Monday, September 23, 2013

First-Ever Injunction Issued Against a Memphis Gang

Posted By on Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 4:41 PM

This house at 1833 Farrington in the established safety zone is tagged with gang graffiti
  • This house at 1833 Farrington in the established "safety zone" is tagged with gang graffiti

Members of the Riverside Rollin' 90's Neighborhood Crips (R90) can be arrested for so much as appearing in public together, among a list of other activities, in a 4.6-mile "safety zone" in the Riverview-Kansas neighborhood. The zone was established by a court injunction from the Shelby County Environmental Court and announced at a press conference in front of a gang-tagged, blighted home on Farrington Street in South Memphis.

The injunction came as a result of a nuisance petition against the R90 gang filed by District Attorney General Amy Weirich and Memphis City Attorney Herman Morris. That petition was filed following a 10-month investigation into the gang's activities in the Riverview-Kansas community by the Multi-Agency Gang Unit (MGU). Founded last year, the MGU is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the D.A.'s office, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, and the Memphis Police Department.

If any known member of the R90 gang is spotted in the safety zone — bordered by South Parkway East, West Mallory, I-55, and Florida Street — doing any of the following, he or she can be arrested and charged with contempt of court:

1. Associating with other R90 gang members in public, excluding at school or in church
2. Intimidating people who have been known witnesses to R90 gang activities.
3. Possessing guns or illegal weapons.
4. Defacing private property ("tagging") or possessing tools for graffiti
5. Possessing, selling, or using drugs or paraphernalia.
6. Acting as a lookout to warn other gang members of the presence of law enforcement
7. Possessing open containers of alcohol in public
8. Trespassing on private property
9. Forcibly recruiting new gang members
10. Preventing gang members from leaving the gang through threats to strike or assault that person
11. Breaking any other law

Special agent Michael P. Knight, public information officer for the ATF Nashville Field Division, did say there's nothing to stop these gang members from taking their activities elsewhere, but he said the MGU would pursue injunctions such as this in other neighborhoods where gang activity is present. He said this "safety zone" makes that 4.6-mile area better for the 4,000-some residents who live there.

The nuisance petition included photos of gang graffiti on about 30 buildings and dwellings in the "safety zone." Today, after the press conference announcing the injunction, teams began pressure-washing and painting over the graffiti.

During the 10-month investigation in this area, there were 1,200 calls to police with at least one shooting per day. Within a week of filing the petition, four people were shot near the intersection of Farrington and Hollowell, close to where the press conference was held on Monday. During the investigation, some residents told officers that they did not allow their children to play outside for fear of gang violence, and some admitted to sleeping under their beds to take cover from frequent gunfire.

R90 members will be offered a way to opt out of the injunction, but they must declare in writing that they are a reformed member of the gang, and they must renounce their gang affiliation for life. They must file a motion for the court to dismiss, and they cannot have any arrests on their records for the past two years.

"If you are in this gang and looking for a way out other than dying, this is your chance," Weirich announced at the press conference.

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