As COVID-19 rains havoc across the country, swells of misguided criminal justice reformers continue their unhinged campaign to subject innocent citizens to increased gang violence.
For instance, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s enhanced anti-gang legislation was immediately shot-down by a bi-partisan cadre of gang enabling-advocates.
Columnist Daniel Horowitz of the Conservative Review characterized the Georgia House of Representatives as caving to “pro-criminal organizations” and “vouching for criminals…leaving forgotten law-abiding Americans behind.”
Amazingly, this dereliction by Georgia Republicans and Democrats arose after statewide officials testified to the crisis levels of gang crime in the Peach State. The resistance’s rationale was the perverse contention that stronger gang laws undermine criminal justice reform.
What total foolishness.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vic Reynolds has explained:
“Criminal street gangs dominate all areas of crime. This includes violent crime, drug dealing, and sex-trafficking…With well-over one million gang members in the United States.”
United States Attorney Bobby Christine of the Southern District of Georgia has correctly weighed in that the only way to dismantle the gang crisis is through a “persistent, steadily increasing, relentless surge of prosecution.”
Supporting Christine’s insight, the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice recently inspired the patently obvious, yet politically poignant observation:
“The nation’s top cops are clearly united on what it takes to reduce crime…it takes increased, targeted prosecutions.”
Despite rising gang membership and crime, with few exceptions, the number of prosecutors who use anti-gang laws remains almost nonexistent. One respected estimate has tallied that the federal gang member to indictment ratio is less than one percent annually.
State averages have not shown to be any better. Georgia, for instance, which houses the most powerful and functional anti-gang laws in the country, comes in at around 1.2% on the gang member to gang charge metric.
What, exactly, pray tell, needs to be reformed here? Certainly not a national trend of overly aggressive gang prosecutions as seemingly proffered by left-leaning social justice warriors.
With no concern for gang crime victims, the American Political Class and Mainstream Media continue to pour out their toxic “reform” cocktail with impunity.
Additionally, prosecutors are never scolded for failing to use gang statutes. A suspect’s gang ties are rarely reported, even with the endless parade of “inked up” mug shots that are displayed in daily news reports.
And never, ever, is there any real pressure to propose enhanced legal measures to contend with the scourge of gang crime on anyone, anywhere.
Current notions of criminal justice reform, aka mass prison release, are a nearly universal tenant of the political and media elites of all ideologies. Time has proven that these programs have been a catalyst for guaranteeing increased gang crime.
As violence fuels gang counter-culture, the recent Bureau of Justice Statistics, Gallup, and the Major Cities Chiefs [of Police] Association reports show significant rises in violent crime demonstrating a bloody connection between mass prison release and gang carnage in our communities.
And lockdowns caused by COVID-19 have done nothing to assuage this peril. If anything, law abiding citizens “sheltering in place” have encouraged gangs to victimize and wage war at escalating levels, as crime reports abound from cities: St. Louis, Chicago, Seattle, Houston, San Francisco, and New York.
Incredibly, in the face of this crisis of gang crime and public health, there remains no set of federal laws specifically designed to prosecute gangs, who take advantage of every “reform” we proffer. Compounding this error, the First Step Act, the federal iteration of criminal justice reform, contains no serious provision to prevent widespread gang member release.
Actual leaders in politics and media with even a modicum of concern for public safety would relentlessly prioritize proffering legislation and accurately reporting in a way that would actually protect the innocent from this madness.
That would mean, at minimum:
- Passing a federal anti-gang prosecution law;
- Strengthening state anti-gang prosecution laws;
- Pressuring prosecutors to utilized current state anti-gang and racketeering laws;
- Including aggressive anti-gang provisions in all current and future criminal justice reform measures; and
- Demanding that gang crime is fully and accurately reported.
When elected officials don’t pursue these avenues for improving public safety, correct thinking citizens should confront the elites about their failings every chance they get. Famed political columnist Phil Kent accurately dubbed these elites “gang crime deniers” who inhabit a “pro-gang community.”
Kent’s terms are particularly apt when paired with the latest message emanating from the Department of Justice, to paraphrase and apply: that there must be actual prosecutions of gang members to protect against gang crime.
Prosecutors would do better to stick with the basics, like actually prosecuting violent criminals, rather than feeding what stems from justice reformers whose jurisdictions “set the example” by bottom-basement gang charging, record setting homicide rates, and botched murder cases.
Clearly, if this distorted justice reform nonsense remains unchecked, gang crime will continue its climb, gang membership will undoubtedly soar higher, and more gang victims will suffer greater depths that no amount of criminal or civil justice can repair.
It is up to responsible citizens to assert the political pressure to ensure that America’s Gang Crisis can be met with effective prosecutions or the gangs, like COVID-19, will have us on lockdown in no time.
And with gangs, for a long time to boot.
By Bill Black
“Whack Smack” Bill Black is a Georgia attorney who graduated with honors from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School where he was Editor-in-Chief of the John Marshall Law Journal. Bill is a former Special Assistant District Attorney for Cobb County Georgia, where his work included contributions to gang-related case appeals in Georgia’s high courts.
Bill is also a veteran of the United States Air Force where he was a criminal investigator. Among other topics, Bill has previously published on issues concerning public safety, prosecutorial ethics, rules of evidence, and improving memorials and recognition for black veterans of World War I.
Bill has continued to raise awareness of the gang crisis in America, the lack of media reporting on it, and the political calamity of supporting law enforcement, crime victims, and public safety today. He also obtained his Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree from Georgetown University Law Center.
Here’s a very real and recent example of why it’s so important to prosecute gang members to the fullest extent of the law, and arguably even more so.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, a 15-year-old male is in jail at the Cobb County Adult Detention Center, having been charged with three felonies including malice murder, aggravated assault, and concealing death.
According to a statement from the Marietta Police Department, officers were dispatched to investigate a call of aggravated assault that had already occurred.
Police tell Law Enforcement Today that the early indications are that at least three juveniles were involved, two victims and one suspect, reportedly armed with a knife.
Officers arrived to find the caller detailing that he and his 14-year-old girlfriend, Janina Valenzuela, got separated during the assault. He told police that had been unable to find her and that she had been missing for approximately two hours before he called 911.
Detectives were were brought in to conduct a search of the area. In the early morning hours of Thursday, April 9, 2020, Brayan Segura was located and taken into custody for questioning. Later that morning, the deceased body of Valenzuela was located in the creek behind 1805 Roswell Road.
According to the report, Marietta detectives, in coordination with the Cobb County District Attorney’s office, established probable cause to charge the juvenile suspect as an adult.
“Said accused, knowing victim was already deceased and the whereabouts of her remains, concealed the victim’s death and the whereabouts of her remains by continuously lying to the police during the course of their investigation,” a warrant reportedly states.
Early Friday morning, a GoFundMe page with a picture of Valenzuela was created by Erika Mendez. It includes the following description:
“This beautiful girl known as Janina Valenzuela, 15, while on her bike, she was being chased by a young man with a weapon, her body was found in a creek, the next morning, April 9th.
A young man has been taken into custody. Her mother is ill and she is not able to pay for the cost of Janina’s funeral. Any donations would be greatly appreciated. Rest easy sweet girl”
Segura reportedly told police that he stabbed the girl for initiation into the MS-13 gang, claiming the victim was part of a rival gang.
“The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has requested that should Segura be released, he be turned over to them for arrest and deportation.
The Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) program is widely used by the MS-13 gang to import illegal alien members into the U.S. Annually, about 22,000 potential recruits for the MS-13 gang are resettled throughout the country by the federal government.
The MS-13 gang originated in El Salvador and has used the U.S. immigration system to slowly build up its membership.”
Lawmakers in Georgia and the other 49 states need to pay attention. These gangs are not going away. They are become more invasive, more embolden and increasingly more violent than ever. And things like a 27-year prison sentences are doing nothing to deter their activities.
According to the Justice Department, two members of the ruthless gang known as MS-13 were recently sentenced to 27 years in prison for the parts they played in various murders, attempted murders, assaults, and the peddling of drugs throughout Maryland.
Anytime one of these monsters are pulled from the streets and placed in a cell, there’s no telling the number of potential lives saved.
Democrats allow these illegals to infect our communities with ungodly violence!
CBS Baltimore: Two MS-13 Gang Members Sentenced To 27 Years In Federal Prison For Participating In Murders, Attempted Murders.https://t.co/oglQKww7K2
— #FirstThem NEWS🇺🇸 (@FirstThemNEWS) February 16, 2020
Chief U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar handed down 27 years in federal prison to 28-year old Jose Garcia and 29-year-old Carlos Diaz. Garcia, who went by “Chango” on the streets, was sentenced on February 12th and Diaz, known as “Postivo”, on February 13th.
The sentences were handed down under racketeering charge related to their participation in a violent racketeering conspiracy, specifically with regard to MS-13, including murders.
U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur had some choice words about the brutality of MS-13:
“MS-13 members are committing horrifying acts of violence in Maryland. We must not allow these criminals to ravage our communities, spreading fear in their wake.”
Attorney Hur was not shy about the aggressive stance law enforcement intend to take against criminal organizations like MS-13:
“Federal, state, and local law enforcement will use all the tools at our disposal to arrest and prosecute gang members who prey on our neighbors. We will not rest until we dismantle this organization to make Maryland safer.”
The disturbing acts committed by these two recently sentenced animals is nothing short of inhumane.
One of the incidents cited in the case pertained to a March 2017 murder where Garcia was directly involved. He admitted to hacking a victim with machetes and knives, accompanied by other gang members.
The victim was eventually beheaded and dismembered, and members of MS-13 eventually extracted his heart and tossed the body into a grave already planned.
Roughly a month after the March murder, Diaz was involved in an April 2017 slaying.
Much like the previous murderous act, MS-13 members lured a gang rival to the Frederick City Watershed where the victim was murdered. Machetes were used to dismember the man before tossing the cadaver into a pre-dug grave.
Jennifer Boone, Special Agent in Charge of the Baltimore Field Office of the FBI, noted the importance of these two terrorizers being removed from society:
“Today’s sentence takes out a small part of the plague that has spread throughout our communities. And while it means these defendants will be off the streets for decades, our work is not done.”
Much like attorney Hur, Special Agent Boone has a fervor to remove this criminal scum from devastating anymore neighborhoods:
“Together, working with our civic and community partners, the law enforcement community will be relentless in our pursuit of these gang members until our streets are safe from the scourge of MS-13.”
Despite the progressive outrage that occurred when President Trump referred to MS-13 as “animals”, he was dead on with his description.
The gang has two very distinct mottos to elevate their presence in the criminal underworld. The first is “mata, viola, controla,” which means, “kill, rape, control”.
The second pertains to their inner code of silence, which is “ver, oir y callar,” which means, “see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing”.
HSI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge John Eisert stated his intent to not just tackle MS-13 locally, he wants to destroy the faction globally:
“MS-13 perpetuates senseless violence in our communities. Through coordination with our local and federal partners, domestically and abroad, we will continue in our mission to disable and dismantle MS-13.”
Will taking down this organized crime syndicate be easy? Certainly not. However, their eradication is absolutely necessary. To permit their group’s existence in our country is to be content with horrific acts of violence and a creed held by MS-13 members that aspires to spread fear.
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