SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS Tables
Page 1 TOP OF DOCGANG-RELATED WITNESS INTIMIDATION AND RETALIATION
TUESDAY, JUNE 17, 1997
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Crime,
Committee on the Judiciary,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:03 a.m., in room 2237, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Bill McCollum (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Bill McCollum, George W. Gekas, Howard Coble, Steve Chabot, Asa Hutchinson, and John Conyers, Jr.
Also present: Paul J. McNulty, chief counsel; Daniel J. Bryant, counsel; Kara Norris, staff assistant; and David Yassky, minority counsel.
OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN McCOLLUM
Mr. MCCOLLUM. This hearing of the Subcommittee on Crime will come to order.
This morning's hearing has been called to focus on an extremely serious problem that is growing worse by the day: violent street gangs intimidating and retaliating against witnesses that have the courage to testify in trial against them. In every major city in America today, the rule of law is under attack by violent street gangs that are using violence and the threat of violence to silence those that would help bring gang criminals to justice.
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The stories of witnesses paying the ultimate price for their willingness to testify are as tragic as they are numerous. Eduardo Samaniego, a courageous 14-year-old from Pomona, CA, was one such victim. The son of a maintenance worker, Eduardo avoided gangs, although they virtually engulfed his working class neighborhood. As much as possible, he lived the life of a typical adolescent, becoming a star Little League baseball player and dreaming of making it to the big leagues.
But in November 1993, right in his own neighborhood, Eduardo witnessed a gang murder. To his parents' great pride, he was one of only 3 witnesses among the 15 who had observed the shooting who agreed to testify. He spoke up firmly at the preliminary hearing. But he never had the chance to testify at trial. Within a week, Eduardo was fatally shot in an ally near his home. Not surprisingly, the two other witnesses subsequently refused to testify at trial.
The threatened violence and actual violence used by gangs against such witnesses is, by itself, enough to demand action. But the spectacle of violent street thugs getting away with undermining the administration of justice in cities, counties and States throughout the country is simply intolerable. Sadly, their outrageous conduct has already led to the erosion of public confidence in law enforcement and our judicial system in too many communities, making community cooperation even more difficult to obtain.
Intimidation of witnesses is on the rise around the country, with the problem now endemic in a growing number of cities, cities as diverse as Los Angeles, CA; Des Moines, IA; and Washington, DC.
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The tentacles of street gangs extend, and even flourish, behind bars. Fear of retaliation is often fed by the belief that incarcerated gang members will return quickly to the community after serving brief sentences or will be able, while incarcerated, to arrange for other gang members to target potential witnesses.
There is a growing concern within the law enforcement community regarding the use of information, including confidential court papers, gained from witnesses and then provided to defendants by defense attorneys.
In many jurisdictions, prisoners have unmonitored access to phones and their correspondence is not screened, making it easy for even defendants behind bars to arrange for intimidation based on the improperly obtained information.
The mere fact that a crime is gang related can be sufficient to prevent an entire neighborhood from cooperating. In New York City, a local drug gang executed a local man for a petty drug theft. The gang then decapitated him and used his head as a soccer ball, kicking it around the street. This atrocity served the gang's purposes: According to local law enforcement, the lack of cooperation by residents in this neighborhood prevented law enforcement officials from solving nearly 30 homicides in 1994 and contributed to an atmosphere of rampant violence in which an average of eight gunshots occurred each night.
The traditional steps taken by State and local law enforcement to counter the problem of witness intimidation continue to be helpful; but these measures, which include requesting high bail, prosecuting witness intimidation vigorously, and enhancing witness protection services, are by themselves increasingly not enough.
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As gangs have become more interstate in their operations and scope, their ability and willingness to track down witnesses who have moved to other States has increased. As a result, State and local law enforcement officials have called for a greater Federal role in responding to gang-related witness intimidation.
Various legislative proposals responding to the problem of gang-related witness intimidation and retaliation, including legislation proposed by the administration, are now before the House and Senate. One such legislative provision would establish a new Federal offense for traveling in interstate commerce with the intent to delay or influence the testimony of a witness in a State criminal proceeding by bribery, force, intimidation or threat.
Other proposals being considered include expanding pretrial detention eligibility for serious gang criminals, establishing enhanced conspiracy penalties for obstruction of justice offenses involving victims, witnesses and informants, and expanding the list of RICO predicates to include the use of the instrumentalities of interstate commerce to intimidate a witness.
It is my intention to introduce a bill including some of these proposals in the very near future and to work to bring it to the House floor this summer. I welcome my colleagues' input and support in this legislation.
I look forward during this hearing to learning more about the problem of gang-related intimidation of witnesses, and I look forward to hearing from those testifying today about proposals such as these.
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I would like to recognize any of my colleagues who are here today and who might want to make any opening remarks.
Mr. GEKAS. I thank the Chair.
The preface remarks made by the chairman cover the territory pretty well. I simply want to note that I hope that the witnesses will touch upon whatever connection there might be between gang violence and intimidation of witnesses with reference thereto and drugs. That is, is the drug situation one that permeates even to the gang level for the purpose of protecting one another in the enterprise of drugs to such an extent that they would threaten to kill or actually harm a witness? So if drugs are continually part of the problem, then it reverts back to, are we doing enough about the traffic of drugs, even with respect to gang violence and the witness intimidation in which they are engaged?
Secondly, I hope that the witnesses touch upon, and I think they will, on some of the programs that are already in effect and whether we should mimic some of them on the Federal level, particularly in the question of how to manage witnesses preparing for the eventual time that they will have to testify and the proper arrangement of bail to make sure that everyone remains safe in the atmosphere prior to trial.
With all of those questions, I am eager to hear the testimony of the witnesses. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Coble, do you have any opening remarks?
Mr. COBLE. I have no prepared opening remarks, Mr. Chairman. I will be very brief.
The gentleman from Pennsylvania just mentioned the possibility of drug involvement. I think we are in an era now where drugs are synonymously connected with most crimes of this nature. We live in an era now, Mr. Chairman, with conduct and activity which simply would not have been tolerated a quarter of a century ago.
We all know the problem, I guess. Grasping for the solution is going to be far more difficult. But the situation in California, where the young boy was murdered, Mr. Chairman, that should never have happened. That is inexcusable. Those sort of things simply should not happen anywhere, but particularly here, the birthplace of freedom.
So I look forward to hearing from our panelists; and, hopefully, Mr. Chairman, we can chart a course that will result in at least assuaging the pain, if not curing it.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Coble.
Today we have only one panel. Sometimes we have two, three or four. But I want you to know, folks, this is a very powerful panel. We are very pleased you have come. This subject is very important.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would like to introduce our panel today.
Our first witness is Jennifer Snyder. Ms. Snyder is deputy district attorney in Los Angeles County, CA. From 1981 to 1996, she served in the county's hardcore gang division, where she tried in excess of 50 felonies, including 28 gang-related murders. She was designated as the prosecutor for a multiagency force involving FBI and local law enforcement which targeted specific street gangs.
An instructor and lecturer, Ms. Snyder has addressed many gang-related issues before audiences such as the National Homicide Symposium, the Northern California Gang Investigator's Association, and the Office of Criminal Justice and Planning.
She is a member of the Los Angeles County Witness Protection Program and currently serves as the special assistant of the Bureau of Special Operations in the district attorney's office.
Also appearing before us today is Charles Gallagher, deputy district attorney and chief of the homicide unit in the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office. He served under four district attorneys in a variety of trial, administrative and supervisory positions.
From 1986 through 1988, he served as assistant chief of the Homicide Unit, where he supervised and conducted trials in hundreds of homicide cases, including that of Gary Heidnick, the notorious serial rapist and killer. From 1988 until 1995, Mr. Gallagher was the deputy DA for policy and planning, where he managed the annual budget.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In August 1995, District Attorney Lynne Abraham appointed Deputy DA Gallagher as the chief of the homicide unit, where he currently supervises a staff of 25 prosecutors in the trials of approximately 380 homicide cases per year.
I hope that you will convey our special thanks again and appreciation to your district attorney, Ms. Abraham. She was our host for a good meeting we had up in Philadelphia last year.
Finally, we will hear testimony from Ron Stallworth, a 23-year-olda 23-year veterannow, you would like to be 23 years old again, Mr. Stallworth, I am sure. So would Ia 23-year veteran of law enforcement.
Sergeant Stallworth currently serves as the gang intelligence coordinator for the Utah Division of Investigation. His work on the issue of gang violence led to the creation of the Salt Lake area gang project, the first federally funded multijurisdictional gang suppression and diversion unit in the State.
Sergeant Stallworth is nationally recognized for his work in the field of gangster rap music and its correlation to the gang cultural environment. He has researched this subject since 1989 and presented it nationally since 1992. He has also authored three books on the subject and is currently working on the fourth.
Sergeant Stallworth served as a consultant on the issues surrounding the gang culture for the Office of the Governor of Rhode Island and is frequently called upon by law enforcement agencies throughout the country, including the FBI, the DEA and the ATF.
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Again, we appreciate all three of you being with us today. Your written testimony will be entered into the record without objection in its entirety. I hear none, so it is.
We will go in the order of the introductions. You may feel free, Ms. Snyder, to summarize, give us any portion of your testimony that you wish. Please proceed.
STATEMENT OF JENNIFER LENTZ SNYDER, DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY, LOS ANGELES COUNTY, CA
Ms. SNYDER. Good morning, Mr. Chairman. Good morning, members. Thank you for the opportunity to address you this morning.
As the deputy district attorney and gang prosecutor for the county of Los Angeles, I have learned about the tragedies of gang violence and the havoc it wreaks on our communities from the unfortunate experience of having had four witnesses killed in cases I was handling.
These witnesses were not killed for lack of effort on law enforcement's part to take them out of the community. These witnesses were killed as a consequence of having stepped forward to testify in gang-related cases.
As the Congressman from Pennsylvania points out, drugs are an integral part of any gang in the State of California, particularly in Los Angeles County. They are such an integral part that it is impossible to divorce narcotics and their sales from the workings of the gang.
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In a videotape that I intend to play for the committee shortly, I think it will be pointed out in very poignant terms that over a $5 rock of cocaine, many people can die. In the case that I bring to the committee today, two women were killed because they witnessed another murder, a murder of a gang member, a gang member who was selling that $5 rock of cocaine.
I hope to provide you with a glimpse of the hard realities we face as we challenge the strong hold that gangs have on some of our communities. Gangs are empowered by their threats and intimidation. Gangs exercise control over our neighborhoods by fear. Fear and intimidation are the foundation of gang dominance in our communities, and that fear enables the gang to control by force and threat.
Our responsive fears lead many who might otherwise step forward to hide their knowledge and to choose silence over participation in our judicial system.
Witnesses face the unenviable choice of protecting themselves by remaining silent or doing the right thing and stepping forward. The costs can be unimaginable. Far too often witnesses themselves become victims of the reign of terror which they witnessed, which gangs perpetrate through further acts of violence and intimidation. The psychological warfare never seems to end because their worse fears are too often realized, and the assurances we can honestly make are, in truth, equivocal.
The intimidation and victimization continues long after the crime scenes are cleared. Those who provide information to law enforcement endure a campaign of intimidation and threats which results in their unwillingness to testify in too many cases. Once identified as a witness, this person faces the perpetual threat to himself and to his family members. Often the only choice they have is to leave the neighborhood.
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Think of the inconvenience each of us faces when we, by choice, relocate, when we elect to move. The rigors of relocation are immense and cause enormous upheaval from the comforts of a known environment to the unknowna new job, new bus routes, new schools for your children, a new place to worship, a grocery store, finding a drycleaners. The list is endless. Multiply by an exponential factor of 10 the impact this has on your life, and you will begin to understand what it is that we ask witnesses to do when we ask them to relocate because they stepped up to the plate and did the right thing.
More importantly, relocation is absolutely no guarantee that the witness will be free from future threats. It provides some degree of safety; but ties to the old neighborhood may compel some to return, despite the warnings of law enforcement. That is what happened to two women who witnessed the killing of Willie T. Bogan.
Willie T. was killed over a $5 rock of cocaine, the size of a kernel of corn. Gloria Lyons and Denise Jones were with Willie when he complained about the size of the rock that he was purchasing. The seller left and returned moments later with a handgun. As Willie T. reached for his own gun, the seller opened fire and shot Willie T. multiple times, dropping him to the ground.
One of the women, Nece Jones, picked up the money and the rock and ran. She was a product of the streets, and she knew what the rules were. She knew not to get involved. She was part of the entire transaction, and that drug transaction was part of her daily reality. She left.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The other woman, Gloria Lyons, sat along side Willie T. and watched him die. She spoke to police that night and expressed her concern that someone might think she was snitching.
Shortly before trial, both of these women were in county jail. Both identified Willie T.'s killer as a man named Charles Lafayette, a young member of a subset of the Bloods gang affiliated with the Neighborhood Bloods. Charles had friends, and he had gang ties. Those gang ties extended several blocks away to another Blood set which thrived on witness intimidation and killing.
Though Charles was locked up in jail, his home boys were concerned enough about his status and his future to try to help their homey out, to remind the neighborhood about what happens to snitches. It is that kind of control that led to the death of these two women.
In a lyric penned by a fellow gang member, a man who chose the moniker ''Sinister'' to represent himself, the mindset of this gang was unequivocally expressed in a song entitled, ''Put a Snitch in the Ditch.'' One homeboy made the call from prison, another followed his orders, and two women were killed.
The videotape I am going to play for you is graphic. It tells the tale of these two women who died because they choose to do the right thing. We will never know why they made the choices they made, but we will always be thankful for their attempts to make sure that the truth came forward.
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Ms. SNYDER. Four days passed between Gloria's release and her execution.
As everyone here will undoubtedly acknowledge, the costs are enormous. So that you understand the causal links between this, the song that you heard at the end of the video was written by Sinister. Sinister is the brother of the man that called this hit. He calls himself Evil.
The point, in fact, is that Nece's execution, the last victim who was killed, happened about 2 weeks after she testified and a week after the case hung. The gang members are sophisticated enough to know what the process is, and they knew what a mistrial meant. They knew I would have to go back into court again with Nece, put up her lone testimony, since that was all that was left against their man, against Charles; and they took, they thought, that opportunity away.
We were successful in the second trial because her testimony was contained in transcripts from the previous trial. In admitting that testimony the second time. We were successful in achieving a conviction. But at what cost? Two women died over a $5 rock after the man buying that rock was killed.
From this, a multiagency task force was formed involving both the Los Angeles Police Department, Mr. Garcetti, the district attorney for the county of Los Angeles, and members of the FBI. That task force targeted this gang that had a history over a 10-year period of killing or otherwise intimidating witnesses.
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The gang meant business. They infiltrated every informational system we know about. They would know when people were going to court before we knew.
So when you talk about the need to protect the witnesses, there is no greater cause that I know about that will have a direct and profound impact on our ability to deal not only with the narcotics problem that the Representative from Pennsylvania brings up but with the safety of our streets. Because until a witness feels confident about their ability to walk into court, tell the truth and go home safely, those people are not going to step forward.
The networks that the gang employs cross all kinds of State lines, and that is why the interstate commerce portions of the legislation which are proposed are entirely appropriate.
These people are heroes. They are not snitches. We need to change our vocabulary. We talk about witnesses as snitches as part of our daily vocabulary. They are not snitches. They do not deserve that pejorative. They deserve the kind of congratulations and praise and protection that are afforded to our heroes.
We enable gangs to perpetuate their influence over us by permitting these erroneous labels to become part of our vocabulary. They are essential, these witnesses, to the pursuit of justice. The killing of a witness goes to the heart of the justice system because it destroys the foundation upon which the law rests, our community.
In our jurisdiction, great efforts have been made with the support of law enforcement and District Attorney Gil Garcetti to protect those who fall victim to violence as well as those who witness it. Ultimately, the responsibility for the encouragement of these people and the protection of these witnesses rests upon us all, and it must be addressed by a national mandate.
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The current legislation appropriately sanctions witness intimidation resulting in death most severely by permitting death to be sought in those case. We would encourage the Members of Congress to broaden the scope of witness-related crimes to include witness intimidation within the gambit of RICO predicate crimes and to enlarge the language of the current legislation to include the use of interstate commerce and not just interstate travel for the purposes of witness intimidation.
By broadening the statutory language, another aspect of the gang intimidation dilemma can more readily be addressed. Gang members are aware of the ''six degrees of separation'' and have successfully located relocated witnesses whose new addresses were protected. Gang members have infiltrated information systems at the State and local level which permits them access to the new locations to which these new witnesses may be moved. Gangs members have friends who have friends who have relatives in any number of locations who will be recruited to locate and face off those who dared step forward and testify.
Inclusion of interstate commerce language will address the interstate communications, such as the phone call which members of this panel heard. That phone call was intercepted from State prison. The person issuing the orders was in custody on his own narcotics violation. He called collect to his homeys and ordered the hit. ''Put a leash around their asses by any means necessary. It is your way or no way. It is up to the streets.''
I cannot emphasize for you enough the reality of those words and the absolute dedication to that mindset with which many gangs operate. It doesn't happen in many cases, but it does happen.
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Mr. Samaniego fell victim in Pomona to a Hispanic gang. These two women fell victim to a Central Los Angeles gang. It doesn't need to happen, and we must take every means necessary to ensure the safety of these people.
I would encourage Congress also to include witness intimidation in the wiretap interceptions under title III. Wiretaps are an absolutely critical device that permit investigators to find out what is going on before it happens. In this particular case, we did not receive the phone call until after the killing, but it is nonetheless telling evidence, and under better circumstances it may be possible to prevent the death of somebody who made the right choice.
The desensitization which has occurred must not dull our awareness of the problems which are acute and accelerating. Our acceptance or acquiescence to the inherent violence of gangs is simply unacceptable because the problem has reached epidemic portions.
We care more if somebody dies than if they are a victim of vandalism or of verbal threats. None of these behaviors are acceptable, and no one should forget the terror which such threats carry.
Let me also remind this panel that last week a man was relocated and his family moved to a new home some 40 miles away from Los Angeles. Within the period of time that he was moved into that new home, however, everything that that man and his family owned was trashed and defaced, and the walls were covered with the message of the gangs: Snitches die.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Witnesses are essential to our system of justice. It is critical that we, the community, support those who do the right thing, who come forward to testify in every way possible. It is high time for us to recognize witnesses for the heroes they are and protect them accordingly.
Thank you for the opportunity to bring some of the reality of our streets and our courtrooms to this panel today.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Ms. Snyder.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Snyder follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF JENNIFER LENTZ SYNDER, DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY, LOS ANGELES, CA
Good Morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee.
Thank you for the opportunity to address you this morning. As a deputy district attorney for the County of Los Angeles, the lessons I have learned about the tragedies of gang violence and the havoc it wreaks on the communities we serve are indelibly imprinted. I hope to provide you with a glimpse of the hard realities we face as we challenge the stronghold that gangs have on some of our communities. Gangs are empowered by our responses to their threats and intimidation. Gangs exercise control over their neighborhoods by mobbing tactics. Their loyalty permits them to kill in the name of an amorphous and misguided idea of ''respect.''
Far too often, witnesses themselves become victims of the reign of terror which gangs perpetrate through acts of violence and intimidation. The psychological warfare never seems to end because their worst fears are too often realized, and the assurances we can honestly make are, in truth, equivocal. The intimidation and victimization continues long after crime scenes are cleared, as those who provide information to law enforcement endure a campaign of intimidation and threats which often results in their unwillingness to testify.
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Witnesses face the unenviable choice of protecting themselves by remaining silent, or doing the right thing and stepping forward. The costs can be unimaginable. Think of the inconvenience each of us has faced when we have moved our homes or our offices, by choice. The rigors of relocation are immense, and cause enormous upheaval from the comforts of the known environment to the unknown. A new job, finding new bus routes, new schools for your children, a place to worship, a grocery store, the dry cleaners to use, the list is endless. Multiply by an exponential factor of ten when the relocation is the consequence of having made the right decision, and becoming a target of retaliation by the defendant's gang, and you will begin to get an idea of the breadth of victimization which is imposed upon those who make the laudable and necessary choice to get involved. More importantly, relocation is no guarantee that the witness will be free from future threats. It provides some degree of safety, but ties to the old neighborhood may compel some to return, despite the warnings of law enforcement. That is what happened with the two women who witnessed the killing of Willie T. Bogan.
Willie T. was killed over a five dollar rock of cocaine, an amount smaller than a kernel of corn. Gloria Lyons and Denise Jones were with Willie when he complained about the size of the rock he was buying. The seller left, and returned moments later with a handgun. As Willie T. reached for his own gun, the seller opened fire and shot Willie T. multiple times, dropping him to the ground. Denise picked up the money and the rock and ran. She was a product of the streets, and the entire transaction was part of her daily reality. Gloria sat along side Willie T. and watched him die. She spoke to police that night, and expressed her concern that ''someone might think she was snitchin.'' Nece, as Denise was called, walked away, only to be found by police a few days later. Nece did not want to get involved. She knew who ran the streets, and she was not going to violate a well worn rule of the streets: do not snitch. Tell some, but do not point fingers lest the finger be pointed at you.
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Shortly before trial, these women were later found in county jail, they were reinterviewed. Both identified Willie T's killer as Charles Lafayette, a young member of a subset of the Blood gang affiliated with the Neighborhood Bloods. Charles had friends, and he had gang ties. Those gang ties extended several blocks away, to another Blood set which thrived on witness intimidation and killing.
The video tape about to be played is graphic. It tells the stark tale of two women who lost their lives because they did the right thing. We will never know why they made the choices they did, but the choices cost them their lives. (Video transcript.)
Gloria was released first. She was executed three days after her release from jail in an alley only blocks away from the site where Willie T. was killed. She had gone back.
Nece was released days later. She testified in court. Jurors were uncomfortable believing the lone testimony of a cocaine addict, despite the acknowledgment that when the crime is committed in hell, you won't have angels for witnesses. The jurors hung, and a mistrial was declared. Days later, Nece returned to the neighborhood she knew, despite its danger. The phone conversation between Reco, and a much respected prisoner, Evil, occurred in which directions were given by Evil to Reco. Reco carried out his orders.
Nece's execution took place on a busy street corner at 11:00 in the morning in the center of the neighborhood, in the presence of numerous residents. Only one came forward to testify against her killer. He came to court in six layers of clothing, a fake beard, and odd looking glasses. But he came to court.
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From the sale of a five dollar rock of cocaine, three people died over the course of two years. A task force of FBI and local law enforcement agencies was formed, and significant efforts resulted in gaining the support of a few in the community who provided information. Cases were filed, and gang members imprisoned. A five dollar sale resulted in three capital case filings, and the assembly of a multiagency task force. The costs have been enormous. But the results promising. District Attorney Gil Garcetti responded strongly and unequivocally: the death penalty is sought in each of the witness killings to send the message to those on the street that their campaign of terror will not be tolerated, and the sanctions sought will be the strongest available.
These people are heros, not snitches. We enable the gangs to perpetuate their influence over use by permitting these erroneous labels to become an integral part of our daily vocabulary. These people are heros, and they are essential to the pursuit of justice. They deserve our protection, and crimes against their safety deserve the most severe sanctions. The killing of a witness goes to the heart of the justice system, because it destroys the foundation upon which the law rests: our community. In our jurisdiction, great efforts have been made with the support of law enforcement and District Attorney Gil Garcetti to protect those who fall victim to violence, including an integral program for witness and victim assistance. Ultimately, the responsibility for the encouragement and protection of witnesses rests upon us all, and must be addressed by national mandate. The enormous amounts of time, effort and dollars will undoubtedly be costly.But the investment inevitably reaps tremendous rewards, and sends the message to all that their terrorism will not be tolerated.
The current legislation appropriately sanctions witness intimidation resulting in death most severely by permitting death to be sought for those who kill witnesses. We would also encourage the members of Congress to broaden the scope of witness related crimes to include witness intimidation as RICO predicate crimes, and to enlarge the language of the pending legislation to include use of interstate commerce in addition to interstate travel.
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Gang members are aware of the ''six degrees of separation'' and have successfully located relocated witnesses whose new addresses were protected. Gang members have infiltrated information systems at a state and local level which permits them access to the new locations to which these witnesses may be moved. Gang members have friends who have friends who have relatives in any number of locations, who will be recruited to locate and face off those who dared to assist the prosecution or law enforcement with the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes.
Further, we encourage the members of Congress to include witness intimidation and related crimes within Title III, which addresses wire interceptions. Wiretaps are a critical and valuable tool in the arsenal being developed by investigators to effectively identify these crimes and in some cases, prevent the threats from becoming reality.
The problems faced in combating gang violence and the attendant intimidation continue to escalate. The desensitization which has occurred must not dull our awareness that the problems and threats are acute and accelerating. Gang sophistication permits less visible but just as insidious means to be employed. Our acceptance or acquiescence to the inherent violence of gangs is unacceptable because the problem has reached epidemic proportions. We care more if someone dies than if they are the victim of vandalism and verbal threats. None of these behaviors are acceptable, and no one should forget the terror which threats can carry.
Witnesses are essential to any investigation. And it is critical that we, the community, support those who do the right thing, who come forward to testify, in every way possible. It is time for us to recognize witnesses for the heroes they are and protect them accordingly. Thank you for the opportunity to bring some of the reality of our courtrooms to this distinguished assembly.
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PART ONE: INTERVIEW OF GLORIA LYONS
GLORIA. I met Willie T. . .I met him in about '83, you could say '82.
DETECTIVE: How long have you known Charles?
GLORIA. I don't know ... I haven't known him
DETECTIVE: Six months?
GLORIA. No, I been seeing him for about half a year.
DETECTIVE: About six months.
DETECTIVE: What's Charles' last name?
GLORIA. I don't know his last name. I just know his first name, and I know his face. I'm gonna have to really watch myself because I was there
DETECTIVE: Don't be worrying about that yet.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC GLORIA. Somebody saw me get into the police car. They probably think I'm snitching. When I come around there, there's no telling. I have friends, you know, all over there
GLORIA. I have to stop seeing them because of that, I mean. It would be wise to be away for a while. I'm just hoping they don't try to find out where I live, and come to my house, and
DETECTIVE: Don't be worrying about that yet. Don't be worrying about that yet. We won't even give out your address or phone number.
PART TWO: INTERVIEW OF GEORGIA ''NECE'' JONES
DETECTIVE: Where at, at 88th and Central?
NECE. Between, just at 88th and Central, right in betweenthere's a motel just a block from there.
NECE. You see a lot of bloods hanging over there.
DETECTIVE: You know a Batman over there?
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NECE. Yeah, there's a Batman over there.
DETECTIVE: Who else, over at 85th and Wadsworth?
NECE. Where do I buy?
DETECTIVE: Who you bought dope from.
NECE.I haven't even been up there
DETECTIVE: Clarence, Ice
NECE. That's the only one I know
NECE. By name.
DETECTIVE: How many other people have you bought dope there from whose name you don't know?
NECE. I don'tnot more than one or two cuz I just don't deal with them, one or two other. I don't know them. I deal with them once, maybe twice if I have to but really, once.
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DETECTIVE: How often have you seen Charles?
NECE. (demeanor changes) Charles? Charles who?
DETECTIVE: Just Charles.
NECE. I don't know. I don't know Charles by name.
PART THREE: SECOND INTERVIEW WITH NECE
DETECTIVE: You were just too frightened to tell the truth.
NECE. That boy's brother shot himself in the head. What makes you think he's gonna think twice about shooting me?
DETECTIVE: I understand that.
NECE. Okay, have you heard about that? His brother, the shorthis baby brother, he shot hisself in the head over a girl. He ain't gonna think twice about me.
DETECTIVE: Who'd he shoot in the head?
NECE. His self.
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DETECTIVE: Who? Charles shot himself?
NECE. His brother. His brother. The one who stays there.
DETECTIVE: His brother shot himself.
NECE. He shot himself in the head. You know, he's not gonna think twice about shooting me. His brother. They love each other. They're close. That's a pretty close knit family.
Phone conversation between Big Evil and Reco
EVIL: Them three smokers out there? Put a leash around their ass, by any means necessary. You know what I'm saying? It's your way or no way. You know what I'm saying? You know what I'm saying? They ain't done it yet, you know what I'm saying, so, so it's up to the streets. If they can't pull no fish up out the water, they don't eat, you know what I'm saying?
''Put a snitch in a ditch''lyrics and performance by Sinister [Evil's brother] and other eight nine family gangsters
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Gallagher, you are recognized and may summarize any portion or all of your testimony.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF CHARLES F. GALLAGHER III, DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY, PHILADELPHIA, PA
Mr. GALLAGHER. Thank you.
The district attorney of Philadelphia, Lynne Abraham, and I thank you very much for allowing me to come here to discuss a very critical issue that is important for us to be able to do our job.
I would like to just go back and summarize some of the comments that are in our remarks, because, basically, the written remarks are from what Lynne Abraham submitted to our city council in Philadelphia this past February.
The most telling thing that we wanted to bring to their attention and to your attention is the high volume of murder that continues, apparently unabated, in Philadelphia.
When I graduated from high school in 1965 in Philadelphia, there were 15 unsolved homicides and the clearance rate was 93 percent out of a total of 205 homicides that year. This past year, 1996, when my daughter is about to graduate from high school, in Philadelphia we had 431 homicides. As of January of this past year, 1997, only 241 were solved. That is a clearance rate of only 56 percent. Therefore, there is 190 unsolved homicides that occurred in calendar year 1996.
The problem that we experience in Philadelphia is directly related to the topic that is here today in solving these homicides. Either we are not able to get the witnesses into the police station to testify as to what they saw in their neighborhood, but if we are able to get them into the police station and they give a statement, they fail to show up or they lose their memory as to what happened within a month, which is the preliminary hearing.
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We have preliminary hearings in Pennsylvania which we have to show probable cause.
Then approximatelybecause of the volume of cases that we have in the city and the number of courts we have available, it takes approximately a year from the date of an arrest to the date of trial. In that year period we then further lose the confidence of that witness and the will of that witness, and they don't show up at trial.
So what we have is a lot of cases where we may have two courageous people come forward. By the time it comes to trial, we may only have the testimony of one of those witnesses or the ability to put on the police statement if we were able to present that witness at a preliminary hearing.
As far as the connection between drugs and gangs, it is not just drugs that is involved here, it is the easy money. There are gangs in Philadelphia that go around robbing stores as well as other drug gangs, knowing that the witnesses who may just so happen to be out on the street when these incidents occur look the other way and fail to come forward.
Some situations, you hear some people from the community saying, well, we don't blame them. They are going to be killed.
We have had noteworthy cases in Philadelphia over the last several years. I have been able to discuss some of the successes we had with some of those cases; but, by and large, because of the very large numbers you see here, 190 cases last year, 164 in 1995, 139 in 1994, over the last 3 years, we have had 1,312 homicides, and 493 are still unsolved. That is a heck of a lot of murders in a 3-year period where people have gotten away with murder. I submit primarily that it is due to the witness intimidation and retaliation.
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We had a case in which a man by the name of Daniel Patty was in a drug gang, got involved with another drug operative in his neighborhood, and there was a shoot-out in a playground. A lady by the name of LaShawn Waley saw this, initially came forward, testified at the preliminary hearing, and then failed. We could not find her at the time of trial. So we had to nol-pros or drop the charges.
Upon subsequent investigation, we were able to find out through informants in the drug gang that she was moved to the State of Maryland 2 weeks before trial. We were able to relocate her, bring her back in, and we protected her for a substantial period of time, and we were able to reinstitute the charges. Then when it came up for trial again, although we provided her protection, she walked away from the protection, and she was killed.
What we have been able to do recently, though, is convict Daniel Patty for her killing. This required another series of relocating a witness. And this particular witness in her killing, we had to relocate the witness to upstate Pennsylvania, Allentown. This is a very costly situation.
Another case, Anthony Butler. Three young ladies, one of whom witnessed a murder by a gang, were snuffed out in a high-rise public housing unit. We were only able to get the conviction of Mr. Butler because his codefendant, who was a lookout in the hallway, turned State's evidence, as well as we were, at the last minute, able to find someone else who knew about the murder. We had to relocate that lady elsewhere out of public housing to an outer-like county outside of Philadelphia.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So we have some success. But the problem we confront is that the witnesses not only are moved out of State by the bad guys. We even have moved witnesses to other States in the hopes that by the time the trial comes up a year later we are able to relocate them or bring them back and testify.
In a recent case in which we had to withdraw prosecution, our witness was in one of the Southern States; and the defense team of attorneys who were hired by this group of drug gangs were able to get their investigators to find out where this witness was down south and have him tape record a recantation of his statement.
We have two other charges against this defendant, so we are hopeful the witnesses in those cases will be available and be able to testify.
So as far as I see it in the number of remedies that can happen, I would strongly endorse any legislation that would provide the opportunity for prosecutors to exchange protection of witnesses intrastate. In other words, if we have a witness that is critical to a prosecution in Philadelphia, we could move them over to New Jersey to see if there were some kind of a Federal program that would set up this ability to relocate witnesses out of State, because they find the witnesses easily.
I would just like to conclude my remarks by indicating that there is an excellent blueprint presented by the National Institute of Justice that we are relying upon in our office to try to set up a formal program. In that blueprint, they talk about overt intimidation, when someone does something to intimidate a witness, that is killing them or actually coming in and threatening them.
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We recently had a case in which a woman was an eyewitness to a murder and the murder was because of drug dealing that was going on on the street, and it was one drug dealer wanted to rub out another would-be. He did so. The lady witnessed it. This happened in May 1996.
The police completed their investigation, brought me the probable cause. I approved the warrant on July 12, 1996. Then, within a week, the primary witness, whose name I had not revealed in the warrantwithin a week her house was raided, and she was shot nine times.
What we did with her situation, she was in the hospital; and we had her placed in a rehabilitation hospital for approximately 8 weeks. Then we had her relocated out of State. She then eventually did testify at trial, and the man was convicted of the murder that she witnessed. We are still looking for hiswho we know to be his cohorts who were involved in shooting her and almost killing her.
But that is an instance of overt intimidation. Implicit intimidation is when there is a real but unexpressed threat of harm, as when rampant gang violence creates a community-wide atmosphere of fear.
In a section in West Philadelphia known as Mantua that is on the outskirts of the University of Pennsylvania, we have had a series of six different drug gangs that have been warring for almost 3 or 4 years on whose turf and whose corners should be controlled by the various gangs, and they are killing each other.
A lot of people say, well, you know, why not look the other way if they are killing each other? But there is time and time again where innocent bystanders, young children, get shot as a result of the horrendous gunfire happens out on the street.
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I attend on a monthly basis conferences with the medical examiner in Philadelphia where we go over the homicides that have happened in the last 6 months. We do a series of 256 cases on each of these reviews. The last one that I was at, there were 25 deaths that we reviewed in the slides. I was shocked at the number of cases not only where there was gunshots as a resultI think it was 20 cases with multiple gunshots. It is not that the person is shot once in the back of the head but is being shot out in the street in wild west gunfire that results in the death; and in almost every one of those cases each of the victims had three, four and some of them 20 bullet wounds as a result of the homicide.
What is happening in Mantua is we are investigating these cases. Out of the period from mid-1994 through mid-1996, there were 37 murders and I think 14 shootings, aggravated assaults, attempted murders. We have made arrests and prosecutions in 23 of those cases, and we are still investigating in other cases.
Since that time, mid-1996 until today, there have been 20 more killings and shootings. They are all interrelated with these gangs, and the problem that we have is that no one knows what is happening when you go down the street and try to do a door-to-door survey as to who saw what happened. In most of those cases, the people that we have to rely upon are codefendants who have a minor role, a lookout role or whatever, in those killings.
So anything that can help ustraditional approaches, high bailwe do that in Philadelphiarelocating intimidated witnesseswe do that in Philadelphiapreventing intimidation in courtrooms and jails. We have a working relationship with the jail and State prison system to move people that we have made agreements with to testify throughout the jails. But our resources are limited.
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The other thing is reduction of community-wide intimidation via community policing and prosecution. We do that also but on an ad hoc basis. We don't have a formal program. I have in my unit a victim witness coordinator, one man, assigned to help witnesses relocate from public housing to other public housing or from one neighborhood in Philadelphia to another neighborhood in Philadelphia. But, time and time again, we find out that that is not sufficient. That is why I submit that our requestif there is some program that can be set up between States so that we can relocate witnesses.
Just one other point. The Congressman from Pennsylvania asked if this is drug related. By and large, it is drug relayed; but there are several cases where robberies are involved.
In our statement today from Philadelphia, we relate the killing of a police officer by the name of Lauretha Vaird, killed on January 2, 1996, in the Juniata Park section of Philadelphia.
What happened was she interrupted a bank robbery that was happening as the bank was opening. The MO of this gangand it was a gang. We arrested three other people. But we have had discussions with the FBI where they are only part of approximately 30 men who are involved in robbing armored cars as well as banks.
In this case, they used gas works uniforms, and they grabbed the bank tellers and the bank manager as they were going through the front door of the bank opening at 8 o'clock in the morning and went in. It just so happened that the alarm was set off, and the police officer was luckily a block awayunluckily for her. She came into the bank with her gun drawn. As she walked down a narrow corridor, one of the robbers jumped out and shot her in cold blood.
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We convicted him, and he got the death penalty in October, and his two codefendants got life imprisonment.
All three of these individuals were involved in gangster rap. They previously produced and issued various CD's, and we were able to use some of those CD's and records during the trial to show the mindset of these individuals similar to what my colleague from Los Angeles told you.
So what I am saying is it is not just for drugs, it is for any kind of easy money, and it is also involved across State borders. And what we need help with is moving these witnesses from outside of our jurisdiction, because they are not always safe. Philadelphia is still 1.5 million people. But the word gets out who is who and where somebody may be. So anything that you can help us in that regard we would appreciate.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Gallagher.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Gallagher follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF CHARLES F. GALLAGHER III, DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY, PHILADELPHIA, PA
Good morning, I am Deputy District Attorney Charles F. Gallagher, the chief of the Homicide Unit from the Office of District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham of Philadelphia, Pa., the fifth largest city in the United States. District Attorney Abraham and I thank you for this opportunity to discuss this very critical issue facing prosecutors in large cities that continue to be confronted with high amount of drug and gang related violent crimes.
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In order to establish the sense of the background for this problem in Philadelphia, I herein quote excerpts from the testimony of District Attorney Abraham recently submitted to Philadelphia City Council on February 2S, 1997 in which we requested a budget increment to support a viable Witness Protection Program in our office:
PHILADELPHIA'S VIOLENT CRIME EPIDEMICUPDATE 1997
Time and time again over the past year, I have heard the voices of many of our citizens, tinged with hopelessness throughout the crime-ridden communities of our great City, proclaim this frustrating cry: ''I wish I could only walk around the corner to the store to buy a loaf of bread without fearing for my life.''
This is the stark reality that many Philadelphia residents must face on a daily, and most certainly, on a nightly basis. Many of our people live-out the recent byline in a Philadelphia Inquirer story about the wonderful but struggling Strawberry Mansion neighborhood: ''A neighborhood's descent into night fall''''After dusk, Strawberry Mansion does not belong to everyone. It is held captive to crime.'' Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/13/97.
Instead of having the ability to walk the streets of their community in safety, our people are confronted by drug-crazed dealers, users, muggers, robbers and over the whole area of the City, approximately 9 murderers per week since New Years Day, 1997. (72 homicides as of 2122197, or 9 for each of the 8 weeks of 1997.)
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Not only are our average hard-working citizens, whom we are charged with providing some minimum of safety, encountering daily dangers but our sworn uniformed protectors experienced a very violent year in 1996: 3 were brutally shot down in cold blood, and many more almost killed.
From the brutal assassination of Police Officer Lauretha Vaird in a Juniata bank lobby and the West Philadelphia ambush of Police Officer Robert Porter, both in January 1996, to the robbery/murder of Detective John Cousins on a nightly stroll near his home in August, to the wild West shoot-out and attempted murder of Sergeant John Flemming in Roxborough in September, the Police Department confronts deadly action every day. The killings of these three officers and the four attempted killings of officers were carried out by multiple defendants of three, three, four, and two co-defendants, respectively, all of whom have been arrested. In January, a vicious twenty-year-old robber/murderer was arrested for the brutal slaying of store-owner Ramon Reyes in his Kensington corner grocery store before the innocent eyes of his twelve-year-old son, who he also attempted to kill; this same defendant has also been charged with a series of 13 similar grocery store gun-point robberies between 12/13/96 and 1/12/97, one of which resulted in the killing of an innocent eight-year-old boy who was attempting to buy soda and chips at his comer store. And just two weeks ago, the killing of yet another corner grocer, Dong Kim, added to this ever-growing list of lives lost.
Although we may read many published reports that violent crime and specifically homicide is on the decline in many of our large metropolitan centers (New York City experienced a 28-year low in homicides in 1996: under 1,000see Philadelphia Daily News 12/27/96), Philadelphia continues to experience a high rate of murder. In 1996, Philadelphia's FBI reported homicide total was 431, which is consistent with our rate throughout the 1990's. (See Homicide Chart 19651996.)
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Just this past November, the 1995 State Police Crime Report provided further proof that violence is continuing unabated in Philadelphia, in that it indicated that ''violent crimes increased 6.4% in Philadelphia and its suburbs'' in 1995. (See Philadelphia Inquirer 11/13/96.) The ''Mayor's Report on City Services'' issued in November 1996 indicates the following Police Department measurements: Major crimes: 109,480 reported in FY '96 up by 6,558 from FY '95. Number of police on street: 5272 in FY '96, down 101 from FY '95. Clearance rates: 20.3% in FY '96, down from 23.1% in FY '95. Arrests: 61,270 in FY '96, down from 71,000 in FY '95.
The number of unsolved homicides continues to increase: between January 1994 and December 1996 over a three year period, there have been 1312 homicides in Philadelphia, and 493 of these killings are unsolved as of January 1997. As of this past Saturday night, February 22, 1997, there have been 72 homicide this year in Philadelphia, which projects up to 496 for 1997 or an increase of 15% above the 1996 total of 431 homicides.
To assist our Office in the prosecution of this increasing wave of violence on our streets, last year I requested funding for a witness protection program. I submit that the above summarized incidents and the stark statistics provide ample evidence of the need for such funding. The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office still needs a witness protection program.
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Perhaps this kind of effort has taken on a misleading character from some of the exploits of some federal witnesses. Palm trees and high living are not contemplated and there isn't enough money, no matter how generous Council will be, to protect everyone. But moving an entire family and even some relatives may be necessary in a number of carefully selected cases and keeping them in a secret and secured location for as long as the case may take and beyond is expensive. We cannot however allow defendants to make good on their threats to our witnesses and we have seen by the large number of unsolved murders that witness intimidation has taken its toll. Having mothers and wives plead on television for eyewitnesses to come forward or even for an anonymous tip is not the kind of justice system we envision for our city.
A November 1996 National Institute of Justice report entitled ''Preventing Gang- and Drug-Related Witness Intimidation'' stressed that forms of intimidation are hampering the investigation and prosecution of violent gang and drug related crime throughout the country:
Overt intimidation, when someone does something to intimidate a witness, and
Implicit intimidation, when there is a real but unexpressed threat of harm, as when rampant gang violence creates a community-wide atmosphere of fear.
This report further advises that local law enforcement should formulate a Comprehensive Witness Security Program involving the following elements:
1.) Traditional approaches such as high bail requests, prosecution of intimidation charges, management of witnesses and enhancement of basic victim/witness program services:
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2.) Relocating intimidated witnesses;
3.) Preventing intimidation in courtrooms and jails;
4.) Reduction of community-wide intimidation via community policing and prosecution.
Our Office presently conducts many of these activities, especially the vigorous prosecution of those who intimidate our witnesses, but we need additional resources to do all of them in a formal, systematic and structured manner as is strongly recommended in the NIJ report.
It is our belief that the very high number of 493 unsolved homicides in Philadelphia over the last three years cited by the District Attorney is due to the intimidation inflicted by gangs of drug dealers in our city. In particular cases prosecuted by my Unit over the past year, we have witnessed the ability of these gangs to either relocate witnesses out of state so that we can not find them at the time of trial. or witnesses have been killed or wounded in several cases before we have the opportunity to relocate them. Finally, we recently had a situation wherein we had to withdraw murder charges because attorneys and defense investigators reached out to a witness that we were able to relocate to a southern state and coerce him into recanting his previously sworn testimony.
I look forward to providing more details of these cases and problems and any further questions you have on this issue. Thank you.
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1 Updated as of January, 1997.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Stallworth, you may summarize your testimony in any way you wish.
STATEMENT OF SGT. RON STALLWORTH, GANG INTELLIGENCE COORDINATOR, UTAH DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY DIVISION OF INVESTIGATIONS
Mr. STALLWORTH. Mr. Chairman, gentleman of the committee, ladies and gentleman, I am Sgt. Ron Stallworth, gang intelligence coordinator for the Utah Division of Investigation.
Before I go any further, I must point out that Utah is home of the Western Conference NBA champion Utah Jazz and of the regular season MVP, Karl Malone.
Having said that, I must first acknowledge that I do not have a prepared written statement because of the time in which I was notified. I was a last-minute entry to this program. But I hope to have something prepared for you in the next few days.
''America, take a look at what you have created. It started in the section, grew like an erection. It spread like cancer. Now the country is infected.''
That, gentlemen, is a few lines from a rap song entitled, ''Gang Banging.'' Whenever we address the issue such as witness intimidation or any factor dealing with gangs in this country, we must first understand that we are engaged, quite literally, in a form of civil war from the Federal level all the way down to the municipal level. We need to understand the basic nature of what gangs in the United States todaycriminal street gangsare all about.
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These kidsand I use the term ''kids'' because, chronologically, I am old enough to be the father of most of themthese kids view themselves as being in a state of war with the Government of this country. They view themselves as having no other option because the Government has abandoned them. That is their opinion.
You have heard two members of this panel testify as to a correlation between the rap music in which these kids are subscribing to and the crimes that occurred in their various jurisdictions.
One of the things that is happening is that, through the music, the kids are expressing the motivations, the ideals, that govern their life. They are putting into song and getting rich off of it, I might add, the fact that putting a snitch in a ditch is OK.
It is ironic that Ms. Snyder is here, because I was asked by the Los Angeles Police Department to assist them in that particular investigation in terms of the rap angle to it. I transcribed several lyrics, including that particular song; and, in this music, these kids are expressing what that ideal, that gangster code, is in which they live their lives by.
It is essential that we understand this, because in that code they are describing why they feel like they are in a state of war with this country, with the municipal governments, the county governments and the State governments.
Part of their code involves the acquisition of power and domination. That is what gangs are all about, power and domination; and in their attempt to gain power and domination they use fear and intimidation.
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In the course of them trying to achieve this, they have no qualms about what the recourse might be should they get caught. They don't want to get caught. But, at the same time, they feel again like they have nothing to lose, because they feel like society has abandoned them.
It is essential that we understand what this mindset is all about. It is a mindset that is verythat has traditionally and long been a dominant factor in the lives of young kids growing up in the inner cities of this country, the minority communities of this country. However, we must first understand that this mindset is no longer confined to the inner-city environment. You want proof of that, come to the State of Utah.
We have everything going on in the State of Utah, in Salt Lake City, the capital of our State, that Ms. Snyder and Mr. Gallagher have described in their respective communities, much larger populations. The fact that I, in a quote-unquote respectable, predominantly white, very conservative environment, have all aspects of the inner-city L.A. street gang culture is evidence of the fact that this cancer has spread into the heartland of America.
Witness intimidation is very vital to the upkeep of the gangster code, the gangster ideal that I have touched on. These kids view it as an attack on their personal sense of respect whenever a witness goes against the grain of what the gang is all about.
In the gang culture, respect is of the utmost importance. These kids live for the purpose of acquiring a sense of respect, of reputation. We must understand that.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If any effort is devoted toward reducing that sense of respect and reputation, then it becomes a personal matter. It becomes a matter which, ultimately, they are willing to pick up the gun and, if need be, die for.
A lot of the violence that occurs across this country in terms of street gang activity is for no other reason than some kid trying to maintain his level of respect after it has been challenged. It may make no sense to you or I, but it is very real to the kids growing up in that environment. So a lot of intimidation takes place as a result.
In Salt Lake City, years ago when we started our gang enforcement effort, we had a very dominant gang in our community, Polynesian gang members, physically very overpowering to the average kid. But what was interesting about it was the aspect of that particular gang culture spread in the Salt Lake City and county area because the kids were afraid of this particular group. They were physically intimidated by them. As a result, they were given a choice, join us or get severely beat up. So they joined.
The group, the particular gang grew larger. But there were some kids that were willing to challenge this group; and they choose not to join; and, as a result, they went and formed their own clique.
If you will look at the history of what happened in L.A. with the formation of the Crips and Bloods 25, 30 years ago, the same pattern developed there. The Crips were very dominant. They were spreading out. They were using intimidation tactics to try to recruit new members. But some chose not to; and, as a result, those that chose not to eventually became members of what is now known as the Blood gang. The same pattern has happened all across America.
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So the factor of intimidation is very important and must be addressed.
We had a case in Salt Lake City about a year or so ago in which a young man, sleeping on his living room floor late at nightit was a hot night; he had the window open to let some air inhe was shotgunned to death. Somebody snuck up to the window, pointed a shotgun at him and fired. Killed him instantly.
It turns out that the people responsible for that, the main player responsible for that, was behind bars at our State prison. He had issued an order to some of his fellow gang members outside to take care of this individual.
The problem was, he got the wrong individual. An innocent man died. He was trying to send a message, and an innocent man died.
We have had cases of an aspect of Asian gang culture that is very dominant, is what is known as home invasion robberies, where they literally take over a household, terrorize that household, including raping the women, mothers, daughters, threatening to kill the babies, putting guns to the families' heads and threatening to blow them away; and all they are trying to do is gain access to valuables within the house and to intimidate these individuals not to report this crime to the police. Unfortunately for us, it works.
It is not uncommon for victims of these types of home invasion robberies to finally come forward and tell what has happened to them; but, unfortunately, their telling may occur 6 months, a year, 2 years down the road, long after the trail is cold and there is nothing that can really be done. They will still not identify who the perpetrators were.
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This is a factor we deal with all across this country. It is not indicative to Salt Lake City only. But what is interesting about that is the fact that this very same process is now being emulated by Hispanic and white gang kids in the Salt Lake City area. Traditionally, this has not happened.
So, as you can see, as the lyrics of that song indicate, this is a cancer. It has spread. It is infecting our society. And, sadly, we are standing around wondering what to do about it. We have got to educate ourselves about the basic nature of this problem.
We had a caseI was on the phone before my flight here yesterday talking to a Federal agent in my State who told me about a 6-month investigation he and his agency were involved in, trying to address getting the gang leaders off the streets. When he told me this, I mentioned to him that there are no such things as gang leaders in the Utah gang environment, not in the traditional sense in terms of a social hierarchy; i.e., traditional organized crime. That does not exist in most of the western United States. In order to find that structure, you must go to places like Chicago and further east.
But this gentleman told me that it wasn't too long into their investigation where they started seeing this pattern that I described developing, but it took them 6 months before they finally woke up and pulled the plug on it.
He didn't know any better. Had they done a little more searching, they could have found out there is no leadership structure to the gang climate in Salt Lake City and the State of Utah. What we have are kids who have individual influences on a particular given day at a particular opportunity. There is no single individual who can snap his fingers and have things done.
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Yet we still have law enforcement officials, administratorsand I am sad to say a lot of this is at the Federal levelbut we still have people who still abide by that fact, that there is a single ''DON,'' for lack of a better term, who controls this whole thing called criminal street gangs. It does not exist in my State and in most of the western United States.
For those who would say what about the Crips and Bloods, Ms. Snyder can testify to the fact there is no single individual who controls Crip gang activity or Blood gang activity. That is one of the reasons we have a hard time addressing this problem across this country.
If there was a head, we could chop it off and, hopefully, the body would die. But in many parts of this Nation, there is no head. As a result, we are dealing with these issues very randomly, very haphazardly. When incidents occur, we respond to them.
If this committee takes nothing else from this hearing, I heap it will take the fact that all three of us concur that something needs to be done. More resources need to be poured into this battle.
It is a battle, ladies and gentlemen, that, as far as I am concerned, from my perspective we, as a nation, are losing. It is growing stronger. Again, I invite you to come to the State of Utah to see just how far this cancer has spread.
I have in my State, gentlemen, gang members who have been or are studying for their traditional mission for the LDS church. Again, this is a tradition that one would find makes no sense in our environment because, on the surface, these are good kids. On the surface, these are kids who are very much attached to their religious doctrine, to the structure of their society. But they are gang members.
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As one told me a few years back, ''We believe very strongly in the principles and the doctrines of our church, but from Saturdayfrom Monday through Saturday, we are going to put on our blue rags and gang bang in the name of our particular gang, engaging in gang activity. Sunday, we will be worshiping the Lord.''
It makes no sense to me, but it is very real to these kids. The fact that these kids can accept this, knowing that it is wrong, knowing that it is in conflict, is indicative of what is happening across America.
So I would urge you to do whatever you can to strengthen any aspect of the Federal law as it pertains to gangs in general and, most importantly, as it pertains to the issue of witness intimidation.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Stallworth.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Stallworth follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF SGT. RON STALLWORTH, GANG INTELLIGENCE COORDINATOR, UTAH DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY DIVISION OF INVESTIGATIONS
Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the committee, I am Sergeant Ron Stallworth, Gang Intelligence Coordinator for the Utah Department of Public Safety's Division of Investigation. I am a 23 year veteran of law enforcement with service in four states (Colorado, Arizona, Wyoming, and Utah) in the areas of uniform patrol, narcotics, vice, criminal intelligence/organized crime, and gangs. As the senior gang investigator in Utah I have been instrumental in establishing the statewide law enforcement response to the gang problem. That influence eventually led to the creation of the Salt Lake Area Gang Project, the oldest and largest federally funded multijurisdictional gang suppression and diversion task force in the state. That influence has also been felt throughout the state in the creation of several other multijurisdiction gang task forces, each of which has patterned itself after the Salt Lake City effort. I have been recognized nationally as perhaps the foremost law enforcement authority on the subject of ''gangster'' rap music and its correlation to the gang cultural environment. I have authored three books (currently working on a fourth) on the subject and have presented the information to all aspects of the criminal justice system (including most of federal law enforcement) who frequently call upon me as a consultant. I have lectured at several colleges and universities throughout the country and have been certified as an ''expert'' witness on the subject in the state courts of California and Texas, as well as the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. I have been interviewed by various national and international media (including ABC PrimeTime Live, CNN, Time Magazine, People Magazine, Washington Post, and L.A. Times, et. al.). In 1995 I was the subject of a Bill Moyers/PBS special titled, ''Decoding the Rap: Gangs and Rap Music.'' I have previously testified before two (2) Senate hearings on the subject of ''gangster'' rap music, gangs, and youth violence in America. I am also the proud father of two sonsBrandon Mychal (11) and Nicolas Jordan (7), whose future I am very much concerned about as I go about the job trying to understand the nature of criminal street gangs and their influential appeal to the young.
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Raised In The System, Gang Affiliated
Amerikkka, Take A Look At What You Created
It Started In The Section, Grew Like An Erection,
Spread Like Cancer, Now The Country's Infected
Those words, gentlemen, are lyrics to a rap song titled ''Gang Bangin'.'' They clearly illustrate the true nature and complexity of any issue dealing with the subject of criminal street gangs. To truly understand the magnitude of this problem and its negative, destructive impact on the foundational infrastructure of American society, we can liken the battle being waged against it to that of a previous threat to the foundation of the American way of life which occurred approximately 130 years agothe Civil War.
Gentlemen, America is engaged in a Civil War in the 90s the likes of which has not been seen since the near destruction of the Union over one and a quarter century ago. My words may seem melodramatic but I assure you the impact I speak of is not exaggerated. Let's examine these lyrics a little more closely to see exactly what I mean:
RAISED IN THE SYSTEM, GANG AFFILIATED
This has a dual meaning. By ''system,'' reference is made to the political power structure in this countryfrom the office of the President and the halls of Congress, down to the municipal level. Gang members and their informal ''spokespersons,'' the rappers, feel this power structure is designed to keep them (i.e., the disenfranchised minority underclass) in a dependent state, subject to the will of the dominate white majority. In addition they feel the criminal justice system deliberately targets them to satisfy the ''blood lust'' need of the mainstream majority to exercise their dominion over the minority element whose frequent forays into the criminal world are held responsible for tearing apart the fabric of American society.
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AMERIKKKA, TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT YOU CREATED
The deliberate mis-spelling of ''America,'' substituting the letter 'K' (thrice) for the letter 'C,' is an indictment of this political power structure. The symbolic meaning of this ''mix-spelling'' is that like the notorious Ku Klux Klan, which sprang up from the ashes of defeat suffered by the Confederacy at the hands of the Lincoln inspiredGrant led forces of the North, and which was designed to keep the newly freed slaves fearful and dependent on the dominant white social structure as a means of preserving the ''southern'' way of life during the period of Reconstruction; the American political process (especially with the recent rise of the dominant conservative right) is intent on keeping the minorities of this country (in particular the black and Latino populace) in a suppressive, oppressive state. This will insure the continued status-quo of the monopolistic white majority (i.e., white supremacy) remains intact. They feel the determination to continue in this vein is the reason for the social conditions which led to the creation and maintenance of the gang culture which grips the nation's consciousness.
STARTED IN THE SECTION, GREW LIKE AN ERECTION, SPREAD LIKE CANCER, NOW THE COUNTRY'S INFECTED
This refers to the influence of the west coast gang culture on the rest of the nation. Specifically it is a reference to the Bloods and Crips of southcentral Los Angeles, but to this could be added the east L.A. dominated Hispanic gang culture. This influential development is expressed in sexual metaphor. In keeping with the inherent male dominance of gangs, the implication is that the erected penis of gang culture was inserted in the vaginal tract of American society (especially in non-traditional areas of gang activity such as the ''heartland'' and white suburbia; i.e., Utah) and ejaculated to infect the country with a ''cancerous'' residue known as ''criminal street gangs.''
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A close associate of mine and a mentor, Sergeant Wesley D. McBride of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, arguably the foremost law enforcement authority and spokesman on the subject of gangs in America, an author of a standard text on the subject (''Understanding Street Gangs''), and co-founder/President of the California Gang Investigators Association (the largest and oldest [since 1977] such group in the country and the model for the creation of similar associations throughout the country); has referred to the epidemic growth of gangs in America as being the social equivalent of AIDS. The reference to cancerous infection in the above lyrics would seem to validate Sgt. McBride's analogy.
Make no mistake, gentlemen, American society is truly engaged in a civil war where this problem is concerned. It is a war, I am sad to say, we as a nation are losing.
In spite of all the resources we have been able to devote to this problem it continues to grow at an exponential rate. The statisticians and a substantial number of law enforcement administrators would have the public believe that the battle against crime is being won based on fractional drops in this particular crime category or that particular crime category. Such conclusions may impress those whose political fortunes rely on that statistical ''Sword of Damocles,'' but it has no meaning to the citizen whose day to day existence is predicated on the destructive nature of the local gang element. To a parent whose child has been ruthlessly gunned down in a drive-by shooting, the innocent victim of gang warfare in an otherwise quiet and peaceful neighborhood, the announcement that violent crime is down by a fraction of a percent is no healing salve.
Using short-term statistics (i.e., quarterly) to gage a particular crime reduction program or to promote the degree of safety within a community is an inaccurate measurement by which to validate success or failure. In my state, for example, such statistical measurement was tampered with (i.e., manipulated) to reflect a downward trend in the gang climate of one community. In this case graffiti (which accounts for the single highest category of gang related crime) was separated from the category of ''crimes against property'' (which, in fact, it is) because that category, due to the prevalence of graffiti and the difficulty in apprehending suspects, was constantly rising thereby giving the impression that police efforts devoted to the reduction of property crimes were not having any effect. Therefore under the behest of certain city officials graffiti crime was separated into an individual category which had the ''magical'' effect of showing a statistical reduction in crimes against property thereby giving the illusion that police efforts were having a positive effect in insuring the public safety against such crimes. Under this guise, the ''truer'' reading of the problem on the part of city officials is nothing more than a manipulative means of image building for political gain.
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If long-term (i.e., yearly, etc.) statistical evaluation were used, I believe it would indicate a truer, more accurate reflection of the efforts devoted to address the problem. If we can laud the success of a program and all of the effort that went into making it so, then we should not be afraid to, likewise, note the failures. As I mentioned earlier, the problems associated with the devastation wrought by criminal street gangs is of such magnitude that in many cases, in spite of highly innovative efforts on the part of dedicated officials tasked to impact the problem, it steadily increases. This does not necessarily mean that these officials are failures in their work, but rather shows that the culture of gangs, once it is nourished with the lifeblood of a community, is a putrid growth, the essence of which is extremely difficult (if not impossible without drastic action) to purge.
Short-term statistical measures serve no true purpose except to provide sound bites for elected and appointed officials seeking to assuage the immediate concerns of their constituents. In some cases the immediate concern of these officials is the effect the statistical information will have on the ballot box.
Long-term statistical evaluation would better serve the community by providing a more reliable reading that would benefit all parties concerned: elected and appointed officials, legal scholars, academic researchers, and most of all the citizens most impacted by the subject of those statisticscriminal street gangs.
The civil war I speak of gentlemen is being lost, in part, because of a lack of knowledge on the part of people such as yourselves who are charged with drafting legislation on this issue without getting a thorough indoctrination on the nuances of gang culture. Many times the information presented to you comes from federal law enforcement officials (one agency in particular) whose judgement Congress seems to place much stock in. In many cases these individuals are not necessarily the best source for the information being presented because they are not, as a matter of routine, in the trenches dealing with the problem as are city, county, and state gang investigators.
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In some areas of the country the latter group have spent as little as nine years (in my case) to as much as 20 or more years (Sgt. McBride for example) devoted towards understanding the culture of street gangs and then using that knowledge to educate their law enforcement colleagues as to more effective ways of combatting them. The former, on the other hand, routinely spend two or three years in an assignment and then are transferred to other field offices for, in many cases, changed areas of focus. Even if they spend an entire tour in a single assignment, federal investigators are not strongly entrenched in the community, especially as it pertains to establishing an intimacy with the ''natives'' among the local gang scene.
I am reminded of two separate encounters with agents from this one particular agency which highlight my perspective on this issue. In the one case an agent seeking information on Skinheads in Salt Lake City was extended an invitation to accompany gang investigators to a location frequented by them. He refused, citing their ''filth'' and his desire not to be exposed to it as his reason.
In the more recent case an agent told me of an investigation conducted by his agency in which their goal was to target the local gang ''leaders.'' When I explained to him that the Utah gang climate, like that of their Los Angeles counterpart, was a loose confederation without a clearly defined leadership structure (i.e., ''leaders,'' in the traditional sense of the word as it applies to organized crime, are non-existent), he indicated it took their investigation six months before they came to that realization. That, gentlemen, was six (6) months of wasted time, manpower, technological resources, and of coursemoney. It was a complete waste of effort that could have been avoided had this agent and his agency simply reached out to those intimate with the nature of Utah's gang scene for preinvestigative information on the subject. I might add that this particular conversation took place one week ago. The agent has since been transferred to a duty station in the Washington, D.C. area where he reportedly has been assigned to a section dealing with gangs.
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Criminal street gangs, by nature, are localized entities, that is to say they are fixtures within their immediate neighborhoods known to one and all, especially the area beat cops (including gang cops). Only someone who is equally a fixture within that neighborhood can deal effectively with a criminal element that to many in the area represents a modern day ''Robin Hood.'' The gang cop who, in his own way, is a ''child of the street'' is the one you should be seeking in your quest for knowledge. City, county, and state investigators are the ones this body should be reaching out to for knowledge on the subject of criminal street gangs because these are the individuals with the most community resources (i.e., informants, business officials, and the ''average'' citizen) who by virtue of their day to day involvement with the community have an intimate a knowledge on the gang scene in that area that is, perhaps, surpassed only by the gang members themselves. These gang cops literally live their subject day in and day out and their degree of knowledge is unparalleled within the ranks of law enforcement, at any level. In this regard I must commend my colleagues from the Drug Enforcement Administration who, unlike their counterpart referred to in the previous paragraph, recognized their limitations in understanding the behavioral traits of gang members and their culture and reached out to me to attempt to provide the members of this committee with a basic knowledge of the subject.
The information you gentlemen receive is all too often diluted with misconceptions based on preconceived notions of understanding. I am honored to have been selected to help correct some of these misguided preconceptions of the gang member and his view of American society and to help you bridge the gap of knowledge regarding this unique (i.e., dysfunctional) lifestyle. I must acknowledge, however, that there are others throughout the country who are equally (if not more so) qualified to impart this information to you. For future reference I would submit the names of Sgt. McBride, Det. Wayne Caffey of the Los Angeles Police Department, Lt. Reggie Wright of the Compton Police Department, Officer Raphael Cancio of the Portland Police Department, Sgt. Jerry Flowers of the Oklahoma City Police Department, Sgt. Tom McMahon of the Chicago Police Department, Det. Victor Bond of the Harris County [Texas] Sheriffs Department, Officer David Auther of the Fort Worth Police Department, Lt. Loren Evenrud of the Minneapolis Park Police, and Patrolman Kurt Cottrell of the Layton City [Utah] Police Department; to name but a few.
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As you may have noticed by my opening, my method of understanding the nuances of gang culture is through the popular music which appeals to the gang member of todayrap. I will be using this method to expand your knowledge of gang culture as I continue through this missive.
The music which defines the gang member in the 90s is routinely referred to as ''gangster'' or ''gangsta'' rap. It is a powerful means of expression which clearly describes the lifestyle, motivation, and aspiration of the inner-city minority (i.e., black/Latino) gang member. The correlation between this music and lifestyle is clearly evident when one takes the time to open the doorway offered by the lyrics and enters to experience the world through their eyes. It is a world devoid of beauty as those of us in the mainstream would perceive of such a notion. It is a world which, in its own way, is very much a ''jungle'' (gangster rappers refer to their communities, the inner-cities, as ''concrete jungles'' or ''concrete Vietnams''). It is a world filled with pitfalls at every turn, where a hard stare (known as ''mad-dogging'') can initiate gunfire between two non-verbal combatants. It is an environment where the mind-set of the jungle warriorthe guerrilla fighteris as necessary towards survival in the land of concrete as it was for members of the military's Special Forces in the sweltering jungle underbrush of southeast Asia. This music paints a portrait of that world which allows for the accessing of information from the mind of what some in the criminal justice system have referred to as ''urban terrorists.''
Among the idealsthe ''G-code''subscribed to by those caught up in the rapture of criminal street gangs (one that strikes at the heart of the idea that America is in the grip of a ''civil war'') it the belief by the inner-city minority gang member (and one that is avidly adopted by the non-minority suburban youth as well) that they exist in a ''state of war'' with the government structure which binds us as a nation.
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Subscribing to the ''G-code'' means that you believe that mainstream America, with its white conservative dominated political control over the various institutions of government, views you as expendable refuse with no sense of value towards the betterment of society and no means to elevate from the depths to the heights of the social strata. They feel a sense of social and economic deprivation which is made doubly so by the psychological castration they feel is systematically employed against them by representatives of the government (most notably the police) and the educational system which, under the guise of learning, validates this sanctioned governmental abuse. The rappers will cite that they are not learning ''history'' about themselves as people of color, but rather are being subjected to ''his-story''the notion of white supremacy and subjugation of any dissenting opinion (i.e., rap music) directed at exposing the wrongful shame of American apartheid.
That, gentlemen, is but one of the notions which prompts me to assess the situation in this country with criminal street gangs as being akin to a ''civil war.'' What I cited above is typical of the thinking of inner-city minority gang members and is a major, recurring theme in the lyrics of so-called ''gangsta'' rap songs. You need not agree with it, you simply need to understand it!
Because the inner-city minority gang member feels alienated from the American mainstream (in part due to a sense of socio-economic deprivation resulting from the government's failure to address their particular needs, which in their view contributes to the ''state of war'' between them), he seeks to establish himself by the same standards which governs socio-economic status in the mainstream. They too seek a place of honor and respect on the upper tier of the social ladder where power resides. They too seek to demonstrate their social standing with the material trappings indicative of success (i.e., a nice house, car, fine clothes, jewelry, et al.). With the acquisition of social status comes honor and respect from your peers. Power completes this cycle of successful achievement in mainstream America.
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The 90s gang member who rejects all semblance of mainstream conformity, ironically strives to validate himself through the ideals that have long been a part of the framework of America. For example, America has traditionally been a male-oriented society. Evidence of that can be seen in the gender make-up of Congress. Gangs, too, are a male dominated society. America is a society grounded in the spirit of individualism, capitalistic desire which results in materialistic need, a self-indulgent quality of narcissism, and a healthy dose of violence. The creed of gang members can be summed up in the words frequently used by the rappers: ''It's all about the money (capitalism), the women (ego/narcissism), the jewelry (materialism)...and guns (violence), [expletive deleted] the rest.''
Street gangs are nothing more than a microcosm of American society (after all, for the most part they are, in fact, Americans). They are individualistic by nature (this is especially true of western gangs such as the Bloods and Crips, and is equally true of the gang culture in Utah). The spirit of capitalism and the need to express success in that arena through materialistic acquisition runs deep among the inner-city minority gang member. This ideal has been expressed by admitted Crip gang member and ''Godfather'' of the ''gangsta'' rap genre, Ice-T. In the song ''New Jack Hustler,'' he proclaims:
Got my block sewn, armored dope spots
Last thing I sweat's a sucker punk cop
Move like a king when I roll
You gotta deal with this 'cause there's no way out
Cash money ain't never gonna play out
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCI got nothing to lose, much to gain
In my brain I got a capitalist migraine
I gotta get paid tonight
Keep my game tight
So many hoes on my jock think I'm a movie star
Nineteen, I got a fifty thousand dollar car
Go to school, I ain't going for it
Kiss my [expletive deleted], bust a cap on a moet
'Cause I don't wanna hear that crap
Why? I'd rather be a New Jack Hustler
Fool I'm the illest
Bullet proof, I die harder than Bruce Willis
Got my crew in effect, I bought 'em new jags
So much cash, gotta keep it in hefty bags
All I think about is keys and gees
Imagine that, me working at Mickey Dee's
That's a joke 'cause I'm never gonna be broke
When I die there'll be bullets and gunsmoke
You don't like my lifestyle [expletive deleted] you!
I'm rolling with the new jack crew
And I'm a hustler
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCHere I come so you better break north
As I stride my gold chains fly back and forth
I care nothing about you and that's evident
All I love is my dope and dead presidents
Sound crazy, well it isn't
The end justified the means, that's the system
I learned that in school then I dropped out
Hit the street...and now I got clout
I had nothing, and I wanted it
You had everything and you flaunted it
Turned the needy into the greedy
With cocaine my success came speedy
Got me twisted, jammed into a paradox
Every dollar I get another brother drops
Maybe that's the plan and I don't understand
[expletive deleted], you got me sinking in quicksand
But since I don't know, and I ain't never learned
I gotta get paid, I got money to earn
With my posse out on the Ave.
Bump my sounds, crack a 40 and laugh
Cool out and watch my new Benz gleam
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCIs this a nightmare, or the American dream
So think twice if you're coming down my block
You wanna journey through hell when [expletive deleted] gets hot
Pregnant teens children's scream
Life is weighed on the scales of a triple beam
You don't come here much and you better not
Wrong movebangambulance cot
I gotta get more money than you got
So what if some [expletive deleted] gets shot
That's how the game is played, another brother slain
The wound is deep
But they're giving us a band aid
My education's low, but I got long dough
I'm raised like a pit bull, my heart pumps nitro
Sleep on silk, lie like a politician
My Uzi's my best friend, cold as a mortician
Lock me up it's genocidal catastrophe
There'll be another one after mea hustler
In their quest to live up to mainstream ideals, to achieve the ''American Dream,'' they will resort to illegal (i.e., illegitimate) means as a path to legitimacy. In its own way being a gang member is a pathway to that sense of mainstream ''nirvana.'' This idea plus the disregard for education (as provided by mainstream institutions) as a means out of the cycle of inner-city dysfunctionality was addressed by rapper Ice Cube in the song ''Gangsta's Make The World Go Round:''
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Gangsta's and girls make the world go round
No hesitation I can run a nation from incarceration
30 years is what I'm facing
But give me 7 Cs and 11 gees
I'll make enough cheese to bring wall street to its knees
[Expletive deleted] please, I got enough guns
To fill the empire state building full of ones
Go to school is what they tell us
But [expletive deleted] in school is scared of the goodfellas
That's how it is and that's how it's gonna be
Kids when you grow up who the [expletive deleted] you wanna be
Like me, your black superhero
Got enough zeros to hire Bob Shapiro
Again, they feel that dream is elusive from their grasp by virtue of the war waged against them by the very system from which they seek acceptance. As cited in ''New Jack Hustler,'' this paradox is their personal nightmare.
To their way of thinking the paradox is a part of a systematic master plan engineered by the forces of the mainstream. It is a plan for the complete uprooting of the inner-city minority community through government induced genocide. In this vein the forces of government fuel the conflict within their community by inciting red vs blue (i.e., Blood vs Crip) or brown vs black (i.e., Hispanic gangs vs black gangs), et. al.
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As expressed by the rappers, black on black violence furthers the agenda of the white-led government forces and rather than allowing the minority community to achieve the Robin Leach (''Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous'') maxim, ''Champagne wishes and Caviar dreams,'' they instead are kept in the miasmic world of ''Triple beam wishes and 40 ounce dreams'' (i.e., drugs and alcohol). You need not agree with this premise, you simply need to understand the thinking of those that do!
How do these individuals feel about the consequences of their actions in pursuit of the American Dream, behavior which brings about the destruction of the community's infrastructure, and which is a form of self-genocide furthering the cycle of civil unrest?
The sense of hopelessness felt by the young in these communities fosters an attitude that is explicitly referred to in rap lyrics as, ''I don't give a [expletive deleted]!'' This attitude fuels the ''thug lifestyle'' which gang membersminority and non-minority alikesubscribe to as their model for living in Amerikkka. The thugish, roguish gang member does not care about you or yours. He feels disconnected from the greater community of which he is a part because to his way of thinking that society has long ago given up on him. As a result of this lack of emotional bonding the adherent to the ''thug'' way of life strolls through life with an outlook that was adequately expressed in a 1990 rap song:
I don't give a [expletive deleted]
Not a single [expletive deleted]
Not a single, solitary [expletive deleted]
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Their disregard for the feelings of others (except their ''homies''fellow gang members) and disconnection from the American mainstream helps them spurn any concern for the consequences of their negative, self-destructive, and often illegal behavior. This was adequately expressed in the song, ''Neighborhood Jacka:''
I'm a [expletive deleted] with an Uzi straight cut
I'm jackin' [expletive deleted] 'cause I don't give a [expletive deleted]
[Expletive deleted] law and order, yo the cops ain't [expletive deleted]
I'm jackin' [expletive deleted] mommas so they can suck [expletive deleted]
I'm jackin' [expletive deleted] 'cause I gotta make a living
I can't get a job it's a [expletive deleted] shame
The color of my skin don't affect what's in my brain
I'm kickin' skanless [expletive deleted] 'cause the government sucks
They keep us broke and hopeless so I still don't get my cut
It's a [expletive deleted] shame I gotta Jack an old lady
I got three babies and it's driving me crazy
I can't let 'em starve so I hit your house at night
A full fledged gee on the warpath punk
You better think duck when I step to my trunk
The issue of respect, which is so crucial to a gang member's personal reputation and social standing among his peers, has sent many to their deaths because they did not fear the consequence of defying a rival bent on challenging that ''rep.'' In such cases the consequence of having one's ''rep'' tarnished (thereby losing respect and social standing) is more threatening to the gang member than the prospect of losing (or taking) a life.
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What of the consequence of arrest and eventual jail or prison time? The gang member will do everything he can to avoid arrest and incarceration (including intimidating witnesses, a subject to be discussed later), however when confronted with the prospect, like virtually everything else in their world, they will turn the negative into a positive.
In their world incarceration is not necessarily something to be avoided, but rather embraced. In the social order of their world incarceration, especially prison time, is an enhancer to their reputation, a noble journeya badge of honor to be worn with pride.
Because of the criminality inherent in their world the prison experience is inevitable. In many cases prison becomes a place for family reunion. In my years of working on the gang issue in Utah I have dealt with young peoplegang memberswho simultaneously had cousins, brothers, and uncles in the same prison facility. These young people looked up to their jailed family members with a respect bordering on idolatry. As such they embraced the idea of going to jail because it allowed for a reuniting of kin. As warped as this thinking may seem to those of us raised with the notion that breaking the law and its aftermath was a negative experience to be avoided at all costs, it is a mind-set that must be understood in the course of drafting legislation to address the rising crime in America.
So many legislative bodies across the country have resorted to the ''adultification'' of juveniles in their efforts to reign in the increasing crime wave of so-called ''superpredators.'' In this vein the age for classifying juvenile offenders as adults subject to adult penalities has been lowered to, in some cases, fourteen (14). Is this necessary or effective?
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Because of the occasional high profile crime involving juveniles there is a perception on the part of the public that the rise in crime is due to these ''superpredators.'' Studies have shown, however, that juveniles account for approximately 10% of all violent crime in the country; a figure that, according to a report by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, has not changed in approximately 30 years. This false perception, however, has not deterred elected officials from responding to constituent concerns regarding juvenile crime by advocating extremely tougher measures to curb its negative impact. This is especially true of juvenile gang members.
An example of this extreme was expressed to me by a member of the Utah State Senate. His solution to our gang problem was to build an encampment in an area of the state's west desert with a ten foot high electrified fence. The juvenile gang offenders would be warehoused in this enclosure at the mercy of the electric current running though the fence. Should they dare challenge the fence they would be instantly executed. He was adamant about the seriousness of this proposal because those housed in this setting had given up their right to exist in mainstream society. He emphasized that those offenders deserving of this ''rehabilitation'' were from the state's minority population (i.e., black latino, polynesian, and asian), with a few coming from the dominant white majority. He lent credence to the perception offered in this missive that a civil state of unrest exists in this country...except that in his scenario the white majority were being victimized by the minority underclass. The irony to his ''fantasy'' solution was that in the Salt Lake City area the majority of identified gang members are adults (18 and over) as opposed to juveniles.
These legislative ''get tough'' measures have not been shown to have any impeding effect on crime, in general, and juvenile crime, in particular. In some cases an argument could be made that some of these measures (i.e., such as California's ''three strikes and out'' law) have had the unintended effect of contributing to the civil war I speak of.
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The rappers bemoan the fact that the ''system'' has forced the ''hell'' of the inner-city experience on them. As expressed in the song, ''Heaven or Hell,'' by New York rapper Raekwon (a member of the group Wu Tang Clan):
WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IN, HEAVEN OR HELL? WE DON'T BELIEVE IN HEAVEN 'CAUSE WE'RE LIVING IN HELL
The ''system'' then aggravates the situation by responding to their efforts to rise above the negativity in their lives by penalizing them for wanting a slice of the ''American Pie'' (though obtaining that slice may be by illegal means). To their way of thinking the punitive aspect of mainstream America's response to their minority ''stepchildren'' has only served to heighten the tensions between them. In their lyrics they have fused the ''don't give a [expletive deleted]'' outlook on life with the punitive, living finality of the ''three strikes and out'' law. In this vein the violent nature of their day to day existence is exacerbated by the realization that if the third strike is going to go in effect then why not use violence (especially towards law enforcement) because there is nothing left to lose.
In reality the ''get tough'' measures being bandied about will probably not have any great debilitating effect on public safety measures in the country. As a career law enforcement officer I favor anything that will allow police officers to be more effective in executing their duties to ''serve and protect'' the public interest. I favor any legislative measure that will make the entire criminal justice process more efficient from the standpoint of the law abiding citizen and more fearful to the criminal offender. The recent wave of legislative responses, however, raises serious questions regarding their true benefit and whose (or what) agenda prospers as a result.
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Take, for example, the much publicized Crime Bill of 1994. It was meant to address the rise in crime by putting 100,000 more police officers on the street and by making it harder to obtain firearms as violence reducing measures. In fact the police chief and mayor of one Utah community took the national emphasis in this area and fused it with the public's concern over a spate of violent incidents in their community involving gang members and guns to tout their personal agenda of changing the law pertaining to the purchase of firearms from state control to municipal control. Their position was that if the local jurisdictions had control over firearm sales then the violence level would be drastically curtailed (especially that involving gang violence). The fallacy to this position was that the guns being used in gang related crime were not being purchased through legal channels with that specific intent. They were, in fact, being obtained by those committing the crimes through the underground (i.e., black) market through residential and business burglary and theft.
The Crime Bill addressed the subject of gang violence by banning the purchase and sale of assault weapons. The fallacy to this position was not that assault weapons were specifically addressedthey needed to be the focus of some legislative initiative. The fallacy to this position lay in the politically laden media sound bites touting this initiative as a major step in curbing gang violence in the country, especially within the inner-city minority community. The reality was that throughout the country gang violence as a result of assault weapons (i.e., AK47, Uzis, Mac10, Tec9, et al.) was miniscule in comparison to that involving small caliber handguns (especially the highly touted Glock 9mm, a favorite lyrical tool of the rappers).
As noted by Sgt. McBride and cited in my 1995 year end status report on criminal street gangs in Utah, approximately 93% of gang related homicides in the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department reporting area involved firearms of which approximately 76% were from small caliber handguns as opposed to approximately 6% involving assault weapons.
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Inciting public outrage and concern over the destruction to life and limb as a result of ''weapons of war'' is no major public relations problem to elected and appointed officials. It should be vented. However, addressing the same issue with the more prevalent small caliber weapons which account for a far greater number of shattered lives would be tantamount to political suicide because of the powerful gun lobby. So instead a smoke screen in the form of assault weapons is addressed, thereby giving the public a false sense of security and elected officials much needed fodder for campaign image building.
Perhaps the most egregious example of the legislative response to the rise in crime is the belief that putting more people in jail/prison will ease the public's pain of victimization. The influx of business has resulted in the privatization of the penal institution, making it one of the most profitable business ventures in the country. It has made fortunes for those businessmen who wallow in the misery of others. Unfortunately for the inner-city minority, they, too often, represent that ''other.''
Legislative ''get tough'' measures all too often go hand in hand (or is it hand in pocket) with the privatization of the penal colonies in this country. The federal sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine versus the powder variety is a prime example.
It is commonly known that the penalty for possession of 5 grams of crack cocaine is much greater than that for the same offense involving 500 grams (over one pound). In the 1994 Crime Bill, Congress included a provision requiring a mandatory, no parole sentence of five years for conviction of possession of five grams of crack cocaine while the same sentence for the powder variety required 500 grams. That represents a 100-to-one disparity for a substance that is, from a pharmacological standpoint, virtually the same product. It is also well known that the primary violators of the former come from the ranks of the inner-city minority community. A 1993 study of the disparity in those sentenced under the mandatory provision showed that 92.3% were black Americans of African descent. It is a point of fact that blacks prefer the crack variety (in part due to convenience, price, and fashion) while whites prefer the powder. From an investigative standpoint it is much easier to build a case on those using the smaller amount than it is to attack those from the upper crust of society who are the primary distributors of the powder variety. As questioned by the rappers, is this indicative of the fair and just system touted in the Constitution, or is it simply a case of racial and socio-economic class predjudice?
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As a career law enforcement officer and former narcotics investigator I believe that addressing the crack problem and its decimating effect on the American way of life is vitally necessary. However cocaine in any form has had, and will continue to have, a debilitating effect on all aspects of American society by those who use, possess, or distribute it. The sentencing discrepancy is frequently applied in rap lyrics show that in spite of its claims to being a fair and just society, the American judicial system is heavily weighted in favor of those with the ''money and power'' (to quote from a song by the same name). It is a system, they say, that prefers to focus on the powerless inner-city minority crack fiend who is on the back end of the cocaine express food chain, instead of the powerful white importer who controls the switch that sets that engine in motion. Cocaine is cocaine and the basic laws of math still dictate that 500 grams is greater than 5 grams. The numbers game should not be used by a ''fair and just'' system simply for political gain.
All of these issuesinconsistent and unbalanced sentencing guidelines, privatization of prisons, and other ''get tough'' legislative measures such as the ''adultification'' of juvenile offenders fuels the fiery perception by inner-city minorities that America, as an institution, is resorting to ''gangsterism'' against them. The rappers, in turn, add to that inferno of discontent by raging against a system that calls for the silencing of their voices (as expressed in the song, ''Hand of the Dead Body,'' by Scarface):
They claim we threats to society
And now they callin' on the government to try to make somebody quiet me
So why you try to kick some dust up
Amerikkka's always been known for blamin' us [expletive deleted] for their [expletive deleted] ups
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCAnd we were always considered evil
Now they're tryin' to bust our only code of communicating with our people
Why you criticize me for the [expletive deleted] that you see On your t.v. that rates worse than P.G.
Just bring your [expletive deleted] to where they got me
So you can feel the hand of the dead body
David Duke's got a shotgun
So why you get upset 'cause I got one
A tiskit-a tasket, a [expletive deleted] got his [expletive deleted] kicked
Shot in the face by a copclosed casket
An open and shut situation
Cop gets got, they wanna blame it on my occupation
The [expletive deleted] that I be sayin' ain't no worse than no western movie
Don't blame me, blame your man Gotti
So you can feel the hand of the dead body
You punk [expletive deleted] make me sick
Scared of revolution, need to start douches'
But I bust two times to the guts
Now you're dissin' me for publicity
So [expletive deleted] Bill and Hillary Ice Cube, it ain't no killing me
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC All of these issues promote the civil conflict between two opposing castes of Americansthe white mainstream majority versus the inner-city underclass minority, separate and unequal. All of these ''get tough'' measures fail in one great respectthey address the crime issue from the back end (after the damage to society has been done) instead of focusing on the front end (during the formative years of youthful development). As I cited in my 1995 report, ''. . . the back end cost of incarceration and rehabilitation efforts far exceeds that of the front end cost of prevention and intervention.
As noted in that report, figures obtained from the Third District Juvenile Court in Salt Lake City showed that an average sentence of eight (8) months in a secured facility cost Utah taxpayers approximately $35,280.00 per individual. The annual cost for incarcerating one (1) adult in the Utah State Penitentiary was approximately $22,000.00. In comparison Neighborhood Housing Services, a well established prevention/intervention program with a proven record of success in turning the lives of ''troubled/at-risk'' youth around for the betterment of society, does so at a cost of $22.00 per day (the average length of stay in the program is four months for a total cost of approximately $1,500). NHS includes a job training component (building construction) as a part of its overall program and requires its participating youth to maintain at least a C average in high school during the length of their tenure.
The importance of prevention/intervention efforts was stressed by Chicago Police Department Sergeant Tom McMahon, a 17 year Gang Specialist, during his presentation at the 1995 National Gang Conference in Anaheim, California. He pointed out that without early prevention/intervention efforts an impressionable child more easily succumbs to the addicting lure of the criminal street gang culture. In a short period of time that child reaches the upper echelon of the culture known as ''hardcore.'' To quote Sgt. McMahon:
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Once a kid obtains 'hardcore' level or status in a gang, there is nothing we're (society) going to do to change his path. There is no program we're going to come up with-the school system, religious groups, the help of any city agencyto stop this kid. He is into the gang now for the long haul.
Taxpayer dollars would be better served if spent on preventative measures which, if effective, could forestall the development of a child into the thug lifestyle of gangs as a viable alternative. Unfortunately supporting this agenda represents the ideological antithesis of the privatized prison industry. In the political climate of today it is not in the best interest of elected officials to advocate prevention and intervention efforts over the building of more prisons for human warehousing. To do so would be a political death knell.
To those unfamiliar with the dynamics of the gang culture and the inner-city minority community from which street gang members have traditionally come from (such as the Utah State Senator previously referred to, as well as a substantial number of congressional members and mainstream Americans), prevention programs hold no great appeal. Building more prisons and then allocating resources towards filling them will not break the cycle of criminality which has, unfortunately, become a way of life to many inner-cite minority youth.
Does my advocacy of prevention/intervention programs reflect an indictment of arrest and incarceration as a viable weapon in the war against criminal street gangs and juvenile violence? On the contrary I, like my colleagues throughout the country whose time is specifically dedicated towards impeding the growth of the street gang culture in American society, wholeheartedly endorse the arrest and incarceration of those convicted of serious, violent, and heinous crimes. It is not necessarily the criminal justice system that has failed society, but rather the attitude of society towards the juvenile offender which has failed.
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For example, why have the so-called ''superpredators'' found their niche in life by means of preying on those they consider weaker than they? Could it possibly be because the juvenile justice system in this country has failed to instill the notion that acts in violation of society's rules carry punitive consequences, and then impose that penalty to the fullest extent to demonstrate that ''crime does not pay?''
I have dealt with juvenile offenders who have told me they would continue in their life of crime until their 18th birthday, at which time they would become subject to the more stringent adult system. Such attitude clearly indicates a lack of respect for the juvenile justice system. That accounts for the use of juveniles by adult gang members to commit crime. The adults know that the lenient nature of the juvenile courts will, in all liklihood, simply slap the offender on the wrist with an admonishment to ''don't do it again.'' A legislative ''get tough'' initiative which Congress should address is severe penalties for those adult predators who prey on youth to commit crimes on their behalf as a means of circumventing the stricter adult criminal justice system.
Sadly this lack of respect, as it has pertained to Utah's system, has often been justified:
Case #1A 17 year old gang member uses a sawed-off shotgun to shoot a rival gang member in the stomach. The victim livesa clear case of attempted homicidebut his attacker is sentenced to 6 months in a juvenile facility. The light sentence reflects the court's belief that the shooter can benefit from rehabilitation efforts imposed by the court. This in spite of the shooter's extensive rap sheet of 30 arrests of which half involved violence and several of those involved weapons (including firearms).
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Case #2A 17 year old gang member charged with two counts of attempted murder with a handgun (A bullet barely missed a baby laying in its crib) is sentenced to 30 days in a juvenile facility.
These are but two examples of the ''system's'' failure to impose a consequence that would get the juvenile offender's attention and impress upon him the notion that crime, indeed, does not pay. In the words of the rappers, however, as illustrated by these examples, ''crime does pay.''
In order to adequately address the rise in crime, especially gang related crime, there must be a balanced blend of prevention/intervention with incarceration. Any emphasis of one over the other is doomed to fail. The politicians who tout incarceration as the panacea to violent crime, in their own way, contribute to its proliferation. As previously mentioned incarceration is quite often embraced by those living the thug life. It is an experience that helps establish reputations and reinforces those already made. Incarceration is needed but it should be tempered with prevention/intervention. The cycle of crime as a way of life must be addressed at the beginning of the journey, not at its end!
And what of the subject of witness intimidation, the primary focus of this hearing? Approximately four years ago I was asked by homicide detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department to assist them in an investigation involving members of the 89th Street Family Blood gang. These detectives felt this gang had been involved in several unsolved homicides, one of which was tied to a witness in another investigation. One member of this gang who went by the street name of ''Sinister'' was a rapper who had released an album titled ''Mobbin' 4 Life.'' The detectives felt some of the songs on this album made reference to those unsolved cases and asked for my assistance in transcribing (and deciphering) the lyrics for their use in the investigation. One of these songs, ''Put A Snitch In The Ditch,'' clearly illustrates the attitude of the gang member toward those who would impede upon his effort to achieve the ''American Dream:''
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Once upon a time on the Eastside
There was 9 homies that was down to hoo ride
One of the homies was a bit soft
But, the other homies was straight up nuts
They could always depend on the other
Nothing but homeboys but more like brothers
One day they decided to do a lick
But something went wrong, the police had got a tip
One time showed up and spoiled the whole show
The party was over and it was time to go
It all ended in gunplay
The soft homie got caught but the other 8 got away
Now this is where the problem begins
If homeboy snitch, they all going to the pen
But if he do he gonna sleep with the fishes
Cause snitches lie in ditches
(Chorus) Dig a ditch for a snitch
They read the homie his rights
And told him if he don't snitch, he's gonna have to do life
I told you that the boy was soft
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCThe cops pulled it off, they made the little chump talk
They kicked everybody's door in
But one fool slipped away and his name was ''sin''
And I know I'm on a wanted list
With one thing on my mind, I gotta kill the witness
Snitches lie in ditches it's a well known fact
If anybody tells you that they don't
It's been a fact for dimensions
Snitches been getting smoked since prohibition
Don't let nobody tell you that they don't
'Cause 9 times out of 10, I bet you he won't snitch
Like he's been telling you to do
And that goes for the [expletive deleted] cops, too
(Chorus) Dig a ditch for a snitch
I gotta go on a mission
To catch this fool who thinks he's gonna be snitching
Sneak a 9 months beef
So I got an alias name and was a trustee
Straight on a county jail system
Stalking my prey and looking for a victim
Now I got to get to 1750 where they keep all the snitches at
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCWork my way to the window
I pulled my shank and the fool got stuck
(Chorus) Dig a ditch for a snitch
Utah has had its share of witness intimidation on the part of gang members. The most tragic example was a case in which a young man sleeping on his living room floor was shotgunned to death. The shooter, who fired through an open window late at night, was acting on behalf of one of his ''homeboys'' locked up in the Utah State Penitentiary. The tragedy to this was that the victim was not the intended target.
There have been other examples of witness intimidation in the Utah gang scene, but this one is the most glaring as to the lengths they will go to continue in their life of crime, to protect the ''rep'' they have established, and to show that any disrespect to their ''rep'' will not be tolerated. That a rap song would be written to chronicle such an event only goes to show just how important the issue is to those in the thug life and why it should, likewise, be important to those of us charged with insuring the public's safety and welfare.
As a society, gentlemen, we should use every resource at our disposal to deal with the criminal element plaguing this country. But we have to recognize that strict enforcement of the law, in and of itself, has notdoes not work. For proof of this we need only look at the cities of Los Angeles and Chicago. They have been allocating resources in this area for generations and yet the problem has grown exponentially. Does this mean that the law enforcement effort has failed? No! It simply shows the magnitude of the problem, how adherence to the gangster way of life has become an accepted part of youth culture in American society. Throughout the country young people are flocking to embrace the ways of the gang culture as their means of self-expression. It is a phenomenon that has slipped the traditional boundaries of the inner-cities and its heavy minority population to become an accepted part of the lifestyle of mainstream American youth. In the rural heartland and white suburbia gangs have become the ''in'' thing for young people to be a part of. This in spite of the aggressive enforcement efforts that have been waged against the beast over the years in places like Los Angeles and Chicago. Clearly, enforcement alone will not stem the tide of gangs assimilating into the fabric of the mainstream American quilt. I say again, there must be a balanced blend of strict enforcement with prevention/intervention efforts if any abatement of this tide is to be seen.
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In regards to the ''civil war'' I have addressed in my statement, the promotion of a social revolt within the ''colonies'' (i.e., rap rhetoric for the inner-cities) of America, it is a truism that should be taken seriously by those charged with maintaining the public safety. The rappers and their supporters believe this ''state of war'' exists and frequently call for the marshalling of forces in the upcoming battle against the modern day tyranny of the various institutions of American government:
I'm seein' bodies in the alley and blood in the valley from the shores of Maine all the way to Compton, Cali
I'm callin' rally to the homies in the street life
Take a real close look at what it look like
When the revolution comes I'm a be up front
With my finger on the trigger of a Mossberg pump
When the revolution comes I'm a be straight loc
Going out in a cloud of pistol smoke
The people writing these lyrics may be relatively young in age, but they are old in terms of what the social conditions they speak of has done to them. The systemic problems which have created the need for gang culture as an alternative way of life to young people, especially those from the inner-cities, is endemic of a society that has lost its moral compass. Is that loss unique to a certain community or socio-economic class of people? The answer is no. The people who are generational products of inner-city living (regardless of whether they had or have opportunities to escape that lifestyle) have the same hopes and dreams for their young as do those of us whose lives unfold in the mainstream. The rappers are not making up the things that they say, though in some instances they clearly are exaggerating way beyond the scope of reality. When they talk about the decimated social conditions of their world it is because they have experienced its horrors first hand. When they talk of their ''don't give a [expletive deleted'' attitude towards life it is because they have seen death and destruction up close and personal and have become desensitized to the point that it no longer matters. When they talk of government abuse, especially in the realm of police abuse of authority, it is because they have the history of FBI infringement upon the constitutional rights of those they (the rappers) look upon as leaders in the movement for civil and social equality (i.e., witness the congressional hearings into the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. in which it was clearly established that under the authority of J. Edgar Hoover the FBI targeted the black civil rights leadersDr. King, Malcolm X, Huey Newton and the Black Panther Party, et al.by illegal wiretaps, falsifying information on these individuals and then releasing that information to the public domain in order to incite public opinion against them, et al.).
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The subject of controlling what the rappers say through legislation (i.e., interstate commerce laws, violation of the first amendment, et al.) is frequently brought up. What they say has even been likened to yelling fire in a crowed theater. My response is really quite simple: If society is willing to condemn the words eminating from this particular socio-economic class of American society, is it also prepared to condemn similar intonations coming from other, more upper scale elements of that same society. If Congress legislates against so-called ''gangster'' rap is it also prepared to legislate against the forces of talk radio (many of which preach the conservative agenda which is the bulwark of the current Congress). Can we truly condemn the rappers who yell, ''[expletive deleted] the Police,'' and then ignore the likes of conservative talk show host G. Gordon Liddy who proclaimed on the air that the agents of ATF were ''jackbooted thugs'' who should have a bullseye painted on their heads? This about an agency that is held in the highest regard by gang investigators across this nation because they have taken the initiative (as has DEA on a slightly smaller scale) to work with local and state agencies in addressing the growing gang problem. The respect shown to ATF was evident during a 1994 Street Gang Symposium sponsored by the Justice Department's National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC). NDIC brought sixteen law enforcement gang ''experts'' together (of which I was one) to address the street gang problem (with emphasis on Bloods and Crips) from a national perspective. As expressed by the participants in the published report:
A number of the symposium participants view the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) as the most productive (and cooperative) federal law enforcement agency working street gang matters with state and local law enforcement....
Unlike a sister agency in the federal law enforcement family, ATF does not assume an ''elitist'' attitude when they interact with city, county, and state investigative agencies. They have been avid partners in the education of law enforcement as to the nature of criminal street gangs. This has been through two national gang conferences they have co-sponsored since 1992 with the California Gang Investigators Association on the west coast, and MAGLOCLEN (one of the federally funded Regional Information Sharing Systems) on the east coast. It is my belief that law enforcement in general and the American public in particular owe a great deal of thanks to ATF for being the first among federal law enforcement to actively address the rising crime among gang members and to do so in a way that epitomizes what interagency cooperationlocal, state, and federalis all about.
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I would argue that the words of G. Gordon Liddy are, perhaps, more inflammatory because he has long been a member of the mainstream establishment (including service with the FBI) and as such should be expected to uphold the honor and integrity of the law enforcement community of which he was once a part. On the other hand, however, I would expect such behavior from the rappers and gang members because they, as a matter of routine, have never shown any affinity towards the police. To them, we are, in fact, the enemy.
There are those in the mainstream who would attack the rappers on the premise that they are fostering a lack of respect for the role of law enforcement by instilling within the minds of American youth the idea that the police are worthy of ridicule and contempt. These individuals conveniently forget such media portrayals of the police as depicted in the Burt Reynold movies of ''Hooper, Smokey and The Bandit, and Cannonball Run.'' In these movies Reynolds (the ''hero'') openly flaunts his contempt for the law by racing across the highways of America at outrageous speeds, while guzzling beer as police cars crash all around him as they try to bring him to justice. The exploits of the police in their pursuit of Reynolds' character is that of sheer buffoonery. Is the comedic depiction of the police in these movies less inclined to foster a lack of respect for law enforcement than the more caustic depiction lyrically painted by the rappers?
America, gentlemen, needs to heed the words of these rappers whether we like what they say and how they say it or not. They are speaking to us of an apocalyptic society that threatens to implode upon itself. They are, in their own unique way, speaking to us of ways in which the structure of American society can be more inclusive to those who have long been separated from the fold. They simply ask gentlemen, for inclusion into the affairs of mainstream society, for a piece of the all-American pie (and not necessarily through illegitimate means). Currently, their ''legitimate'' way of grabbing that slice exists through the rap music industry, what they refer to as ''legal dope.''
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I maintain, gentlemen, that the rappers should not be condemned for the negative harshness of their words. They are not the source. Those who control the American music industrythose white executives of the major recording companies in this countryare the ones who should face condemnation and censure. They are the ones who have made it profitable for inner-city minority youth to vent their frustration at their social condition and status in life and to become celebrities in the process. They are the ones who have created the ''cult of personality'' that defines the rappers and their lifestyle and which the multi-media have seized upon to inspire America's youth culture. Condemn the industry moguls, gentlemen, but listen to the words of their proteges because in them the nature of this ''civil war'' can be understood and hopefully addressed in a way that is beneficial to all Americans. Thank you.
INSERT OFFSET RING FOLIOS 1 TO 5 HERE
Mr. MCCOLLUM. We thank all of the panel.
We will now go to a period of questioning. I will yield myself 5 minutes.
Mr. Stallworth, I was in Salt Lake City a couple of years ago; and I did a gang patrol ride around at night. Around midnight, we came upon a warehouse where a gang of kids were gathered that weren't Bloods or Cripsthey were 15 to 16 years old. They were white. They were from middle income families. They were spray painting graffiti on a building. I was told by the police I was with that the most dangerous thing they were doing was messing with one of the Bloods or Crips signs they put on that building.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But I also was told that this gang was one known to them, was one you have catalogued out there, that were out 2 or 3 nights a week, lots of times running around at midnight. Nothing was going to be done to them except calling their parents and sending them home, when they could, or taking them home. Because they don't have resources to deal with that and they were not committing violent crime, little else could be done.
But they did let me talk to each of one of these kids. They sat them on a railroad track. One by one, there were about 10 of them, I talked to them individually in the squad car for about 45 minutes before they were sent home.
I have kids that age, and I was asking these typical questions to find out what these kids were like. They were pretty typical kids other than the fact they had an attitude.
How long are you going to be doing this, was one of the questions I began to ask after I talked to three or four of them; and I had several of them say to me the same answer, though they didn't talk to each other during this conversation. It was, ''I am going to do it until I am 18.'' Very explicit, until I am 18. Then I asked why? The answer was, because then I will get punished.
We are talking about gangs today, and you have told us we need to educate, and you told us you need help with interstate problems. What are the answers? How do you deal with this? Is there a missing link here? Are we failing to produce, for example, consequences or sanctions for kids at this early stage in these gangs? I am not talking about jail time. I am just talking about any sanction.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. STALLWORTH. I would say we are not failing. We failed. We failed a long time ago, and these kids know it.
I have dealt with kids in the Salt Lake City area. For example, I know of one boy in particular who a few years back was caught, who shotgunned a rival gang member. The kid lived. But he ended up by staying in the juvenile justice system for approximately 60 or 90 days and then was back out on the street. They didn't feel it was serious enough. We are talking a few years ago.
The laws in the State have been strengthened a little bit, but it was not uncommon to run across kids like this who had on their rap sheet 20 entries, for example, for a variety of crimes, and half of those would have been violent crimes, but they are still running the streets.
The system failed. The system broke down. That is one of the thingswhen I lecture around the country, one of the things I tell people is we, as a nation, are trying to address a problem that, quite frankly, is beyond our grasp. We are reaching out, trying to do something, and we don't know exactly how to deal with it, because we are dealing with kids that look like your children and mine.
As a result of that, one of the things we resorted to is to increase the penalties for juvenile offenses and to raise the level in which these kids with be charged as adultswhat I refer to as the adultification. As a result of this, I have to ask, is that truly effective? I am not necessarily arguing the point that we shouldn't do something, but is it truly effective?
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Because what are we going to do as a society, especially at the Federal level? What are we going to do as a society where we have 13- and 14-year-old kids charged as adults for, let's say, homicides and we incarcerate them.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Isn't our problem we are not getting at these kids early enough? They ought to be taken before juvenile judges and have a probation system that works?
Mr. STALLWORTH. I agree with you. We have to stop playing games with the kids. I have had them look me in the eye and tell me the same thing you were told. If you don't think it is frustrating for me
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, it is out of that experience that I had in your city that this idea came for the bill that we produced on reforming the juvenile justice system. A lot of attention went to treating kids as adults.
That was a very small portion of that bill. In fact, it doesn't encourage it especially. The key to that bill is trying to get at sanctions and some kind of consequences for these early acts and get the States to put some money into the juvenile justice system so you and the police and the communities and the prosecutors can deal with this a little bit better than they are today.
Let me ask Mr. Gallagher a question. Does Pennsylvania have a witness relocation program, a State program?
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Mr. GALLAGHER. No, sir.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Does California, Ms. Snyder?
Ms. SNYDER. We do. Our witness relocation program is implemented by the Office of Criminal Justice and Planning. Los Angeles County gets approximately $150,000, and we do the best we can with that fund. What ends up happening in practicality is an awful lot of ad hoc work is done where police agencies or the FBI or other resources are sought and used in order to implement relocation.
The difficulty with relocation, as everybody on this panel would agree, I am sure, is trying to educate the witnesses not to return back to the neighborhood. In each instance where I have been involved and a witness was killed, that witness had been relocated or had refused relocation, and in each instance they went back to the neighborhood.
In the video, the two murders that you saw happened within three blocks of the original drug transaction that led to Willie T. Bogan's death. So relocation is of some assistance.
I agree with Mr. Gallagher that having more interstate coordination would be most helpful, not only for people that are being relocated from residence to residence, but also for people who are within the prison system. Because, while in custody, there is a network that embraces and in large part leads that which is going to happen on the street.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One of the cultural things that Mr. Stallworth is talking about is people who are in prison are deified by the people on street. Going to the joint is not a bad deal for a gang member. Gang members think going to prison is a badge of honor. As twisted as that may sound, if you accept that as one of their values, then you understand why it is that people who are in prison have a great deal to say about what happens on the street.
As a consequence, when we put a witness who may have time they have to complete in custody, they become an easy mark for the home boys who were within the prison system. So when you talk about what needs to be done, implementation of an interstate relationship, both for custody witnesses as well as those out of custody, would be critical in my view to assuring the success of any relocation.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Does California relocate to other States or just within the State of California?
Ms. SNYDER. We do on an ad hoc basis. There is no formal agreement that I am aware of between our State and other States. But by personal communications between district attorneys and Mr. Garcetti and those out of State or between prosecutors who meet at circumstances such as this, we will on a one-on-one basis arrange to have a witness moved.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. How common is that? Does that happen rarely or does it happen every day?
Ms. SNYDER. Somewhere in between. It happens with some frequency. What we tend to look for is relatives or some other family base in another State to move the witness to so they are not being dropped into a State with absolutely no network of support behind them. So it does happen with some frequency, but it happens on a case-by-case basis, and there is no means to administer those kinds of programs that I am aware of.
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Mr. MCCOLLUM. One last question, both for you and Mr. Gallagher.
One of you mentionedMr. Gallagher may havethe fact that there is a need for Federal Witness Protection Programs. There is one right now. Apparently, it is not utilized by States, and maybe that is because it is not structured well. Are you familiar with the
Mr. GALLAGHER. Yes, sir.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Can you tell why that is not used?
Mr. GALLAGHER. In order for a local jurisdiction to get someone in the Federal Witness Protection Program, you must submit and getat least the last time I checked it, and I imagine it is still the same wayyou must get the support from the U.S. attorney in the district in which you live as well as a commitment by the witness to abide by the Witness Protection Program that is run, I believe, by the U.S. Marshals Service.
It is a very strict program and a very good program. It has to be strict, because a lot of times some of the witnesses that you have may have been involved in the activity that they are testifying against. Some of them are innocent bystanders. But the fact of the matter is it is a very strict program and it is not easily given to you to make access to by the U.S. attorney.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It comes down to one thing. It comes down to money. It is a very expensive thing.
What we do in Philadelphia, as indicated by my colleague from L.A., we interview a person who fears for their life and believes that they are subject to some kind of retaliation. We fully interview them, we find out from them whether or not they have any relatives within Philadelphia or out of State, and we try and network with those individuals to get them moved to someone, a relation of theirs.
That is for two reasons: So the witness feels more comfortable but, more importantly, it is cheaper that way. It is very expensive to put a witness up in a hotel or just take them out of where they are living and buy them a new apartment or find them a new apartment. So we try that route.
But that is not always successful because you have situations where they may go with a relative and not get along and end up back in the old neighborhood. So it is a never-ending struggle.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. We could change this Federal system, but it may not be utilized if the expenses continue to be so great as it sounds.
Let me go to some of my colleagues. Mr. Conyers, you are recognized.
Mr. CONYERS. Thank you. Good morning, Mr. Chairman.
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This is a very important subject. The problem with talking about it from the point of witness intimidation is this is only one little slice of it. So given the chairman's bill that we try to deal with witness intimidation and we get this through, do you think it will change much? Will intimidation go down?
Ms. SNYDER. I can only tell you from my personal experience that, with respect to the gang-related in the video, we formed a task force. We cleared a total of 16 homicide cases. We filed nine, and seven we couldn't file because the perpetrators were dead or witnesses who were necessary were unavailable.
In each witness' case, District Attorney Garcetti has mandated that we seek the death penalty. I can tell you that, with that particular gang in that small reporting district, violent crime dropped by 70 percent.
Does it have an effect? I think so. Will it prevent witnesses from being killed? I can't tell you that. I will tell you that gang members know that it is a death penalty to kill a witness. They are aware of that. We have heard it on wire intercepts. We hear it in their casual conversations. They know the difference between mad-dogging or staring at a witness and what it is going to cost them if they actually go through and kill them. So it does have an impact when you are talking about increasing the punishment.
Mr. CONYERS. That is very interesting, Attorney Snyder, but that wasn't the question I asked.
Ms. SNYDER. I thought it was, sir. I am sorry.
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Mr. CONYERS. I know you did.
Let me try Prosecutor Gallagher. Do you think after we get a witness intimidation law federally, like the one that you are here testifying on, do you think intimidation will go down?
Mr. GALLAGHER. Yes, sir. And the basis for that is that in Philadelphia we have very good coordination in the prosecution of drug cases with the Federal U.S. attorney. In fact, he used to work in our office, Mike Styles, and his predecessors.
We have had joint investigations of drug operations, some of them involving homicides, but primarily the drug trade. As a result of a long-term investigation, they go out and they pick a particular day and go out and make a raid and start making arrests.
Mr. CONYERS. I don't want to go into all of that. The answer is yes.
Sergeant Stallworth, what do you think?
Mr. STALLWORTH. I think possibly yes, that it can't hurt. We need to try it. We need to try it.
A couple of times in my testimony I used the analogy that we, as a nation, are engaged in a war, a form of civil war; and if we are, in fact, engaged in a war and we repeatedly lose battles because we are not responding to the attacks that others are making, that is going to embolden them even further.
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So, based on that, I think we need to try this and a few other initiatives.
Mr. CONYERS. Well, that is what brings us all here, too. Because you were the one that made the excellent point that, frequently, we just don't know what to do and that a lot of people don't understand this.
Before I ask you what it is you think we ought to think about doing in addition to this, could I ask you, Prosecutor Gallagher, do you think that gangs are a form of civil war and we are, in effect, in a state of war?
Mr. GALLAGHER. Yes, sir. I don't know if I would characterize it completely that way, but I believe that there is no respect for law enforcement, there is no respect for their neighbors, there is no respect for seeking a livelihood where they work for a living. They want the easy money.
I think that there has to be something done strongly to impress upon these people that have chosen that way of life that the Government is going to deal with them strictly.
Mr. CONYERS. Prosecutor Snyder, do you think we are in a form of civil war with these gangs?
Ms. SNYDER. From the gang members' standpoint, yes, and from our standpoint also.
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Mr. CONYERS. OK. Now how about trying more kids as adults for crimes, lowering the age to 13?
Mr. GALLAGHER. We just started that in Pennsylvania. We have what is called a direct file where if it is a serious file, a violent felony, we directly file the case, regardless of the juvenile's background in adult court, and try them as adults. I can't tell you the results of that, because we just started that this year.
We do have one other program in Philadelphia that is called the Youth Mediation Panels where, for the minor crimes, graffitialthough to the homeowner and businessman this is not minorwe have groups who volunteer from a district of the city to sit on a panel and review what the juvenile did and require him or her to do community work; and they keep after that.
That program has been in place since the late 1980's and been very successful.
Mr. CONYERS. How about locking up more kids?
Mr. GALLAGHER. If they step over the line and commit a very violent crime like shooting or stabbing someone, then, yes, we also have these boot camps. That started in Pennsylvania. I don't know the result of that.
Mr. CONYERS. I am talking about prisons. I am not talking about boot camps. I am talking about locking them up and treating them as adults for crimes that they might not otherwise be prosecuted if they were older.
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Mr. GALLAGHER. I won't put them in adult prisons. We have in Pennsylvania a very strong program in Lansdale, PA, that treats and incarcerates 16- to 18-year-olds, makes them get their GED's and so forth. It should not be with older prisoners.
Mr. CONYERS. Suppose we condition the money you would like to get from the Feds on you building more prisons?
Mr. GALLAGHER. Sure. I mean, there are a lot of people out in the street
Mr. CONYERS. You do what you have to do to get the money, right?
Mr. GALLAGHER. Yes, sir.
Mr. CONYERS. What do you think?
Ms. SNYDER. I think California has followed the pattern of dropping the juvenile age. I think is too early to tell whether or not it is going to have any real effect on the street. I think the mindset of these children starts at a much earlier age than anything that anybody on this panel, on either side of the desk, wants to think about.
Mr. CONYERS. What is the age now? Is it 13?
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. SNYDER. In California, it is 14.
Mr. CONYERS. You are not sure if you want to go to 13 yet?
Ms. SNYDER. I don't know that that is going to have any real effect on the street. It solves the administrative problem by taking the kid off the street and locking him up. We don't have to worry about him. Whether it has any effect only a deterrent scale, I can't speak to that.
Mr. CONYERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Conyers.
As I recognize Mr. Chabot, I would like to make sure everybody on the panel knows that the bill we have on juvenile justice is different from the gang bill, they are two different things.
The only feature involving trying juveniles as adults in the juvenile justice bill is to permit the prosecutors in your State to prosecute 15-year-olds as adults, if the 15-year-olds have committed murder, rape or assault with a firearm: That is it. Very narrow. Not 13-year-olds.
Mr. Chabot, you are recognized.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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I would like to thank all three of the witnesses for their really excellent testimony here thus far this morning. I haven't been in Congress a long, long time. It is my second term. I have to say to all three of you, this has been one of the most interesting, albeit disturbing testimony we gave heard. I think you have all done an excellent job in really painting a picture of what is happening out there, as I say, disturbing as it may be.
Ms. Snyder, a quick question. You mentioned before that a lot of these people you are dealing with look at it as a badge of honor to go to jail or to prison, so maybe that isn't the deterrent that some of us might think it would be. My question isI know in Ohio, for example, we recently went to determinate sentences from indeterminate sentences. Oftentimes, if somebody gets a 2- to 10-year sentence, that means they are going to be in jail or prison for a year or maybe even 6 months, depending on good time and all the rest. So it doesn't necessarily mean what it sounds to the public.
I think a lot of these folks are smart enough to know if they get a long sentence, maybe it doesn't mean nearly as much as it sounds like.
If we actually lock people up for a longer period of time, if a 10-year sentence meant 10 years and they were actually going to be behind bars for that period of timeor 20 years, depending on the circumstancesand if, for example, they didn't have cable TV and weightlifting equipment and all the other things which now many of our inmates have, do you think it might be a little bit more of a deterrent, maybe not in all of their minds, but in some folks' minds?
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. SNYDER. I think it would have a definite effect.
I agree with Mr. Stallworth. There seems to be an implicit age cap on gangsterism, and they lose interest or find other things to do or end up spending the rest of their lives in prison. So if you are talking about making what is a 5-year sentence into a real 10 years, I think 10 years down the line, the inmate may lose their respect on the street.
As it stands right now, there is a revolving door. Somebody may be in prison for about 2 years, and the gang members still remember and respect them after 2 years.
There is also, so that you understand, a network of support from the streets into State prison. In the California State prison system it is not unusual for members of the street gang to put money into the gang accounts of the gang members who are in prison. It is a way of showing respect that they went to prison for the gang and that the gang is going to continue to support them.
I suspect that if you continued a 5- to a 10-year period that that respect would fade with time. As a consequence, A, the citizens would be protected from that person; and, B, that person's danger level as a consequence of their respect and their need to live up to their reputation would also diminish; and the net effect would be safer streets.
Mr. CHABOT. I have only 5 minutes. I probably used up a lot. Do the other witnesses basically concur with that answer?
Mr. GALLAGHER. Yes.
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Mr. STALLWORTH. Yes.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you.
Sergeant Stallworth, you had mentioned that we are losing or we have lost whatever the war, so-to-speak, is. We keep seeingI know in my community and all across the Nation we see crime statistics coming down and saying crime is actually down in all different types of categories, with some exceptions.
How do you see your testimony, which I agree with, and those statisticsperhaps the age levels and the youth and the baby boom and where we are right now is it, but would you want to comment on what you think the discrepancy is between what you are seeing as an increase and perhaps the crime statistics which are going down?
Mr. STALLWORTH. The crime statistics may indicate a downward trend in most major categories, but if you go into the communities that are most adversely affected by this, try convincing them that crime statistics are down and, therefore, we are doing our job and you don't have to worry about it. It doesn't register.
These people who are experiencing this on a daily basisI might add in places like L.A. it is even much more concentrated than what I havethose statistics mean absolutely nothing. All it is is basically show and tell to appease a frightened and concerned public who does pay attention to those statistics. But to the people constantly being inundated with this crime issue in their homes, those statistics are really meaningless.
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So I would simply say it is a nice gauge to look at, but it is not anything we should really concentrate on to the extent that, unfortunately, we do as a society.
Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Gallagher, you mentioned the home invasion robberies. Is it accurate that oftentimes those occur where the victim is involved in some degree with drugs themselves? Not always, but is that common?
Mr. GALLAGHER. You see that, but you also see not necessarily drugs but some other activity where the gang notion that there is something in that home worth invading it for.
If I could just add one other thing. I think statistics, crime statistics, when they say crime is down 3 percent or 4 percent, doesn't meanexcuse my Frencha damned thing. Crime is not down. The only thing that I would say would be down in my chart here, there is 205 homicides in 1965. In 1996, there was 431 in Philadelphia. If we went down to 205, I would say crime was down. Get back to 1965 levels.
By the way, in 1965, we had I think 2.1 million people in the city of Philadelphia. Now we have 1.5 million. So when they say crime is down a couple percentage points or whatever, I think there really has to be a drop.
I think you have seen a drop in New York City where it is down now below a thousand when it was up over 2,000 in 1990. I think that is because there are more police on the street, and they are using them and planting them with computers.
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The statistics, you have to look at long-range. You cannot go from year to year to really see if something has made an impact.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you very much.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Gekas, you are recognized.
Mr. GEKAS. I thank the Chair.
As a matter of interest, with respect to the video that stated that WilsonI am directing this to Ms. Snyderwas convicted and received a life sentence, was he subjected to the death penalty?
Ms. SNYDER. We went to penalty phase. Mr. Garcetti designated that as a death penalty case. We went for the death penalty. The jury came back LWOP. They found his juvenile history, interestingly, wasn't sufficient to justify the death penalty.
Mr. GEKAS. That was for the murder of the witness. What was the antecedent crime about which the witness was going to testify?
Ms. SNYDER. The murder of Willie T. Bogan. The man that committed that murder was also convicted of first degree murder.
Mr. GEKAS. That was separate. Wilson carried out the murder on behalf of his pal?
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Ms. SNYDER. That is correct.
Mr. GEKAS. Mr. Gallagher, I was stunned when I saw your written testimony, getting some of the DA's words in the Philadelphia Inquirer's statements about Strawberry Mansion.
Thirty years ago I went to Strawberry Mansion as a member of the Pennsylvania Legislature on a hearing that we held there on juvenile crime, gang warfare, 30 years ago in that same section which still finds the headlines, which was a beautiful neighborhood and which has kids running around shooting each other, 30 years ago.
We thought that we had arrived at some solutions. We brought in the ministers and local school people, social groups, recreational groups; and we left there with a sense of hope that some effect was going to be had, beneficial effect on the kids so that they would no longer have to do all of these horrible things.
In that era, we had the comparison part to midnight basketball that in neocongressional circles seems to be the answerpour more money into recreational and adult-supervised activities and so forthand while that is going on, you are telling us that gangs are killing each other and committing murders, intimidating witnesses, the whole thing, and you say lack of resources.
Now here we are pouring money into midnight basketball types of things. On the other hand, we have to have these additional resources to do the law enforcement jobs, to investigate, to try to characterize witnesses properly, to try to relocate them, build new prisons as might be necessary and all of that.
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It is a question of allocation of resources. What can you tell me about Strawberry Mansion today that is different from or how is it different from 30 years ago?
Mr. GALLAGHER. Well, I know Strawberry Mansion because I used to take the bus along Ridge Avenue; and it went right through Strawberry Mansion on my way to high school back in the 1960's. I knew there was a problem then. A lot of the areas are blighted.
But there are some strong community signs in that neighborhood. There are some strong churches that have built up the community and give support.
But I am in law enforcement, and I hopefully can come up with some solutions or some suggestions. But I am in law enforcement. I have been in it for 25 years. My father was a Philadelphia policeman for 31 years. I only know, you know, the bad guy commits a crime; we have to get the evidence and convict him and put him in jail and, hopefully, change things.
I think, just to answer your question, and I think I am trying to, in prisons, you know, we can certainly have weight lifting and television, but we don't have drug programs, strong drug programs, or we don't have rehabilitation programs, or we don't teach60 percent of the people in Philadelphia jails cannot read. Some kind of requirement should be there that they learn how to read before they get out of jail.
But it all goes back to one thing, and I believe this as a parent of four children. It is what happens in the home from the time the people leaves the nursery in the hospital and that person enters kindergarten. If the structure is not there, then we are only going to be dealing with the failures time and time again that I deal with day in and day out, the people that commit murder.
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We certainly have to address those problems and deal with them and put the people who commit violent crime off the streets. But we also have to look at what we are doing and making people better parents.
Mr. GEKAS. In some ways you are confirming obliquely some of the things that I feel very strongly, that we cannot relent on putting resources into detection, imprisonment and law enforcement with respect to these youngsters that are predators. On the other hand, we must continue to try to give them a different way of life by sponsoring and helping the recreational programs and all that.
But in the allocation of resources, where we run into trouble, I still lean on the side of tougher law enforcement, which will be no surprise to any member of this panel.
Mr. CONYERS. To me.
Mr. GEKAS. I see Mr. Conyers looking very happily at me.
But, anyway, one other question I just wanted to pose to Mr. Stallworth. I had prosecuted in my time three cases having to do with gangs. One was a murder, another was attempted homicide and so forth. We broke down the casesand I have a caveat to thisbecause we were able to get members to testify against each other, to snitch on each other, statements involving one another in these things.
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I must tell you, though, this was before Escobedo and Miranda. So that we did have an easier time.
But is there any element that you notice of gang member turning on gang member within the same gang? I know they testify againstsometimes against another gang. But do they ever bring forth evidence that helps within the gang?
Mr. STALLWORTH. In my environment, we have had a few examples ofnothing that I would say is of major consequence like the cases that my colleagues here have described, but we have had examples of gang members turning against one another.
Again, usually when that has happened it is because the gang member who has turned against his comrade feels like he has been disrespected. He has been slighted. He wants to get even. And he does that. He goes against the grain to get even with that homeboy who slighted him.
So, again, when you
Mr. GEKAS. Does that help crack a case? Does that help convict?
Mr. STALLWORTH. From my perspective, anything that will help crack a case, I am all for.
Mr. GEKAS. You have some experiences of that helping to crack a case?
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Mr. STALLWORTH. Yes, but it is rare for those types of things to happen. It is not anything we can count on. You have to have someone extremely upset with his particular environment, the system, so-to-speak, before he is willing to do that, because it goes against the grain of what they are all about.
Ms. SNYDER. Actually, it does go, in large part, to what we have been talking about in terms of the legislation. It does happen with some frequency that a gang member will testify against his fellow homeboy. Usually, there is something in it for him.
The problem we have in California in our relocation program is we are prevented from relocating anybody in our State program that has any criminal culpability. Well, the saying is, if the crime is committed in hell, you ain't going to have angels for witnesses.
The bottom line is, if I can't put somebody who may be culpable in a relocated position, I won't have a case. So then you get to the dilemma of, is it worth it? In my view, it is, because I don't want to reward bad behavior. I want to reward the right thing.
If the gang member is going to come forward and testify, then we will do whatever we can to protect them. It does happen. It is not a predictable factor. It usually happens when there is some leverage involved. But it does happen intergang.
I had one gang member with a particular Blood sect who decided he didn't like the fact that women were getting killed. Now in the grand scheme of things, that is probably laudable, but what I cared about was he came forward and testified.
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I asked him in front of the grand jury. I said, you know you have a rap sheet as long as this table. Why are you testifying today? He said, I know that I am snitching, but you know the chaos has to end.
Now if that 38-year-old ex-con can articulate that kind of thing, I am hopeful there are others within the gang who will get tired of the violence and come forward; and I want to be able to help them when they do.
Mr. GEKAS. Thank you.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Hutchinson, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I thank the witnesses for their testimony today. This issue is of monumental concern in America today.
I look at South America, the problems they have had in their system in protecting judges and prosecutors. I view intimidation of witnesses and violence against witnesses as an attack against our system. We cannot survive, our judicial system cannot survive, if we do not protect our witnesses and encourage them to come forward.
We have been talking about protecting witnesses who come forward and cooperate. Has there been any success in using infiltration, planting a covert operative into a gang and getting them to develop a case and come forward?
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Ms. SNYDER. We haven't had any luck with that because you have to remember that these gangs grew up together. These kids, from the time they are little babies all the way through, they call each other cousins, they call each other friends.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. They don't like outsiders?
Ms. SNYDER. They are very suspicious of anybody from the outside. That is one of the reasons why I think title III needs to be addressed when you talk about witness intimidation.
One of the reasons why we can't infiltrate is because of the social structure the gang originates from. It emanates out of neighborhoods, and undercovers don't work.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. Real quickly on that, do you agree with that assessment?
Mr. GALLAGHER. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. You mentioned title III. Elaborate a little bit more. What is the roadblock for using title III wiretaps now?
Ms. SNYDER. Title III right now for wiretaps has several predicate crimes, one of which is not intimidation of witnesses, and yet witness intimidation is best addressed by the use of wiretaps. It is a critical tool. So as you look at the problem of witness intimidation, I would urge you to look at title III and enlarge the statutory scheme.
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Mr. HUTCHINSON. Obviously, the witness protection program is critically important. Ms. Snyder and Mr. Gallagher indicated Pennsylvania does not have a State witness protection program, California does. Does Utah?
Mr. STALLWORTH. Does Utah have a
Mr. HUTCHINSON. A State witness protection program?
Mr. STALLWORTH. Not that I am aware of.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. Are you familiar with the Federal Witness Protection Program?
Ms. SNYDER. I am. We have had great difficulty accessing the Federal Witness Protection Program because the constrictions are so enormous and, frankly, the need for L.A.'s district attorneys and for the district courts are so enormous, that they are very reluctant to take on our problem. But there needs to be an interface.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. My experience has been that many times a witness will get into the Witness Protection Program at the Federal level, be there for a year or so and not like it. He then moves and comes out of the protection program. Is that the same experience in the State protection program?
Ms. SNYDER. All the State protection offers is first and last month's rent and moving, so we don't have any of the other abilities. That is one of the reasons why there is need for an interface.
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State people can't change a witness' identity. I can't give somebody a new Social Security number. I can only pick them up lock, stock and barrel and put them in another county. So we haven't had the same fallout, because people move all the time.
But we have had problems with people returning to the neighborhood. In that sense, we have had fallout.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. The Federal program is much more comprehensive in what they can do.
Now, Ms. Snyder, you testified that gangs have infiltrated information systems
Ms. SNYDER. Yes.
Mr. HUTCHINSON [continuing]. And this is a concern. I assume from that they are able to get the information as to where a witness may be relocated. Can you elaborate on this? How has it this occurred and what can be done about it?
Ms. SNYDER. Two instances come to mind. One involved a jailhouse killing where the witness, obviously, is in a building with other jail mates. We never released that person's identity to anybody. He testified as ''grand jury witness, number one.'' He was moved out of that particular jail setting and into other jail settings, and we removed his case file from any easily accessible records. There were only hard copies of his transport papers.
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They found him. They wrote him nasty messages on his jail cell. We were able to intercept him before he went into that jail cell, but on the one occasion when he was in the company of a sheriff's sergeant, he was stabbed, and it was a warning that was heard by everybody involved in the case.
We have had cases where defendants' cousins work in and have access to court records, to State records; and they have warned other members of the family what was going to happen.
For instance, in a search warrant context, where they were going to get ready to serve a search warrant for murder, actually an arrest warrant, the defendant was forewarned by his wife, who got in touch with him in State prison and also told him who the witness was.
When it comes to infiltration, I think it is part of what Mr. Stallworth is talking about. These are not necessarily uneducated people. They are very resourceful people.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Hutchinson.
Mr. Coble, you are recognized.
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Mr. COBLE. Sergeant, I don't think anybody addressed your opening comment, but I want to go on record, as I did on the floor some weeks ago. I think the Utah Jazz probably displays more substance and class than any professional aggregation athletically known to me.
Mr. STALLWORTH. Well, I was born in Chicago. So I rooted for the Bulls, but I was proud of the Jazz.
Mr. COBLE. Well, I was rooting for the Jazz. This has nothing to do with gangs, Mr. Chairman. I was rooting for the Jazz, and maybe Malone and Stockton and Hornacek can turn the trick. As the old Brooklyn Dodger fans used to say, tell them wait until next year.
Mr. STALLWORTH. We are proud of them.
Mr. COBLE. Ms. Snyder, my friend from Arkansas stole my thunder. I was going to talk to you as well about your suggestion regarding Title III which, of course, is now a portion of title XVIII. I presume what you have in mind is seeking yet another basis for obtaining a wiretap.
Ms. SNYDER. That is correct.
Mr. COBLE. That would be your goal.
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, that may be something that we can think about as we review the findings of today's hearing.
You all may have touched on this, but I want to ask to do it again if you haven't. I would like for you all to tell us in some detail in what way gang-related witness intimidation, the change thereof, what effect these changes have had in interstate commerce, if you can address that. Either of the three or all.
Ms. SNYDER. From our standpoint, it is affected because we see gangs moving and using their family in other States.
For instance, with this particular Blood sect, they are very happy to use their family connections in Louisiana. They are using telephone lines. They are using the interstate highways. They are travelling to and from, and they are transporting narcotics and other salable goods. They are buying cars in one State and driving them to another State, so it does affect interstate commerce. And they use interstate commerce in order to communicate and in order to stash their resources.
Mr. STALLWORTH. I might add that a lot of the problems that Ms. Snyder deals with in Los Angeles County eventually finds its way to Salt Lake County. Because a lot of the familiesand she mentioned this. A lot of the families are moving away from the L.A. environment, trying to do right by their children, but, unfortunately, a lot of these kids are so ingrained within this gang mentality, this gang mindset, that they know of no other avenue in life.
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So when they leave the L.A. environment, they come to Salt Lake City. Instead of taking advantage of what we have to offer to allow for that escape, they simply start the cycle all over again; and the cancer that she has been dealing with for years is now infecting my community.
Mr. COBLE. Mr. Gallagher.
Mr. GALLAGHER. I agree. You have the drugs. The drugs are not necessarily manufactured.
In the Delaware Valley area, we have quite a bit of meth labs that cross the State lines, but the drugs come in from outside of the Delaware Valley and outside of Philadelphia. Like I indicated in the one case, we see where they moved the witness out of State, and we did not know where the witness was. We had to use the interstate pact once we found out where the witness was.
So there is some great impact upon interstate commerce.
Mr. COBLE. Here again, from the very outset, we started talking about drugs, so the trail leads us back to drugs.
Are you all familiar with any gang infiltration with law enforcement or with prison officials?
Ms. SNYDER. I don't know anecdotally on a specific case basis, but we have reason to believe that if the court system and if the police department's clerical staff, for instance, have access to the records and those are the only places where the records are, then circumstantial evidence would point to those kinds of breaches as being the source of the leaks.
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Mr. COBLE. That is what prompted my question, was your earlier comment where you said oftentimes the gang members know when a trial date may be set before you all do.
Ms. SNYDER. We know when it is, but we are trying to not use different information systems so we can limit the availability of that information.
Mr. STALLWORTH. The only knowledge I have of infiltration is the recent incident in Chicago that was so heavily reported where they discovered elements of their gang problems in the Chicago Police Department, and I am sure all of you are aware of the case of Larry Hoover that has been so widely reported. I have to ask myself how was Larry Hoover able to get away with everything he was able to do all these years unless somebody within that prison system has been compromised.
So I would say on the surface that, yes, there is some infiltration.
Mr. COBLE. That was a rhetorical question. I was afraid those were going to be the answers.
I see the red light has illuminated. I think that this has been a good hearing, Mr. Chairman. I hope we can subsequently have a good end to it.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Coble. It certainly is our intent to have a piece of legislation that is based upon this hearing. Several of the suggestions today I am sure will be used.
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Let me briefly follow up with a couple of those. Is there any Federal assistance that any of you are aware of for training or funding with regard to witness protection that California or Pennsylvania or Utah receives or takes advantage of? Are you aware of any Federal funding for training or support for the witness protection system?
Mr. STALLWORTH. I am not, sir.
Mr. GALLAGHER. No, I am not. I believe some of our sheriffs in Philadelphia transport prisoners, were able to go to a witness protection training program I think run by the Federal Government, but that was some years ago. So I am not aware of any ongoing opportunity where we can send people.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Ms. Snyder, are you aware of anything in California?
Ms. SNYDER. I am not. I am only aware of the effortsthere has been great cooperation in the multitask force arena with FBI and local agencies working together. So, to a degree, that serves as training. But in terms of a formalized training program, I am aware of none.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. There is a Federal grant program dealing with witness protection; and it is not, we find, being taken advantage of very much. So it is probably not well-known and maybe not adequately funded.
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With regard to the proposals of the administration, we only cursorily broached them today, and I just want to make sure that I am correct that all of you would support our doing these and some other things with regard to law.
One of their proposals is to establish the Federal offensive traveling in interstate foreign commerce with the intent to delay or influence the testimony of a witness in a State criminal proceeding by bribery, force, intimidation or threats or by any reasons to cause a person to destroy, alter or conceal a record document or other object with the intent of hindering the document's availability for use in such a proceeding.
I assume thatI am going to ask each of you thatthat you would support a Federal change in law in that regard. Ms. Snyder, is that true?
Ms. SNYDER. Yes.
Mr. GALLAGHER. Yes, sir.
Mr. STALLWORTH. Yes, sir.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. There are other proposalsI am going to put them together here, expanding pretrial detention eligibility for serious gang criminals, establishing enhanced conspiracy penalties for obstruction of justice offenses involving victims, witnesses, informants.
And not in the administration's bill but being discussed in the Senate is a proposal to expand the list of RICO predicate acts to include using the instrumentalities of interstate commerce to intimidate a witness.
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Some of you may have mentioned these, but I want to be sure again. Ms. Snyder, you would support changes in the law that would do those things?
Ms. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Gallagher.
Mr. GALLAGHER. Yes, sir. In fact, Mr. Conyers asked the question.
What I was alluding to is, we made a raid, we arrested people, we put them in the police wagons, and they were then informed that they were being charged federally with drug offenses and not locally. And the look on their face, because there was the pretrial detention availability federally, we don't have that in the State of Pennsylvania.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Sergeant Stallworth, you would support these changes in Federal law?
Mr. STALLWORTH. Yes, sir, I would.
I would addand maybe I am jumping the gun here, but I would add I would like to see something addressed that maybe we can use against the adult gang member who recruits the younger, the juvenile, to do his biding simply because he is a juvenile and is, therefore, not subject to the strictness of the law.
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Mr. MCCOLLUM. I just took a note of that. My staff just did. Your suggestions are all very helpful. We really appreciate them.
Mr. Conyers, do you have any followup that you would like?
Mr. CONYERS. I just wanted to elaborate, Mr. Chairman, on your question that involved the RICO predicate. What was that with reference to the RICO predicate?
Mr. MCCOLLUM. That was a provision I believe in the Senate bill, but what it is a reference to is to include instrumentalities of interstate commerce to intimidate a witness as a RICO predicate.
Mr. CONYERS. I see. OK.
Sergeant Stallworth, are you familiar with the RICO legislation federally?
Mr. STALLWORTH. Vaguely. Very vaguely.
Mr. CONYERS. Prosecutor Gallagher, what do you know about RICO?
Mr. GALLAGHER. I know quite a bit about it. We have had combined RICO investigations and prosecutions with the U.S. attorney, primarily in an organized crime basis.
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CONYERS. You want to bring that into juvenile justice prosecutions, the racketeer Federal law?
Mr. GALLAGHER. I didn't hear the beginning of your question, sir.
Mr. CONYERS. I said do you want to bring that into juvenile justice prosecution, the racketeer Federal law? That is what RICO is.
Mr. GALLAGHER. Yes, sir.
Mr. CONYERS. You do.
Mr. GALLAGHER. If the juveniles are involved in the gang and they have committed horrendous violent acts, yes, sir.
Mr. STALLWORTH. Mr. Conyers, may I make a brief statement?
Mr. CONYERS. You sure can.
Mr. STALLWORTH. OK. I think I agree with Mr. Gallagher that we need to use all the resources of the law to get some of these criminals, be they juveniles or adults, to get them off of the streets. I sincerely believe that has to be done. As a career law enforcement officer, I support that wholeheartedly.
Page 118 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But I also recognize that the strict enforcement of the law, in and of itself, does not work. For proof of that, I would offer L.A. County and Chicago, who for years have been addressing this problem, have been putting resources in it in terms of the enforcement aspect, and yet the problem has grown exponentially. That is not to say they have failed. It simply shows the magnitude of this problem.
Therefore, if we are going to get serious about addressing this issue, one of the things we must look at in conjunction with strict enforcement is programs to deal with this issue at a very early state.
I am not saying that the programs will stopwill necessarily stop what is going on, but I do believe that unless we combine enforcement with the various social programs that are necessary to deal with some of these issues, then we are really not going to make any serious dent in the problem.
I just wanted to clarify that a little bit.
Mr. CONYERS. I appreciate that getting on the record.
Prosecutor Snyder, are you against pouring money into midnight basketball type activity?
Ms. SNYDER. At the expense of enforcement, yes. But in terms of the general program, Mr. Conyers, I really believe that this problem starts at a very young age, and midnight basketball may be the answer for some of these kids. The bigger problem is societal, and I don't think midnight basketball is going to solve that.
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Mr. CONYERS. Thank you very much.
Did you work as a prosecutor with Marcia Clark?
Ms. SNYDER. No.
Mr. CONYERS. Did you work as a prosecutor with Chris Darden?
Ms. SNYDER. I only had lunch with him.
Mr. CONYERS. Now, let me ask you about this rap record business. What company put out these records that encouraged people and, in effect, snitches being killed?
Ms. SNYDER. You would have to ask Mr. Stallworth. He was the source on the translation; and, I frankly, don't remember what label it was. I only remember the producer is somebody who escorts gang members from State prison in his Rolls Royce upon their release, that he is a producer that makes lots of money, and he is a producer who other inmates contact when they need something on the street.
So my interest in the producer and the production of it was simply what the effect on my case was, and it was pretty intense. Mr. Stallworth would be the one to ask.
Mr. CONYERS. Who is the prosecutor for Los Angeles County?
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Ms. SNYDER. Gil Garcetti.
Mr. CONYERS. Do you think he might know?
Ms. SNYDER. I am sure that Mr. Garcetti would be able to find out.
Mr. CONYERS. Suppose I told you it was a record company called Sinister Records. Would that ring a bill?
Ms. SNYDER. It doesn't. I listened to it, but I didn't read it.
Mr. CONYERS. Suppose I told you that Sinister Records was once owned by Time Warner. Would that mean anything to you?
Ms. SNYDER. It would tie in with the other information that I had.
Mr. CONYERS. OK. Would you happen to know, recognize, the name of Ted Turner?
Ms. SNYDER. I would know Mr. Ted Turner.
Mr. CONYERS. You would recognize that. Would you recognize the name of Gerald Levin?
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Ms. SNYDER. Yes.
Mr. CONYERS. OK, that is good. All right. Then what about Seagrams Corp.
Ms. SNYDER. I am familiar with them.
Mr. CONYERS. I would hope so. It is a $4 billion multinational corporation in the United States. Suppose I told you that this record company, Sinister, is now owned by Interscope, which is now owned by Seagrams, which was bought from Time Warner?
Ms. SNYDER. It completely squares with every bit of knowledge I have about the Blood gang and its involvement.
Mr. CONYERS. Now that it does, does it occur to you as a prosecutor that maybe some of these people that allow this crap to get published ought to be liable for something besides making billions of dollars?
Ms. SNYDER. I am right behind you.
Mr. CONYERS. You are right behind me. Great.
What about you, Mr. Gallagher?
Page 122 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GALLAGHER. One hundred percent, sir.
Mr. CONYERS. One hundred percent.
What about you, Sergeant Stallworth?
Mr. STALLWORTH. I have been preaching for a number of years, let's stop picking on the kids and attack the executives that are controlling this.
Mr. CONYERS. How come nobody has ever mentioned that in your statements?
Ms. SNYDER. One of the things we tried to do is we tried to take the money away that the gangsters make on it through a forfeiture act.
Mr. CONYERS. But these aren't gangsters. These are American businessmen who haven't broken any law. They are just pumping out this crap, and the kids are buying it and also acting on it, and we are here worrying about the kids. But the multimillionaires that are pumping this garbage into our society, we don't even mention them. As a matter of fact, you don't even know about them. But Mr. Garcetti, I presume, does. And we would like to some day find out what in God's name is he going to do about it, besides get the little punk out on the street, the last residual one.
It is like busting kids selling dope on the corners. You can do that day and night, year in and year out. They will be replaced within 24 hours.
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The stats will go up. You will get your money forfeiture and all the records will look good. But the big guys keep on furnishing the dope, and the little guys keep on selling it to the little people that are hooked, and then the prostitutes are hooked, and guess what? The drug, quote, warnot my termkeeps going on, and we keep putting more money in it.
Your reaction, Prosecutor Snyder?
Ms. SNYDER. My reaction is that if we can attack the first amendment to the point where we can keep these kids from acting on words that are deemed to be expressions that have been challenged beforethe problem is that these kids shouldn't have receptive minds to it. The fact that these records suggest to them actions is deplorable.
The more deplorable problem, though, is that these kids want to do it, that they want to buy into it, and that is the bigger problem. They should be able to listen to anything in the world to be said but, by God, they ought to have the strength of character to know that it is trash when it is trash, and that is where we are failing.
Mr. CONYERS. Prosecutor Gallagher.
Mr. GALLAGHER. Yes, sir.
Sir, I am a homicide prosecutor. I prosecute the Pennsylvania State laws for homicide. I agree with you 100 percent.
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I just recently got cable removed from my home, because I didn't want my children to be subjected to it, and I removed it after 2 months. There has to be something done about it. I agree with you that if there was some way that we could legislate the first amendment as far as putting trash on television day in and day out, every night, and the people that make money on it, then I am 100 percent for it; and I will work on it.
What I have to do is my job is, you know, dealing with the police and dealing with the homicides that happen in Philadelphia; and it is sad. I see the failures. I see the results of this.
But the systemic problem is what are we doing, why are we allowing people to raise children that don't know what they are doing, and to allow this trash in their homes and then go out and purchase it. If the Congress can do something about that, something about what is on television every night and what is in the movies, then I think you could turn some of the culture of this country around. But it is a violent culture, and I deal with the failures of it.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Sergeant Stallworth. You have been the last one, and Mr. Conyers let you sit there like a fish dangling off the hook. You have got to respond to that.
Mr. STALLWORTH. I think there is a method to Mr. Conyers' madness.
First of all, sir, in regards to why we have not addressed this issue in our testimony, I did fax a report that I wrote about a year ago in which the point you made about the executives and so forth, I did address in that. If you read my Senate testimony from the gangster rap hearings in 1994 that Senator Moseley-Braun held, I did address that issue then, that we need to focus on the executives who are controlling this industry and making it profitable for these kids to put out these messages advocating the killing of cops and degrading women and so forth.
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In regards to the first amendment issue on this, I am a strong supporter of the first amendment issue simply because who determines what is and is not acceptable in America?
I do not like what these kids say in their music about my profession. I do not like what they say about women in general and especially aboutthe negative comments about black women. My mother was not a bitch, my mother was not a whorea ''ho.''
But in terms of stopping this message, my question always comes back, where does it end? Who makes this decision?
We are talking about a musical formwhether you agree with it being music or not is not the issue. We are talking about a form of music that originated in the inner-city black community of this country, mainly the South Bronx. We are talking about a musical style that is descriptive of the societal conditions that these people are living under.
If you take away all of the four-letter language, take away all of the graphic, explicit reference to male-female anatomy, if you get down to the bare nuts and bolts of what this music is saying, they are talking about a social condition much like the music of America during the 1960's was talking about a social condition that was going on, referring to the civil rights movement and the war in Vietnam.
So we can even go back further to the blues. The blues were talking about a social condition that many in the mainstream of this country did not like, did not abide by; and, if you recall, the blues were called the devil's music. No one today calls it the devil's music, but that is how it was looked upon then.
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My position is very simple: If gangster rap were to die tomorrow, I would not lose any sleep over it. But the fact of the matter is, it is not going to die. And if we legislate some form of death knell for it, then we are also going to have to legislate in the area of country and western music, which has messages similar to that, although not as strongly worded. We are going to have to advocate some kind of legislation against traditional rock and roll.
You recall during the rock and roll era one of the things that America was trying to address in that music was the fact that Elvis Presley wiggling his hips was going to incite boys to go out and rape women. That never happened. But that is what we were saying back then.
We don't need to fear this music. We need to understand it. We need to understand what these kids are saying and why.
In terms of the whole issue of gangs in America, what I do is try to understand the mindset, the motivations, the mentality that is governing what these kids are all about and to use that knowledge to improve my role as a gang cop and, hopefully, to better my colleagues' knowledge of what is going on in that world. So that is my position.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you.
Mr. Coble, do you have followup questions?
Mr. COBLE. No further questions.
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Mr. MCCOLLUM. I want to thank the panel very much. I think every one of you contributed immensely to our knowledge today and the depth of this.
I might add, in concluding today, that the message of this hearing is in part the message of drugs. The same music and the same people who are making money off of the messages that you are talking about, Sergeant Stallworth, are also making a lot of money off of messages that encourage drug use, which is something that is another hearing for another day. It is definitely a problem.
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, can I join in with you in thanking the witnesses?
Mr. MCCOLLUM. You certainly may.
Mr. CONYERS. I think they were excellent. I hope you would consider a letter I am sending you as chairman of the committee inviting Mr. Ted Turner, Mr. Gerald Levin, Mr. Ed Bronfman and Mr. Sam Bronfman to come in and be witnesses on the same subject matter and questions that were put to these witnesses here today.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. I will look forward to receiving your letter. We certainly will consider it.
I certainly join you in thanking Ms. Snyder, Mr. Gallagher, and Sergeant Stallworth today. It has been a very good hearing.
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This hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 12:10 p.m., the subcommittee adjourned.]
GANG-RELATED WITNESS INTIMIDATION AND RETALIATION
SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
JUNE 17, 1997
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Serial No. 31
Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois, Chairman
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr., Wisconsin
BILL McCOLLUM, Florida
GEORGE W. GEKAS, Pennsylvania
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
LAMAR SMITH, Texas
STEVEN SCHIFF, New Mexico
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
CHARLES T. CANADY, Florida
BOB INGLIS, South Carolina
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
STEPHEN E. BUYER, Indiana
SONNY BONO, California
ED BRYANT, Tennessee
Page 130 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTEVE CHABOT, Ohio
BOB BARR, Georgia
WILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
ASA HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
EDWARD A. PEASE, Indiana
CHRISTOPHER B. CANNON, Utah
JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan
PATRICIA SCHROEDER, Colorado
BARNEY FRANK, Massachusetts
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
RICK BOUCHER, Virginia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
ZOE LOFGREN, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MAXINE WATERS, California
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
STEVEN R. ROTH, New Jersey
THOMAS E. MOONEY, Chief of Staff-General Counsel
Page 131 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJULIAN EPSTEIN, Minority Staff Director
Subcommittee on Crime
BILL McCOLLUM, Florida, Chairman
STEVEN SCHIFF, New Mexico
STEPHEN E. BUYER, Indiana
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
BOB BARR, Georgia
ASA HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
GEORGE W. GEKAS, Pennsylvania
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
STEVEN R. ROTHMAN, New Jersey
PAUL J. MCNULTY, Chief Counsel
GLENN R. SCHMITT, Counsel
DANIEL J. BRYANT, Counsel
NICOLE NASON, Counsel
DAVID YASSKY, Minority Counsel
C O N T E N T S
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September 14, 1995
McCollum, Hon. Bill, a Representative in Congress from the State of Florida, and chairman, Subcommittee on Crime
Gallagher, Charles F., III, deputy district attorney, Philadelphia, PA
Snyder, Jennifer Lentz, deputy district attorney, Los Angeles County, CA
Stallworth, Sgt. Ron, gang intelligence coordinator, Utah Department of Public Safety Division of Investigations
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
Gallagher, Charles F., III, deputy district attorney, Philadelphia, PA: Prepared statement
Snyder, Jennifer Lentz, deputy district attorney, Los Angeles County, CA: Prepared statement
Stallworth, Sgt. Ron, gang intelligence coordinator, Utah Department of Public Safety Division of Investigations: Prepared statement