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Teens Remain the Target of “Operation Crew Cut” Raids

Tuesday Feb 28th, on Criminal Investigations |

Aggressive efforts to fight crime can often result in undesirable outcomes when a misguided attempt to bolster law and order ends up terrifying families and communities.  Unfortunately, from stop-and-frisk to Operation Crew Cut, there are many crime-fighting initiatives in New York that have questionable benefits in light of the serious detriments that these programs present. Albany criminal defense attorneys help defendants who are caught up in police efforts to be tough on crime, so you should give us a call as soon as possible if you or your loved one is arrested.

Operation Crew Cut, in particular, is one current program that may be unjustly targeting teens and sweeping up many young people, especially minorities and low-income teens.

How Operation Crew Cut is Resulting in the Arrests of Teens

Juvenile Justice explains the impact that Operation Crew Cut is having on communities and families. Operation Crew Cut was started back in 2012. The stated goal was to address problems of “crews,” which are a less formalized and less organized alternative to traditional gangs. Authorities claim these “crews” have been blossoming in housing projects and poorer neighborhoods and they are formed based on allegiance to geographic location, rather than primarily for economic purposes like dealing drugs.

Police organize raids to target “crews,” often arresting large numbers of teenagers who are African American or Hispanic and who live in these low-income neighborhoods and homes.  After the program was first started in 2013, 63 members of a “crew” from an East Harlem Housing project were indicted and many were charged with crimes that could result in 25-years or life imprisonment.  The next year, another 103 people were arrested as part of a raid, this time in West Harlem.

Communities are speaking out about the terror of the raids, with many arguing that the accused young people are not in gangs, even if police claim they are.  Some residents of the affected neighborhoods and housing projects claim that even innocent young people get caught in an “unjustly wide net” and then charged with conspiracy to commit offenses under RICO.  Even those who may have done something wrong at some point often committed only minor offenses, like selling marijuana, but face severe penalties under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

Opponents of Operation Crew Cut also believe that the operation is just a “a new way to go after black and Latino young men once the city was forced by courts to end its controversial and unconstitutional “stop-and-frisk” practices.” 

Those in favor, however, argue that rates of certain crimes such as assault have fallen since the operations began. Even if this is true, however, it may not justify the aggressive actions being taken or the fact that the operations seem to impact a significantly greater number of people from minority groups.

If you or your children are the target of any police investigation, you must know your rights and do everything possible to protect yourself. The Law Office of James E. Tyner, PLLC can help. Give us a call today to find out about the assistance we offer.

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