samedi 12 avril 2014

Le gang "Kurdish Pride" à Nashville (Etats-Unis)

Kurdish Pride Gang members to stay behind bars
Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 10:45pm
Staff reports

Two Kurdish Pride Gang members, who were convicted in July  2008 for plotting the murder of a rival gang member, did not get the answers they asked for from the Court of Criminal Appeals in Nashville.

Brothers Aso and Ako Nejad had appealed their convictions and 25-year sentences on conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Ako Nejad also had an additional 12-year sentence for a conviction on attempted second-degree murder.

The brothers claimed that “evidence was insufficient to support their convictions, a mistrial should have been declared after a witness testified that one of the brothers was a gang member, newly discovered evidence discredits the state’s theory of motive and that their sentences were excessive,” among other assertions.

In a ruling filed Sept. 14, the court rejected their claims and affirmed their convictions and sentences.

The Nejad brothers were sentenced in September 2008 for their parts in an August 2006 incident at Edwin Warner Park in which gang members opened fire on a Metro parks police officer.

Several KPG members, including the Nejads who planned the retribution killing, were about to ambush Brown Pride member Darion Coleman, for a robbery during a previous drug deal, when Officer James Spray happened upon the scene.

The officer approached a parked car that was being used for bait. The car sped away and as Spray pursued it, his patrol car was shot several times. It was later determined that Ako Nejad, one of the men lying in wait behind trees in the park, had shot the car, coming within inches of hitting Spray’s head.
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Street gang emerges from Kurdish community in Nashville
By Theo Emery
Published: Sunday, July 15, 2007

NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Miles from downtown, the southern neighborhoods of Nashville are home to a thriving enclave of Kurdish immigrants.

Just off a wide commercial strip called Nolensville Pike, women in head scarves shop at the Judy International Market. Lunch traffic is brisk at al-Rasoul Restaurant, and on the door of a local mosque, a flier announces Kurdish soccer league sign-ups.

Bound by a common language and ethnicity, Kurds here tend to shun attention. But a growing problem has turned an unwanted spotlight on them: a group called the Kurdish Pride Gang, thought to be the only Kurdish street gang in the United States.

After a series of high-profile crimes, a teenage suspect's suicide and four arrests connected to the attempted murder of a police officer, Kurdish Pride has become a source of deep shame and frustration among Kurds as they find that their youth are as vulnerable to gang culture as are those of other populations.

Kirmanj Gundi, an associate professor of educational administration at Tennessee State University who came to Nashville in 1977, said the gang's activities have upended decades of hard work.

"We did everything to build a good reputation here in Nashville and elsewhere, and tried to be good Americans," said Gundi, 46, who is Kurdish. "And all of a sudden, a few irresponsible hoodlums have tried to tarnish the reputations we've been working so hard over the years to create. That's sad."

Kurds are an ethnic group spread across parts of Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran, in a region collectively called Kurdistan. The Kurdish community in Nashville grew up around those who fled Iraq in the 1970s after the collapse of an autonomy movement; Kurds from elsewhere followed.

Now numbering about 8,000, the Kurdish community is well established here. Public access television carries a show, "Who Are the Kurds?" Community members boast of their college students and business owners. A popular bar in the city's Rock Block of nightclubs is Kurdish-owned.

But some see the success of their diligence losing ground because of the gang, which is estimated to have 20 to 30 members ranging in age from their teens to mid-20s.

Police officials say that Kurdish Pride members have grown increasingly vicious and brazen. Mark Anderson, a Nashville police detective who works in a gang unit, said investigators believe the gang has committed about 10 home burglaries since January, including two involving rapes.

In a case involving the rape of a pregnant victim, a 17-year-old suspect, Zana Noroly, hanged himself in his jail cell in April.

Messages in his memory are ubiquitous on the Web pages of Kurdish youth.

There was an assault in which a student was dragged from a high school classroom and beaten, and another during the school graduation that left the victim hospitalized. Kurdish Pride members have been accused of shooting at a rival gang, wounding three, and also beating a man to death in January at a motel, Anderson said.

Earlier this month, a grand jury indicted four members of the gang for conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in a case in which a gang leader, Ako Nejad, is accused of shooting at a park police officer who interrupted a drug deal last year. The members have adopted older gangs' symbols, adorning their MySpace pages with photos of the rapper Tupac Shakur and slogans like "Live and Die 4 Kurdish Pride." They sport tattoos and gang colors and flash hand signals.

The gang's origins are murky, but many people believe it probably formed to present Kurdish bravado to the mix of Latino, Asian and black gangs in Nashville.

"I think they're really confused," said Rebaz Qaradaghi, a 22-year-old regional director of the national Kurdish American Youth Organization, who lives here. "They really think that they're helping, but they're actually messing it up bad."

Anderson said the police view Kurdish Pride as being as serious a problem as older, more-established gangs, but there is a difference: "Kurdish Pride are not the kind of kids that normally join gangs.

"For the most part, they come from two-parent homes, they come from middle-class families with a strong work ethic, where education is important," he said.
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The Rise and Fall of Kurdish Gangs in Nashville
Taking a cue from the Los Angeles Police Department, Nashville police are suing gang members into oblivion

Last year, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department decided it was going to find a way, once and for all, to dismantle a violent street gang that had wreaked havoc around several neighborhoods for over a decade.

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The gang, the only ethnically Kurdish street gang in the country, was a small but intimidating group of immigrants and first-generation Americans hailing mostly from northern Iraq and southern Turkey. The Kurdish Pride Gang took its cues from the American street gang playbook: They dealt drugs, burglarized homes and flashed gang signs; they intimidated citizens and made city parks and school playgrounds unsafe. They were involved with illegal guns, assault and, eventually, attempted murder.
So law enforcement and city officials came up with a plan to rid south Nashville of the Kurdish Pride Gang: They went to court with a list of the names of alleged members and sued them.

It was the first time Nashville, which has struggled with gang violence from more notorious syndicates, like the Crips and Bloods, sought an injunction targeting gang members, effectively prohibiting them from meeting or socializing together in public.

So far, it has worked, and the Kurdish gang is in tatters.

Nashville borrowed the tactic from California, where law enforcement has long used injunctions to fight gangs in San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles, the gang capital of the country. Other cities are also trying it now, including Charlotte, North Carolina, Orlando, Florida, and Columbia, South Carolina, and across the pond in London.

A gang injunction is a civil suit filed by law enforcement asking for a set of prohibitions on an entire gang or specific members. The injunctions can target private homeowners and businesses with criminal prosecution should a crime take place on their property—even if they weren’t there at the time. The injunctions can also designate large swaths of a city or neighborhood, including parks and playgrounds, off limits to certain individuals. In some cases, they can bar an individual from having a cell phone.

They can also lead to the arrest of a person for doing a mundane task, like picking up groceries, which is what has raised the ire of human rights groups. Such was the case with Manny Ortega, an alleged gang member in East Los Angeles who stopped by a local market for groceries in March and ran into another alleged gang member. The pair were arrested while talking outside the store. Ortega said he lost his job at a local car repair shop because he missed two days of work while in jail. Others arrested under the injunction say they or their family have lost Section 8 housing over an injunction violation, according to the advocacy group

In Nashville, membership in the Kurdish Pride Gang has dropped from a couple hundred people in its heyday to single digits today, with several former leaders now in jail. That includes two brothers, Ako and Aso Nejad, who are serving long prison sentences for the attempted murder of a police officer.

The Kurdish Pride Gang, or KPG, formed around 2000 and grew out of the same need for a shared sense of identity that fueled the rise of other ethnic gangs, like the notorious Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, the violent Salvadoran gang that got its start in Los Angeles.

Members were “jumped in” (beaten up) to prove their mettle before joining, and then gained status “based upon their age, seniority of membership and the types of crimes they have committed,” Nashville police said.

They have gang hand signals, handshakes and a gang color, yellow. Members don’t generally have tattoos for religious reasons (Islam forbids it) but some have inked their arms or shoulders with “KP for Life” or “thug life” or a Kurdish flag. Members have been known to carry yellow bandanas, wear yellow belts or yellow baseball caps.

But gangs that hail from war-torn places, like Kurdistan (which back in the mid-1990s was beset by civil war and under relentless attack by former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein) present a unique problem.

“These kids were raised in a culture in which war is the norm. Some of them lived it first hand,” says Dr. Carter F. Smith, a gang expert and an assistant professor of Criminal Justice/Homeland Security at Austin Peay State University. ”So there’s this propensity to dismiss authority. They can be desensitized to violence that occurs in war and can occur on the streets.”

For years, authorities in Nashville fought the KPG the same way as other gangs, like the Bloods or MS-13. Members were arrested for low-level crimes, like smoking weed or loitering. Much of the nefarious activity was happening on street corners and in one specific park, Paragon Mills Park, where members could convene, plan and commit crimes, police said. So taking a cue from Los Angeles, law enforcement began the process of making those areas off-limits to key gang members.

The injunction targeted the entire gang and 24 individual members, making a nearly 1.5-mile section of the city off-limits. With no place to meet, hang out or conduct business, the gang has become a “dead issue,” according to police and a local activist.

But as with “stop and frisk” in New York, the police tactic that was a big topic of conversation in the recent mayoral election, the injunctions have plenty of detractors. Rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, say they violate the First Amendment right of freedom of association and due process rights under the Fifth and 14th Amendments.

“It’s common practice in gang injunction cases for prosecutors to name only a gang as a defendant, obtain an injunction by default when no one shows up on behalf of the gang to contest the case and then to apply the injunction to anyone police or prosecutors think may be a gang member, without court approval or a chance for the supposed gang member to be heard,” said ACLU of Southern California Senior Staff Attorney Peter Bibring after a milestone federal appeals court ruling found that injunctions can violate due process.

The tactic has failed to catch on in some other big cities, like Chicago and New York City. New York authorities in 2000 brought an injunction on prostitutes and gang members in an area of Queens, but the State Supreme Court knocked down the ban, saying it improperly restricted the gang members’ civil liberties.

Los Angeles currently has 44 permanent injunctions, some of them encompassing entire neighborhoods. In certain areas, the injunctions remain in place even though gang crime has largely diminished.

That’s the case in Echo Park, just west of downtown L.A. Residents and rights groups are headed to court to try to overturn the neighborhood’s injunction, saying it has been ineffective and unfairly executed. Opponents have also staged protests, including a memorable flash mob last month that took to the streets in zombie makeup.
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Top News
Tennessee Bill to Ban Gang Members from Public Spaces

April 08, 2014  |

Senators are slated to act this week on a bill that provides statutory guidance for courts using Tennessee’s public nuisance law to keep criminal gang members out of public areas like parks and neighborhoods, reports the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The Community Safety Act builds on a 2009 change in the public nuisance law that brought criminal gangs and their members under its provisions.

Acting on requests by Nashville and Memphis officials, judges last year issued injunctions barring Kurdish Pride Gang members from gathering in a Nashville park and prevented the Riverside Rollin’ 90s Neighborhood Crips from congregating in a South Memphis neighborhood.

State Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons said the goal of the Haslam administration bill is to encourage wider use of nuisance laws against criminal gangs by codifying the approach.
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Voir également : USA : des dirigeants de l'organisation terroriste PKK sanctionnés pour trafic de drogue