Suffolk County Takes On Gangs
NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy is seeking a court injunction to combat gang activity in hot spot communities.
Levy’s “Gang Watch List” program would prevent known gang members from hanging out with each other in public areas.
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“They can not congregate within these areas with other gang members, they can not congregate in the schools, in the parks,” Levy said.
The initiative will kick off in a two-square mile area of downtown Wyandanch. Other neighborhoods may be added later.
If the injunction is granted, gang members found congregating in public areas can be arrested for violating the court order.
“We’ve had it, we’re ready for our community to come back to us,” one woman said.
Levy said the program will be modeled after similar efforts in West Coast communities.
The Suffolk chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union will look at the proposal to see if it is constitutional. The organization released the following statement:
“The bottom line is that the NYCLU litigated this issue a decade ago and won in City of New York v. Andrews. The court held that the Constitution does not permit the government from banishing people from public areas, even if they are alleged gang members. The police have the right to engage in aggressive law enforcement, but it is unconstitutional to banish people from public areas. The County Executive’s proposal, which would make it illegal for alleged gang members to congregate in public areas implicates the same concerns as the Andrews case, and therefore, its constitutionality is questionable.”