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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

St. Paul / Police list of 'baddest' gang members is controversial

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13 Comments:

Blogger Bob said...

All of 60 named are black; cops say they're reaching out
Associated Press

Article Last Updated: 08/17/2008 11:35:52 PM CDT


St. Paul police are keeping a close eye on 60 men considered responsible for most gang-related violence in the state's capital city.

The list has been dubbed "Bob," for Baddest Of the Bunch. The cops behind it are armed with a $400,000federal grant, and have allied themselves with a group of crime-fighting ministers to help the young men get off the street.

But the initiative is controversial within the city's black community. All 60 people on the list are black.

The alleged gang members range in age from 15 to 27. They landed on the list because of extensive criminal records or because they've been linked to violent crimes of which they were never convicted. Police said all belong to one of two rival gangs — the East Side Boys or the Selby Siders.

Now that the list has been drafted, Sgt. Trish Englund said, St. Paul police will be reaching out to the people on it.

"In essence, what we're going to do is bring everyone to the table and say, 'We've identified you, and we're going to give you two paths to go down,' " Englund said. " 'We would prefer you to take this path, where we have some resources in place for you to use, and people who genuinely want to help you and change your lifestyle. Or you're going to go down this path, where we're going to target you, and it's going to be one where you'll end up in jail, and possibly in jail for a very long time.' "

Englund, a homicide detective who is coordinating the program, said gang activity has risen dramatically in St. Paul. Over the past four years, the Selby Siders alone have been associated with eight homicides and nearly 100 drive-by shootings and similar assaults. The warfare between the two gangs came to a head last year on a Metro Transit bus, where a 16-year-old was shot to death.
But some people don't think the get-tough approach will work. The head of the St. Paul branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Nathaniel Khaliq, said he'd rather see the money and energy go into programs that prevent kids from getting into trouble in the first place.

Khaliq also said he wished his group and others had been involved in developing the program from the start, rather than being asked by police to show their support just before the launch.

"We see it as a selective prosecution of individuals," Khaliq said. "You already have them on the list, and you're just waiting for them to trip, and then you move on them."

Khaliq said police frequently target African-American men while overlooking trouble in other communities. For instance, he noted, a group of boys accused of a recent baseball-bat attack at Lake Phalen were Asian.

"It is an opportunity if it's framed right," he said. "I certainly don't want to be part of an effort that gives the parents, nor these young men, false expectations that we have a safety net there."

Police said the program would make sure a safety net is there. The Rev. Darryl Spence said he's found about 25 nonprofit groups that want to be part of the program, offering services ranging from mentorships to holistic health care to the gang members.

"As a neighborhood preacher, I am tired of the only phone calls I get is when a young man has been killed or a young woman is shot, and they need a preacher," Spence said. "I want to be a preacher who can help turn young lives around and I think that's where we're at right now. It's time to partner with the police department to save our community."

Spence belongs to the God Squad, a group of ministers who work with the police. He's been hired by the department to meet with the targeted gang members.

"We're going to present to you a case: 'This is you. We know who you are, we know what you're doing,' " Spence said. " 'When you come in to the Reverend Spence, I'm going to hand you a piece of paper and find out what your needs are. I'm going to go over it with my crew, and we're going to find people in our community who do just that.' "

But the program won't begin until other community leaders buy into it. One of those key players is Khaliq. The police have asked him to co-sign a letter that will be sent to the 60 targeted people, urging them to come to a community meeting.

Khaliq said he still needs to be convinced this will help young black men, not target them.

7:24 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

I don't think the police should be targeting just black gang bangers.

There is plenty of white, Hispanic and Asian gang bangers too, who are equally dangerous.

Other than the racial aspects of this idea, I like it. Who knows which one of these kids will be the next victim or perpetrator of a murder. Even if we reach just one or 2 of these kids we could be saving lives.

There is a number of unsolved murders in Saint Paul that I believe are gang related, the Burgess St. homicides, and there was 2 body's found in the Battle Creek area. I don't think these have been solved either.

Contrary to what the local media tells us, crime is increasing in Saint Paul.

Most of these kids will blow this deal off. They already have what they are looking for in life, to be recognized as a bad ass gang banger. In a sense the program supports the recognition they are seeking.Prison to some of these young folks is a badge of honor.

8:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know Spence well and he's a damn good hands on mentor that's not afraid of these punks. He's a good person to have on the team.

I also know Khaliq, although a little less as I've never worked with him. His reputation is set for calling like it is and he has successfully went after the city for discrimination as well as help 'correct' some of the city's discriminatory practices over the last twenty years (he not only calls it out but offers real solutions). He's a community elder that people will listen to, and I know the city will listen and act as well.

I'm with Bob on this one. That list of 60, should probably be a list of 100.

Aside from what Bob, I have noticed graffiti from MS-13 in the past. MS-13 is considered the worst street gang in the Western Hemisphere. Do a little google search and you'll see the damage they've brought to South America, Central American, Mexico and now some parts of the U.S. including our prison system. I don't know if we have some posers or real hardcore members but, the cops seem to have squashed that for now.

I'm not going to show much concern with the racial make-up of the list, if these guys have done the crime OR run with a crew that is known to have done it. Arrest them all. It doesn't negate the fact that prevention programs do work and putting them in place can prevent more from joining violent gangs and help those rehabilitate their values and focus after joining a gang.


Eric

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is great to see that the city has recognized that there is a growing problem with gangs and their affiliation and is working on ways to deal with it. As with any new programs there will comments that are both negative and positive along with flaws that will need to be corrected and people that will suggest new and/or better ideas for the programs. At least its a start in the right direction and just may have positive results on some of those gang members that don't really know of any other life style.

Nancy O.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Bill CUllen said...

Bravo! This kind of aggressive, hands on law enforcement is exactly what the St. Paul business community has asked for. As Bob would say, go after the critter, not the nest.

But, I find it impossible to believe that the 60 worst criminals in St. Paul are all black. Impossible. Somthing stinks.

Bill Cullen.

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You damn right it stinks. St. Paul goes after landlords who rent to black renters, bars that have black customers, and now an exclusive "Black List" of gang members. They don't give contracts to blacks and fire McDonald the black guy who is supposed to oversee the program when he complains to the city, but what the hell.....life is good.....they don't have a race problem do they? LOL!!!!!!!!!!

11:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the city is trying to cover their ass.

We have this mamouth cop who has been alleged to assist code enforcement in intimadating rsidents to gain entry to rental property, he has been accused here of assisting the city in rendering renters homeless. So what does he do, he sits in on meetings at the Listening House and gets an award for showing concern for the homeless. What a joke.

Now this... Huh!

12:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S.

The plaintiffs attorneys.

Dean, what if anything did you do for homeless people prior to assisting code enforcement and the filing of the federal lawsuit?

12:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There is a number of unsolved murders in Saint Paul that I believe are gang related, the Burgess St. homicides"

hey Bob, I thought you might want to know that the Burgess St. murders has been solved. The guy who murdered the probation officer is the same guy who did the triple murder. He did a plea deal...plead guilty to the Howard Porter murder in exchange for not being prosecuted for the triple murder.

There were articles last week(?). Not a whole lot of to do about it though which is pathetic. Another family with no justice!

6:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The st. paul NAACP is full of shit!

Former member

6:20 AM  
Anonymous mrcavil said...

I ALSO KNOW REVEREND SPENCE AND A COUPLE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE GOD SQUAD AND I DONT RESPECT THEM REVEREND SPENCE IS A HYPOCRITE HE SAYS HE IS ABOUT HELP BUT ONE SITUATION WAS AT JOSHUA SHAW'S FUNERAL THERE WAS AN INCODENT WHEN A SUPPOSED SELBY SIDER CAME TO THE FUNERAL AND OTHERS WHERE DISRESPECT FOR HIM BEING THERE AND THEN THE FUNERAL WAS SET TO FAMILY ONLY THEN LATER ONE OF JOSHUA'S CLOSE FRIEND CAME TO PAY HIS RESPECTS AND SPENCE STOPPED HIM AND SAID HE CANT COME IN AND THE BOY SAID HE JUST WANTED TO SEE HIS FRIEND BEFORE HE IS BURIED AND SPENCE SHOWED HIM A PICTURE OF JOSHUA AND SAID THERE YOU SEEN HIM GOODBYE THEN THE BOY WAS UPSET AND STARTED YELLING AT SPENCE THEN THE POLICE TOOK HIM AWAY AND DROPPED HIM OFF ON DALE AND LARPENTEUR AND SAID FIND YOUR WAY HOME HE CALLED ME I WAS STILL AT THE FUNERAL BECAUSE I WAS A PALLBEARER AND I PICKED HIM UP AND DROPPED HIM OFF AND ON THE SITUATION OF THE COPS I HAVE SEEN AND BEEN IN SITUATIONS WHERE THEY WILL PICK UP KIDS FROM THE EASTSIDE AND DROP THEM OFF ON SELBY AREA JUST TO GIVE THEM A HARD TIME IM NOT IN A GANG BUT IT HAS EVEN HAPPENED TO ME SO IF YOUR READING THIS DONT FALL FOR REV. SPENCE HE IS JUST LOOKING OUT FOR HIS SELF AND LAURIE FROM THE GOD SQUAD SLEEPS WITH MEMBERS OF THE SELBY SIDE GANG AND CLEO IS SELBY SIDE I HAVE HEARD HIM SAY THAT PLENTY OF TIMES.IF YOU WANT A PROGRAM THAT CARES AND HELPS THESE GANG MEMBERS REFORM AND CHANGE THEIR WAYS CONTACT Y.I.T IT'S RAN MY STEVE RANDALL, COLIN MOORE AND MARY MOORE REAL GOOD PEOPLE THAT ARE HELPING STRUGGLING YOUTH EVERY DAY

11:49 PM  
Blogger saintcurmudgeon said...

I really like your coverage on this story!

Grace Kelly

10:28 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Thank you Curmudgeon!

10:36 AM  

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