Civil Order First to Crack Down on Tennessee Gangs

Reported crime during the past month within a 0.5 mile radius of Paragon Mills Park. Fists are assault crimes. Spray cans are vandalism crimes. Numbers represent multiple occurrences in an area. CrimeMapping

Metro Nashville Police officials have filed a civil lawsuit to prevent gang meetings in the South Nashville area.

The suit is meant to crack down on the Kurdish Pride Gang, which police say has been involved in vandalism, gun possession, and witness intimidation dating back to 2007.

Sergeant Gary Kemper says officers have had trouble ending gang activity, particularly in the area around Paragon Mills Park.

“Without this injunction, not a whole lot we can do about ten to twenty guys meeting, having a gang meeting. It’s not against the law to have a gang meeting. But now with this injunction, we can keep them out of this park for people to feel safe to be in here.”

This lawsuit targets two-dozen gang members, most of them Kurdish refugees, and prevents them from holding gang meetings in a specific square mile of South Nashville. This is the first such legal action in Tennessee since a law allowing it passed the legislature in 2009.

Metro Police Chief Anderson

Metro Police Chief Anderson

Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson says such lawsuits have been effective in places like California.

“It’s not new in this nation, but it is new in Tennessee, and we’re going to proceed cautiously.”

The civil order enables officers to force gang members caught meeting to appear in court. Police say if successful, they may target other gangs with similar lawsuits.

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