Protest calls on NYPD to release gang database they say is ruining lives
A rally took place in lower Manhattan today as some New Yorkers are demanding the NYPD release a detailed report of a controversial gang database they say is ruining lives.
A total of 120 Bronx residents were indicted as part of what the NYPD refers to as the largest gang takedown in NYC history, but some that were indicted say it was wrongfully done.
Bronx native Kraig Lewis, 24, was just a few credits away from earning his Master’s degree at Bridgeport University when he received his warrant, listing RICO and gun charges.
“It was about 4 or 5 a.m., they kicked in the door they served me my warrant,” said Lewis. “I looked at the warrant… RICO, guns; I’m in school. This can't be real."
Lewis says that he was wrongfully accused due to his race and zip code, adding that he was listed as someone present for a slew of different criminal activity, despite not being in the Bronx during that time.
Without his knowledge, Lewis says his name was listed on the NYPD’s gang database. Some lawyers say that there could be thousands of others in a similar situation to Lewis listed in that database.
“When you live in certain communities… you might know gang members, you might say hello to them, shake their hands, play basketball with them after school,” said Marva Brown, attorney at the Legal Aid Society. “But the fact of the matter is you’re not committing any crimes by association.”
The Legal Aid Society joined elected officials and the G.A.N.G.S. Coalition to demand a report of proof in Lewis’ case.
Advocates and lawyers from the Legal Aid Society say since 2017, they’ve been waiting for a report that will properly explain the NYPD’s database on gangs but say they haven’t even received an update on that information.
News 12 has reached out to the NYPD in response to this ongoing incident and whether or not they will release this report and are awaiting their response.