Gangs Organize In The Midst of Anti-Cop Protests

Gangs Organize In The Midst of Anti-Cop Protests

Gangs appear to have grown more politically emboldened this past year, as protests have sprouted in response to police shootings of young black males. Gangs organizing with local politicians are not new, as some will point to New York’s Tammany Hall corruption in the early 20th century. Only two years ago, Chicago Magazine wrote about the “unholy alliance” between the city’s local pols and violent street gangs.

New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, a Brooklyn Democrat, tweeted that he was approached by members of the local Bloods gang about getting involved with recent protests relating to the death of Eric Garner, a black man who died after being restrained by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo during an attempted arrest last July. This information has surfaced in the wake of an NYPD confidential informant learning that the Black Guerrilla Family is targeting uniformed NYPD officers.

New York Republican Assemblyman Joe Borelli took Williams to task responding in two tweets:

Breitbart News sent an email inquiry to Councilman Williams, but neither the Councilman nor his office responded.

Williams’s own Brooklyn district was at the center of another shooting activists, along with Williams, spotlight. Kimani Gray, a 16-year old member of the Bloods was shot dead by an NYPD officer in March of 2013. The neighborhood reacted by protesting, looting, vandalizing, and attacking civilians. Following the violence, Williams attempted to pacify the community by saying at a press conference, “We need both sides to be responsible and stand down,” and later adding, “We want our young people to stay angry, but to channel that anger.”

On a national level the Obama administration appears to be obscuring numbers relating to gangs. The 2011 FBI Gang Assessment report stated that criminal gang membership spiked 40 percent, but the reason for the increase, they say, was a result of more accurate reporting of numbers along with any other factors like “more aggressive recruitment efforts by gangs, the formation of new gangs, new opportunities for drug trafficking…”

On the other hand, the 2013 FBI Gang Assessment report stated it does not contain any numbers on gang membership. “Due to inconclusive reporting and lack of confidence in estimates collected from the NGS, the NGR does not contain numbers or estimates of gang members in the United States,” the report stated, placing blame on data collection resources being defunded:

NAGIA’s NGS – which served as the primary source of data collection for the NGR – was disseminated to law enforcement officials across the United States. Participation was voluntary. Six hundred thirty one state, local, federal, and tribal law enforcement agencies responded.  Results indicate that participants this year dropped by 25 percent from participants of the

2010 National Drug Threat Survey (NDTS). One reason for the decrease in participation stems from the fact that mechanisms for previous data collections were defunded. Another contributing  factor lies in the decline in resources due to the fiscal sequestration of the US Government. Restraints on government resources adversely affect every level of law enforcement, largely by creating shortages in manpower and thereby limiting data collection efforts and reporting abilities.

Due to inconclusive reporting and lack of confidence in estimates collected from the NGS, the NGR does not contain numbers or estimates of gang members in the United States.

The National Gang Center, though, shows that the number of gangs has continued to increase steadily to the levels of the mid-1990’s

Additionally, the Holder Justice Department angered many, when the Attorney General himself took the death penalty off the table after four gang members were charged for murdering a Virginia Police Officer.

A law enforcement source told Breitbart News that the NYPD confirmed that both Bloods and Crips are regular participants in Occupy oriented protests. Gang member involvement in political protests remains a concern. Occupy Wall Street’s faction in Los Angeles addressed the issue three years ago when the presence of current gang members in their movement appeared to be getting larger.

Other organizers argued at the time their groups, anarchists, Almighty Latin Kings & Queens Nation, were unfairly classified as gang members by law enforcement, calling the accusation “gang-jacketing.”

Two riots in Ferguson, Missouri this year were set off by separate events related to the same incident. The first was August’s fatal shooting of 18 year old Mike Brown at the hands of white Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson and the second was the grand jury verdict not to indict him.

According to Newsweek, the August riots were a convenient new member recruitment period for the Bloods and Crips. Kevin Deutsch writes that during the summer riots new recruits, usually between the ages of 16 and 19, were asked to fire gunshots at police, throw projectiles (including Molotov cocktails), and loot businesses to prove their loyalty or “worth” to the gang.

Gang members would camp out each night on West Florissant Avenue, claiming they would be there until Wilson was indicted. Deutsch noted that the St. Louis area has “more than 90 documented crews and a thriving gang culture.”

Despite calls for peaceful protests by some Brown advocates and other organizers, gangs were given credibility by other activists claiming gangs, like the Crips and the Bloods, provided “protection” for black youth. Immediately before remarks were made by Cornel West in Ferguson back in October before a group of activists, The International Business Times reported, the audience became upset with the clergy and other black leaders like NAACP president Cornel Brooks who were slated to speak. The attendees wanted to hear from activist local rapper Tef Poe as well as community organizer Ashley Yates. The audience chanted, “Let them speak.” Both eventually made their remarks.

Poe said there should have been acknowledgment of gangs like the Crips and Gangster Disciples at the interfaith service because he said they offer protection for black youth than the activists that were on stage. “You don’t see the GDs, the Vice Lords, the Crips [here] and they be out there in the streets,” he said. “The brother with the suit and tie on isn’t the guy who’s protecting me.”

Part of the problem, according to West, is that blacks who have success or wealth don’t become civic-minded because they don’t face the same struggles as other African-Americans. “Our middle-class brothers and sisters have been reniggerized,” he said. West spoke out against income inequality, pointing out that 1 percent of the American population owns 42 percent of the wealth. The 40 percent of black children living in poverty “is a crime against humanity,” he said. West also railed against “the vicious Israeli occupation of Palestinian brothers and sisters.”

“This ain’t your grandparents’ civil rights movement,” The L.A. Times reported, Tef Poe said, saying the clergy at the event did not do enough in the streets and that those wearing bandanas and no shirts along with the girl cutting school were the ones who had his back. “Get off your ass and join us!” he said.

A little over a month later immediately following the St. Louis County jury decision to not indict then-Officer Wilson, bands of individuals damaged, looted, and burned down businesses in Ferguson and Dellwood. Most of the businesses, KMOV reported were minority owned and operated.


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