Menace to Society: Why Many Young Black Men are Accused of Being in Gangs

This gang injunction thing is creating a separate criminal class for young men of color. The police come up with new and innovative ways to marginalize at-risk youth. It’s so frustrating because most of us growing up here in the bay area went through a rough patch in our youth. They didn’t have ways to place gang affiliation charges against the troublemakers of my youth. Anyway, the vast majority of us kids grew up and out of that gang scene. I can’t help but suspect that children are the victims of self-fulfilling predictions here. And the criteria for affiliation. It is crap, mostly hearsay testimony and speculation from supposed gang experts.

Bender refused — a significant risk. Officer Gonzalez would testify that he saw Bender throw the gun; forensics tests concluded that Bender’s DNA was a “major contributor” among the samples found on the weapon; the pistol was reported stolen in Fairfield, where Bender lived at the time. Plus, because criminal charges and gang charges are usually consolidated into the same trial, jurors would hear a heavy dose of “gang expert” opinion intended to show that Bender actively participated in gang activities.

“That gang charge — even though it may not carry as much time as the principal charge — often becomes the focus of the case,” says Adachi, the public defender.

The DA’s gang expert for the case was Leonard Broberg, a veteran Gang Task Force inspector who’d worked hundred of cases in Bayview. During his days patrolling the Double Rock projects, neighborhood youth nicknamed him “the Candyman” because he passed out sweets every Friday. Middle-aged, with blue eyes and a salt-and-pepper stubble, he’d gained a reputation as one of those cops who really seemed to care about the kids, once giving a young woman he’d arrested multiple times a bouquet of roses after she finally kicked her drug habit.

Broberg taught the module on black gangs at the city’s police academy. He was a guest lecturer on that subject for a San Francisco City College criminal justice course. He helped compile the Oakdale Mob gang injunction list. He’d testified in more than 80 gang-related trials.

via Menace to Society: Why Many Young Black Men are Accused of Being in Gangs – Page 3 – News – San Francisco – SF Weekly.

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