BRONX GANG TAKEDOWN

August 28, 2018 at 4:45 am

We examine the results of the year-long investigation into the largest gang takedown in the history of New York City! Read the whole article here.

Aired on August 27, 2018.

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>> ON APRIL 27, 2016, THE NYPD
ARRESTED 120 PEOPLE IN THE BRONX
IN WHAT WAS THE LARGEST GANG
TAKEDOWN IN HISTORY.
THE RESULT OF RAY KELLY'S,
QUOTE, OPERATION CREW CUT.
CRITICS SAY THE GANG TAKEDOWNS
ARE THE LATEST METHOD OF
TARGETING YOUNG MEN OF COLOR.
WE HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING THE CASE
AND HAVE CHRONICLED THE CASE.
>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.
>> TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE
HISTORY OF THESE GANGS.
>> THESE GANGS ARE NAMED THE BIG
MONEY BOSSES.
THEY WERE BASED AROUND WHITE
PLAINS ROADS.
THEIR RIVALS ARE TWO-PLY Gs.
THIS GOES BACK BEFORE THE TWO
GANGS EXISTED.
OTHER GANGS EXISTED.
IT'S A RIVALRY BETWEEN TWO GUY
-- BETWEEN TWO GEOGRAPHICAL
AREAS.
THESE GO GANGS OVER A DECADE
SHOT AND KILLED PEOPLE, SOLD
DRUGS, ENGAGED IN OTHER ACTS.
>> SOMETIMES YOU HEAR LAW
ENFORCEMENT SAYING, THE GANGS
ARE GOING AFTER EACH OTHER, BUT
LET THEM GO AGAINST EACH OTHER.
THESE GANGS ARE HAVING AN IMPACT
ON THE COMMUNITY.
>> WHEN THE PROSECUTORS BROUGHT
THESE CHARGES AGAINST 120
PEOPLE, THEY SAID THEIR GOALS
WERE TO DECREASE CRIME IN THE
AREA BUT IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF
LIFE FOR PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THE
NEIGHBORHOOD, PARTICULARLY FOR
PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN PUBLIC
HOUSING.
>> AS WE TALK ABOUT THIS
OPERATION CREW CUT, THE CREWS,
ONE OF THE TERMS USED FOR THE
GANG MEMBERS, HOW IS THIS
DIFFERENT FROM TOOLS THAT LAW
ENFORCEMENT USED PREVIOUSLY?
>> SO THE NYPD STARTED
REFOCUSING ON GANGS AND CREWS
UNDER RAY KELLY WITH CREW CUT.
SINCE THEN, THEY HAVE ONLY
INTENSIFIED THEIR FOCUS.
THERE'S NO MORE TALK OF CREW
CUTS.
WHAT THEY TALK ABOUT IS
PRECISION POLICING, TO IDENTIFY
A SMALL NUMBER OF PEOPLE
COMMITTING THE MAJORITY OF
VIOLENCE IN THE CITY AND BIDDING
STRONG CASES SUCH AS THIS ONE
AGAINST THEM AND OFTEN USING
VERY POWERFUL WEAPONS SUCH AS
RACKETEERING AND CONSPIRACY
CHARGES.
>> ONE COMMENT I SAW ABOUT THIS
IN YOUR REPORTING WAS A JAILED
GANG MEMBER TALKING ABOUT THIS
RIVALRY.
ESSENTIALLY QUESTIONING WHETHER
IT MADE SENSE ANYMORE.
TALK ABOUT THAT.
>> RIGHT.
YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT AARON
RODRIGUEZ.
I INTERVIEWED HIM IN
PENNSYLVANIA.
HE IS SERVING 13 YEARS.
VERY LONG SENTENCE.
YOU KNOW, WHEN HE WAS LOOKING
BACK AT HOW THAT RIVALRY
STARTED, HE WAS SAYING THAT HE
COULDN'T QUITE PUT HIS FINGER ON
IT.
HE WASN'T SURE, YOU KNOW, WHEN
HE BECAME A MEMBER OF TWO PLY
WHY HE WAS -- WHY THEY WERE
--
IT GOES BACK FOR GENERATIONS.
PEOPLE KIND OF GROW INTO IT.
>> SO WHAT ARE YOU SEEING AS A
REPORTER?
WHAT ARE YOU SEEING IN TERMS OF
THE IMPACT THAT THIS APPROACH BY
LAW ENFORCEMENT IS HAVING ON THE
GANGS AND THE SURROUNDING
COMMUNITIES?
>> CRIME RATES ARE VERY LOW.
LAST YEAR, WE HAD THE LOWEST
NUMBER OF MURDERS SINCE THE
1950s.
COPS SAY THESE KINDS OF
STRATEGIES ARE ONE REASON WHY
THAT'S HAPPENING.
IN THE BRONX, THE NUMBER OF
SHOOTINGS AND MURDERS WAS DOWN
IN TWO YEARS AFTER THE TAKEDOWN
COMPARED TO THE PREVIOUS TWO
YEARS.
SOME PEOPLE HAVE CERTAINLY SAID
THEY FEEL LIKE THE NEIGHBORHOOD
IS QUIETER.
THEY FEEL LESS WORRIED ABOUT
BEING OUTSIDE WITH THEIR KIDS.
OTHERS HAVE EXPRESSED CONCERN
ABOUT THE SIZE OF THE TAKEDOWN
AND ABOUT PEOPLE WHO MIGHT HAVE
SIMPLY BY AFFILIATED --
>> TALK ABOUT THAT.
I WANTED TO ASK YOU ABOUT, THIS
HAS NOT BEEN WITHOUT CRITICISM
FROM SOME PEOPLE.
>> RIGHT.
THE MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE WHO
HAVE BEEN ARREST READY MOSTLY
YOUNG MEN OF COLOR.
SOME HAVE SAID THIS IS A
REPLACEMENT FOR STOP AND FRISK.
COPS ARE TARGETING COMMUNIIES
AND THESE TAKEDOWNS ARE TOO BIG.
>> SO BOTTOM LINE, AS A REPORT
HE I'M CURIOUS IF ANYTHING
SURPRISED YOU.
YOU WENT IN WITH AN IDEA WHAT
THE STORY IS GOING TO BE.
YOU ARE NEVER SURE WHERE THE
STORY WILL TAKE YOU.
WHEN YOU FINISHED UP, WAS THERE
SOMETHING THAT HAD SURPRISED YOU
THAT YOU HADN'T ANTICIPATED THAT
YOU WOULD LEARN ABOUT THIS?
>> I THINK IT'S JUST THE
REALIZATION THAT FOR YOUNG MEN
WHO ARE PART OF THESE CREWS OR
GANGS, I THINK THEY MIGHT
SOMETIMES BE AWARE OF THE
CHARGES THEY FACE AT A CERTAIN
POINT.
BUT ONCE THEY FACE THEM, IT'S A
VERY DIFFICULT PROCESS TO GO
THROUGH.
ONE OF THE STORIES I TOLD WAS OF
A 19-YEAR-OLD WHO HAD TO SORT OF
QUICKLY DEVELOP AN UNDERSTANDING
OF WHAT A RACKETEERING AND
CONSPIRACY CHARGE MEANS.
HOW DO YOU NAVIGATE A FEDERAL
CRIMINAL DECISION AND HOW DO YOU
DECIDE WHETHER TO PLEAD GUILTY
TO TAKE YOUR CASE TO TRIAL AND
FACE POTENTIALLY FACE A LOT OF
TIME IN PRISON.
>> IT WAS WONDERFUL REPORTING.
VERY INSIGHTFUL AND POWERFUL.
THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.
AGAIN, GREAT JOB REPORTING.
WE WILL TALK TO YOU NEXT TIME.
>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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