People who have claimed membership in a gang but haven’t personally committed criminal acts will have their names removed from a gang designation list run by the Portland Police Bureau.
The Portland Police Bureau says that being on the list of “criminal gang affiliates” creates a stigma:
“... [B]eing labeled a “gang member” can have a negative impact on the person who may be making attempts to overcome the life challenges they face. Today, new processes and technologies allow police to investigate crimes in a manner that our community supports and that will not have the unintended consequences of potentially harming those who may need services and help the most."
Starting in October, the Bureau will purge the list it started more than 20 years ago after meetings with community leaders and members of the "Community Peace Collaborative,” the Oregonian reported.
Portland has many colorful sounding organized gangs, many of them white:
There are all kinds of gang members, Asian, white, black, Native American:
According to the Seattle Times, the latest U.S. census shows that Portland is the whitest city in America at 72%.
The fact that 81% of the gang members on the 359 person list are minorities, according to an Oregonian analysis, suggest that minorities join or hang out with gangs at disproportionately high numbers.
Activists believe minorities are on the list because of profiling.
Local Black Lives Matter activist Teressa Raiford, suggested that was the case:
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced that the decision to purge the list of “criminal gang affiliates” is "too long coming.”
— Maxine Bernstein (@maxoregonian) September 8, 2017
Wheeler, who doubles as the police commissioner, said, “it was the right thing to do.”
Robert Richardson, a former pastor, told KPTV that it’s a “great decision”:
“It’s just another barrier to the re-entry components that we have to deal with. Renting processes, all those things are a factor when you’ve been notorized [sic] as a gang member."
But former cops aren’t supportive. Former Portland Police Detective Steve Russelle told Independent Journal Review that he’s seen this movie before:
“In the '60s and '70s, the radicals of the day worked with ACLU and other subversive groups to have police intelligence records purged. A decade or two later, these homegrown terrorists were professors, politicians, teachers and their well-trained spawn were in the White House. I have no doubt this latest move is descended from the other and will have results just as disastrous.”
The retired sheriff of Multnomah County, Bernie Giusto, told IJR:
“Practicing gang members who carry and use guns don’t make life decisions based on whether their name is on a list or not. The next thing you know the FBI will be asked to take down its ‘Most Wanted’ list because it hurts criminals’ feelings."
Robyn Busch, who claims to be former law enforcement, thought it was a ridiculous decision:
This is a very horrible decision. As retired L/E, it is VERY IMPORTANT to have that list!!
— Robyn Busch (@Robyn_Busch) September 11, 2017
And Steven Bouchard said that it seems to reduce the severity of any future crime committed:
if there are enhancements on gang activity, this is stupid. Racism? Crime-ism! Just stupid!
— Steven Bouchard (@StevenBouchar15) September 11, 2017
“Madcap Magician” said on Twitter that the numbers don’t lie:
sorry to break the news to the “minorities” but you guys DO make up the MAJORITY of gang members and associates.. sorry truth hurts
— MadcapMagician (@MadcapMagician2) September 11, 2017
This attorney wondered if the list was being purged because the minority involvement in gangs made people “uncomfortable”:
Is there truly no utility to tracking a criminal's associates or are they just uncomfortable with how it turns out demographically?
— Emily Karr (@emilyvkarr) September 8, 2017
“Runer" sees the move as a political statement:
When does the liberal stupidity stop?
— Runer (@Runer055) September 10, 2017
This woman thought it was motivated by politics, too:
We minorities out here with brains and PRIDE in America watch you knowing what the end result of this will be. You are killing America.
— Sharon Palmer (@RavenBeauty1960) September 12, 2017
The Oregonian cut off comments on its story after this man’s tweet, but not before he assessed how the citizens were taking the news:
I'm surprised you haven't shut down comments on the article. The public is not buying this ludicrous fantasy fable pic.twitter.com/BKW5vHfIDn
— St. Thomas Bernhard (@MaximHorkheimer) September 11, 2017
Former law enforcement officer Ron Le Blanc told IJR that intelligence is crucial to law enforcement:
“Spent over 20 years in law enforcement. This is really stupid. Any form of organized intelligence is of help to any business, sport, or law enforcement. With good intelligence and data, lives and property can be saved."
Tom Thurman, a former mayor of a small California town and former LA Sheriff's Department employee, assessed it in one sentence for IJR:
“It is putting identity politics over public safety.”
Gang shootings were down 25% in Portland from last year, according to The Oregonian.
The move to terminate the “affiliate” list comes at a time that even the city of Berkeley is considering treating violent and masked antifa ‘protesters’ as a criminal gang. Antifa violence and destruction in Portland are well known.
The mayor says the gang enforcement detail will still be busy tracking down gang crimes.
Watch the report from Fox 12 below.