As Shelley Zimmerman takes the helm of the San Diego Police Department, she faces a tall order: Regain community trust amid renewed concern over racial profiling, sexual misconduct and officer discipline.
In southeastern San Diego, patching that trust will take a concerted look at gang policing.
Members of the community addressed Zimmerman and former Chief William Lansdowne about police racial profiling at a January hearing of the City Council’s public safety committee. Some of the department’s biggest offenders, they said, are officers on the street gangs unit.
“The gang suppression team, they roll like a mob,” said Lincoln Park Minister Hugh Muhammad at the hearing.
Others in the community have likened the officers to Stormtroopers or a gang itself – known for sporting sunglasses and shaved heads.
“They roll deep. They roll three, four, five cars,” Muhammad said. “They’re very disrespectful. Matter of fact, in my opinion, sometimes they think they’re above reproach.”
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When I was a reporter, more than 20 years ago, I did a ride-along with the SDPD street gang unit. The Lt. made it clear that between them and the gangs it was a case of "who was more macho," and he had to win. He was not talking about humiliating or intimidating them, but rather earning their respect so everyone behaved themselves. He was open about it and it seemed to be working.
I'm Hispanic and I'm tired of fools trying to make everything a racial issue. It's a right and wrong issue. You are either a good person or bad. The racial background makes no difference to me as long as they keep my barrio safe and I know the gang unit works to do that. But to the media it's all about race. guess what fools you ignore the fact that minorities are committing the crimes in minority hoods. Ask Muhammad why the Sureneos are fighting for Assad in Syria? http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/03/03/foreign-fighters-los-angeles-gangsters-spotted-on-video-in-syria/
@Jim Jones @Cesario Chavez I'm just a realist, my Gunny once told me I won't back down from anything and he was right. If these people would work on changing the glamorization of the gang culture and stop worrying about the skin color of the gang unit they might actually make a difference. I know enough about the street and from the Corps that you go heavy and go deep to keep your ass alive. Why do these felons think anybody who points out the truth is 50?It sucks that some people are blinded by hatred and ignore the truth. They are the real racists. Buenos noches!
Does Anyone remember the untouchables ? Police should generate a bit of fear . It's not the happy world of quiet dinners and reality TV for all . Some of these gangs need to be pushed out of town .
They should count their blessings they are not face down in the bay . Proud of the PD ,when Low life's call them A holes , keep up the good work .
but if it was police tactics wouldn't help. because police "bullying" doesn't reduce gangs, nor does the "war" on drugs reduce drug use, both simply escalate the situation.
Making an unfriendly environment for them is the goal .
Maybe a time out or buy coffee for the gang and ask about their feelings ?
Police have a saying exceed the threat , paint that picture with whatever
water colors you like .
You need to understand we may have too much freedom / liberties . The more things they can get away with the more they will try . People are like kids .
Gangs grow beyond street wars to white collar organized crime .Less murder more money . Less impact on the average citizen ( unless you like drugs / street action ).
Lets see , we can drive and drunk on the wrong side of the road and kill someone . Say it was meds or fell asleep at the wheel . Getting 3 - 4 years in prison . Or car theft is some low level misdemeanor ( so john can keep a clean record ).
Sure some calls are over done . CPS can take your kids if you sleep for 3 hours while they are crying .
Generally its all to loose and free .
So Voice of San Diego, did you ask what Muhammad is doing to help solve the gang violence in his community? He complains that cops have shaved heads and sunglasses. Last time I checked it is fairly sunny in San Diego for well.... Most of the year. And well cops work outside so that only makes sense. As for shaving their heads, it looks to me like they have the same haircut as Muhammad. What is the problem with haircut.
Maybe you can ask Muhammad about the blatant racist comments that he made to the officers while in the police station. Things he had to be corrected about. Maybe you can do a story about how cooperative the community is with police when "witnessing" violent crime. It is amazing how many people "didn't see nothing".
In order for the police to gain intelligence, they need to speak with people both gang members and non gang members. As for asking if someone is a gang member, how else are officers supposed to determine this? It is not like they walk around with shirts stating who they are everyday.
As for young people being talked to, maybe you can reprint the story of the Khamisa murder from 1996. 3 of the 4 convicted for that gang robbery/ murder (including the trigger man) were 14.
So if a community leader is not supposed to make his neighborhood a better, safer place to live, then please explain what a community leader does because obviously I am confused.
As for gang crime as this article points out, the murders decreased since the year before, a little research shows that was a decrease from the year before that.
For someone to be so critical, I see very little solutions. You comment in one post that cops need to worry about crime and not getting girls in the back seats. But then you blast them for being jack booted thugs when they do try to fight crime. Make up your mind.
As for treating gangs like terrorists, you might want to research the STEP act. It wasn't the police who came up with the ideas, it was voted in by the people of California.
Brown and black kids are the only gang members? Wow that is news to me Jim. There are plenty of whites and Asians in gangs in San Diego.
As for the STEP, other than just you initial internet seach, you might want tot research why is brough to be and not just who passed it. Then look up Prop 21 which is what gave the gang enhancement the bigger penalties.
This isn't a matter of just hanging out with buddies, being a gang member is NOT illegal. Participation in gang crime is. People can hang out with however they want. In fact a kid could get contacted every single day by the police, while wearing gang clothes or with other gangsters or whatever and it would not matter in the least bit. What this article does not cover is the fact that when the kids are getting in trouble it is for crimes they commit not just for who they hang with.
As for the confusion, it was not about your claim of what police do. The confusion was over the purpose of a community leader. You see I thought a community leader was supposed to help make his community a better / safer place to live.
@Jake Resch I appreciate your comments. I feel I should state that Muhammad did not make the comments about the sunglasses and shaved heads. That came from talking to multiple people on the street. I think they may have been referring to military-style haircuts because there seems to be a lot of unease about the military background of officers, especially within the refugee community. I'm not saying whether the concern is founded or unfounded, just that it's there.
Over the past few months, we have touched on the reluctance you mention to participate in law enforcement. Many experts say those who feel they cannot trust their police department or that the law is not applied evenly are less likely to cooperate as witnesses. That being said, I am currently looking into police-community partnerships that work to quell violent crime. I hope you'll stay tuned, and thanks again for adding to the discussion.