New Crime Unit Finding Success In Cracking Down On Gangs In Neighborhood

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(Memphis) It's the middle of the work day and straight to the streets for a team with one sole mission - gangs.

"It's around you everyday, all day. Kids have to deal with it in their music, everything that they do," says Sgt. Michael Pierce with the Multi-Agency Gang Unit.

We know the havoc they wreak, the neighbors who live in fear, the schools that deal with their confrontations.

"This neighborhood was so infested with them. They were shooting and robbing, drug selling," says Pierce as he drives us through a neighborhood.

On this ride-along, we go deeper into the gang world with the officers who joined forces to fight them, the Multi Agency Gang Unit.

They took WREG to the hotspots for gang activity, showing us what they come face to face with everyday.

One area of the Riverview Community near downtown Memphis was so gang-infested the city set up its first No Gang Zone there.

Gang members caught loitering or gathering with other members can be arrested on the spot.

It doesn't take long to find a violator.

Thirty-one-year-old Andrew Bowie, a known gang member, is not supposed to commit any crime within the gang free zone.

He doesn't have a license to drive.

Police pull him over behind the wheel.

"If you commit any kind of crime inside the injunction area, anything inside the injunction area. It's a violation of the injunction. Injunction says you must obey the law," one officer says to Bowie.

Breaking the law means jail time.

Bowie's mother watched from nearby.

She knows her son is in a gang and has been since he was a young boy.

"Yeah he is a 90, but he don't do what these other young folk do, killing and guns. No I don't have, to worry about that. I have three and I ain't shame to tell the news. I got three in the gang. What can I do about it? What can I do about it?" says the gang member's mother.

She may not be able to control what her sons do, but this gang task force isn't cutting gang members any slack.

These round-ups can turn up just about anything.

One guy is caught with bags of weed in his car.

"It's to smoke. That's what I do is smoke it. I take it out, put in cigar and smoke it," he tells police.

He says it's for 'him' to smoke.

10.5 grams? Police think otherwise.

Around the corner, another possible gang zone violator takes off running when he sees the cops, tossing something into the trash as he makes a break.

Officers say the word is out today, MAG (Multi Agency Gang Unit) is on the streets, lay low.

And it's not just neighborhoods - gangs have laid stake in schools.

Shots were fired at one alternative school across from an apartment complex a couple of days ago.

So on this Friday as students are getting out, police are everywhere, and so is the MAG Unit.

"If they recruit your kid at 9 or 10,what is he gonna be like at 16 or 17?" asks Pierce.

"Educate yourself and educate your kids about it. We go out and do presentations, we talk to kids and we talk to adults and we talk to anybody that will listen," he says.

Kids like one 18-year-old, who has been in and out of trouble since he joined the Crips at age 13.

"What are you a member of ?" we ask him.

"Murder gang. It's a Crip Gang, a Crip Sect. It will get you in the wrong place at the wrong time," says the 18-year-old.

He already did a long stint in juvenile custody and is now a suspect in firing shots near a school.

He says he wants out, but it's not that easy.

"It's tough to get out? It's gonna be tough to get out," he says.

He shuts down when we ask him why, saying we are asking too many questions.

The MAG Unit never quits and the work is paying off.

"Since the injunction changed things, we've seen little kids back out riding their bikes. Things have quieted down that much," says Pierce.

"When they see the Police, the Multi-Agency Gang Unit, come out they are somewhat relieved, but they need to be able to see more of us," says Lt. Anthony Carter, who leads the MAG Unit.

They may see more.

There are plans to expand the No Gang Zones to other neighborhoods, giving the Multi Agency Gang Task Force more ground to cover.

Since the MAG Unit started in July of 2012, it's made 734 arrests and identified 450 new gang members.


    • Don

      I also miss the MULTI Agency Gang Unit.
      I hope this kind of policing works well for Memphis and Shelby county. Maybe all of the counties around
      Shelby would join in, Tipton, Fayette, Desoto, These gangs are mobile and get around quickly.

  • dumbwhitesnowbeastaresavages

    Good job officers as long as the regular people are not harassed. I have zero problems with strict gang enforcement because they are a plague on any conmunity

    • JoJo

      Pulls string… in CO…this white kid went crazy…but back home in Memphis a black man is shot or stabbed every single day. Only the serious victims make the news. Ask any cop or hospital worker in Memphis. or fireman.

  • Michelle

    YES that “mother” should be ashamed to have three kids in a gang!!!! How on earth could she NOT BE!?!?! She was even smiling…..

    Is it such a part of this element’s culture that they don’t see anything wrong with it unless their own child is shooting someone??? What about the drugs? The graffiti? The thefts and burglaries?? The all around bad influence of the gang members???

    Until they make jail such a horrid place to be that NO ONE would ever want to enter the doors……… then it will continue to be a joke to these losers when they get picked up and sent there. We need to put inmates to work, feed them the basic minimum, no tv, limited air conditioning/heat, etc. Right now it is more of a badge of honor to add to their sentences, it seems, than a deterrent.

    That woman just ticked me off major time. If that is the attitude of the parents of all these thugs…. then HOW can this get better??? The people who are responsible for their child’s developing morals and behavior could care less….

  • dumbwhitesnowbeastaresavages

    Those are grown men she is not responsible when they are grown.I despise gangs and any and all member of said gangs of all ethnicities period. You people running your traps aren’t gonna get off your backsides so please kindly shut up. Have you offered your mentorship to a troubled youth? Just a bunch of website loud mouth nothing people

  • dumbwhitesnowbeastaresavages

    Btw, I find hilarious you people think that inmates get anything but the bare minimum. I worked in corrections have associates still in the field and even the officers get bare minimum and starvation salaries. People you do know they aren’t paid for work. Who do you think does all the work at Shelby Farm? The internet gives any malcontent a voice. What a shame lol

  • dumbwhitesnowbeastaresavages

    Oh yes, The mother is out of line. Yes, she raised the monsters but when a man is over 18 he is grown and the parent’s aren’t responsible. So shall we blame the Colorado theater shooting on his folks? Everybody is responsible for his own actions period. Good day malcontent snow beast and snow bunnies lol

    • Steve

      You love to bring up CO. This article is about gangs in Memphis, TN.

      Face the truth. Your brothers are shooting and stabbing each other on

      a daily basis and apparently the moms and the deadbeat dads cannot

      stop it. II bet you are too smart to live in a thug filled neighborhood but
      get offended when others put down these neighborhoods.

      Memphis is a cesspool of violence and you and I know it.

    • WhiteSnowBeast be MONKEYKILLER

      Yeah. You are obviously a smart one – though we fooled you! You are right, I guess we just need to purge the whole worthless family. The momma “be just as bad as de kids”. Maybe YOU could just clean-up the area yourself, since only you seem to care about it. JUST KEEP THAT TRASH AWAY FROM US! The wind has been blowing this debris eastward for sometime now.

  • Hooligan

    what can I do about says the mother….they left out…I am fourth generation welfare queen…what can I do if the guvment keeps giving me free stuff…but take it

  • Trevon Martin

    Look people – be nice and understand. If the good negroes went to the united negro college fund, got educated, got a job – things would be good. If the good colored people went to the national association for the advancement of colored people and got a little bit, no…wait… ahem – if they got WAY MORE ADVANCED, then things would be better.

    Cancel welfare, make everyone work, pay taxes – now we are talking and everything is better.

    Can’t help but wonder how things would be if we just purged the incarcerated,… saved money on sustaining these non-essential menaces to society, free space and assets from the penal system for use elsewhere.

  • 1midtownmike

    Forced integration may have been a dream for some plagiarizing adulterous communist like Michael King but it’s been nothing but a nightmare and a burden for tax payers.

  • whitecowardsaresubhuman

    Punk sissy hiding behind a screen cowards. I think its time to do a foi request and expose these cowards by obtaining a few ip addresses.

    • Tasha

      Nawl, the puck sissies are the blacks who rob, steal and kill each other for a few dollars in the black community. You need to thank these people for getting up every morning and going to work, because of them your baby mama still get her food stamps on the first to feed your Chilean.

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