"Gangs" & the Criminalization of Association
Gang allegations are used in policing, prosecution, immigration court, jails, prisons, and more to stoke fear and trigger harsher punishment. The NYPD operates a gang database with no meaningful oversight and accountability, no clear measures to ensure that people are not erroneously placed or kept on the database, no transparency on whether a person is on the database, and no remedy to remove one’s self from it. The NYPD uses arbitrary criteria to determine gang membership or affiliation such as living in a “known gang location,” apparel, scars, tattoos, hand signs and relationships with “known gang members.” Significantly, commission of any crime is not among the criteria. ICE similarly uses specious criteria to label people as gang members, and has even admitted to using the label to scare judges into detaining immigrants while they fight against deportation. In addition to our work on abolishing the illegal database, BDS is a coalition member of the G.A.N.G.S coalition.