Beginning in October, the Portland PD will stop identifying gang members in their databases and will even purge their records of all gang-related identifiers.
The move is not intended to aid criminal investigators or prosecutors, but rather, in response to the race-based government-funded organization called Black Male Achievement (BMA) that appear to only be worried about negative labels disproportionately impact minorities.
The BMA webpage claims its strategy is to “act as a convener, facilitator, policy guide, and collective voice to obtain data, push for policy change, increase program scale, and exert influence to create awareness and change for the betterment of Black men and boys.”
The organization also boasts that its work is embedded in the city’s Office of Equity and Human Rights and so “will be less subject to political philosophies or considerations.” Which also means it will be less accountable to the voters and taxpayers.
During a recent announcement, Acting Tactical Operations Captain Andy Shearer defended the move, saying these gang designations can become barriers for young men who have shunned the gang lifestyle and tried to get jobs.
But for gang members who do decide to leave the gang life, the designation procedures can remove the label after their gang activity has been inactive for an established amount of time.
Moreover, this new policy comes at a time when Portland reported 155 gang related assaults and shootings in 2016.
Breitbart Texas spoke with multiple gang experts who say this move will severely impair investigators and prosecutors by making it more difficult to identify gang crimes.
According to these experts, the most effective method of fighting criminal street gangs is to investigate them as a whole instead of individually. Rather than reacting to individual crimes after the fact, police use these databases to proactively targeting a city’s most problematic and violent gangs.
The database also helps cities that use Criminal Syndicate/RICO laws to investigate and prosecute gangs with long-term investigations. The gang documentation enables investigators connect numerous gang members with multiple crimes.
Prosecutors can also ask for enhanced sentencing based on the documentation and prior acts of gang related activities and violence.
Lt. James Darkin who heads the team dedicated to fighting gang crime, told The Oregonian that Portland was seeing a decrease in gang shootings over 2016 but said this comes at a time when a hiring freeze has reduced their ranks.
Officers used to be dedicated to specific areas of the city where gang violence was most prevalent. But Darkin says that’s changed. “Now the gang issue has spread out almost citywide. And because we’re short-handed, officers are going call-to-call and don’t really have time to dig deep into one specific problem and become very knowledgeable about it.”
Another problem hampering prosecutors is that investigations often become mired in the gang code of silence.
Darkin admitted, “It’s very difficult, that’s the biggest obstacle we face. You can be a Crip and not talk to the police about a blood. We are the enemy to all of them and getting information is very difficult.”
Given the progress Darkin and his team have made in what is clearly an uphill battle, this move to purge the gang database seems even more bizarre.