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Gangbanger Call-In II

by Paul Bass | Jan 28, 2013 9:25 am

(3) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: City Hall, Legal Writes

A neighborhood leader took a seat in City Hall Friday afternoon—but rather than representing voters, he was repping the Cream Crew.

The occasion was an unusual use of the aldermanic chambers. Law enforcement officials borrowed the lawmaking chambers to conduct their second “call-in” of young adults believed responsible for much of the street violence in town.

The called-in sat in chairs usually occupied by aldermen, municipal officials, and members of the public waiting to speak out on taxes or youth programs or street design.

Friday afternoon’s event was the second call-in of “Project Longevity,” a new federal-local effort to stop the shooting on New Haven streets. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder came to New Haven on Nov. 27 to announce the project’s launch. Local cops work with state and federal investigators and prosecutors, as well as local ministers and community leaders and criminal-justice academics, as part of the project. They’ve identified the two dozen or so neighborhood-based gangs or groups of troublemakers believed to be carrying out the bulk of tit-for-tat shootings in New Haven. Then they’ve ordered group leaders on parole or probation to attend the call-ins. There, the young men are presented with a choice: Stop shooting, and get help if you want. Or keep shooting, and we will lock up not just you, but all your boys on every offense we can pin on them. One bullet, everybody pays.

Click here to read a full story about the project’s launch and philosophy.

Twenty-two alleged gangbangers attended the first of two sessions conducted Friday afternoon. Nine attended the second. They included leaders of somewhat identifiable groups like The Cream Crew, which operates out of the Farnam Courts projects (“The G”). Not all these troublemakers belong to what should be called formal “gangs,” officials said.

The called-in heard from Police Chief Dean Esserman and Assistant Chiefs Archie Generoso and Thaddeus Reddish; state and federal officials; Dwight funeral home owner Howard K. Hill; Church On The Rock Pastor Todd Foster; and, among others, city adult education Principal Alicia Caraballo, who lost a son to a murderer’s bullet. Click on the play arrow to watch her discuss that experience and the message of the call-ins at the Nov. 27 Eric Holder press conference.

The first call-in in November involved members of the Dwight/Kensington-based Bloods gang and then some of their rivals. Since then, “we haven’t developed any proof” that any of those called in have been involved in any shootings, Generoso said Sunday.

Friday’s second call-in was a citywide group. The idea was to get the message out to everyone believed to be involved in loosely organized violent activity, through their leaders and messengers, said Generoso.

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posted by: Ex-NHPD on January 27, 2013  5:55pm

I know one of journalism’s teachings is to catch the reader with the first line.

I take great exception to the opening line of this article.  As should all of the law-abiding citizens who reside in the Farnam neighborhood where the “Cream Crew” operates.  Bass has bestowed the title of “neighborhood leader” on someone who, in no sense of the phrase, is such.  The subject is a leader of a criminal organization.  The only people he is leading are criminals.  Does he represent and lead the good people of Farnam Court?  The criminal element at Farnam Court is FAR outnumbered by non-criminals.

One of the most basic tenets of Community Policing is to respect and seek the support of the people affected by the criminal element, and show them that the P.D. is there to help. Shouldn’t the NHI act along similar lines? I know the NHI will defend the first line by claiming this criminal is a “different kind” of “neighborhood leader”.  But in their attempt to juxtapose a criminal with a neighborhood leader, it came off neither clever nor germane.

As for Genoroso, it would seem that he is a bit quick to claim that Project Longevity’s first call-in has been responsible for zero shootings (that they can prove)by those who were called-in.  I’m not saying the program does not have a chance to succeed; why not wait for a little more than two months to make that claim?  If you only look at the short term with stats, you could make a claim that New Haven is on pace for 100 Homicides, based upon two this past week.

posted by: Walt on January 28, 2013  7:20am

Agree with exNHPD for the most part but it seems like a novel worthwhile try,  and these guys are obviously leaders from the bad side of their neighborhoods

Amazed that this potentially great program comes out of Holder’s Department under the Obama administration.  Would have expected criminal coddling, not a push like this.

Good luck.  Hope it succeeds.

posted by: Rhetoric check on January 28, 2013  10:17am

So a police department is announcing its full intention to essentially go to any lengths to target others based on an associates actions? Sounds like an interesting plot line for an after school special. I would gather this would open the city up to quite a few lawsuits, seeing these are real people’s lives the police department is announcing that they will single out and go after.

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