified by the addition of new criteria for a five year period’”

Two Civil Suits

Now two civil suits seeking expungement are working their way through state courts in Sam Diego, County. The disputed gang members are a barber named Terry Spears and a motorcycle shop manager named Tyrone Simmons. Both men are black.
Simmons had multiple entries in CalGang in 2007 and 2008. But his next entry wasn’t until April 20, 2014 when he “was contacted by police leaving a gang party at Emerald Hills Park and Recreation. Simmons was with a known Lincoln Park gang member.
Simmons has claimed membership, in the past, in the Lincoln Park Blood Gang. The Lincoln Park Gang at the time was considered an allied gang of the Emerald Hills Blood Gang. April 20 (Easter) is considered an important day in the history of the Emerald Hills Blood Gang and Emerald Hills Park and Recreation is a common place to hold gang gatherings to celebrate the day. It is not uncommon to have allied gang members in attendance at such a gathering.”
In his suit, Simmons says it was just an “Easter party.”

It is obviously time to have a public discussion about “street gangs” and “gang databases” and their relationship to legitimate law enforcement. It is obviously time to take a look at the names in gang databases in places like Texas, Nevada and Florida.