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Chief Monroe: Injunction against gang would not lead to profiling

By Glenn Burkins
QCityMetro.com

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe said a proposed civil injunction against the Hidden Valley Kings would not lead officers to profile young black males in the north Charlotte community.

If a judge this week approves the injunction, Monroe said, officers assigned to Hidden Valley would focus on “activities” associated with the gang and not on law-abiding residents.

“We’re very mindful of those things,” he told Qcitymetro.com in an exclusive interview. “We’re not looking to say that if you’re at a family picnic that we’re going to come into that picnic and say, ‘Why are you here with that person?’ That’s not what it’s intended to do.”

Racial profiling has become a hot-button issue in light of the Trayvon Martin case and New York City’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy, which has been used by the New York Police Department to stop and search a disproportionate number of black and Latino males. A federal judge earlier this month ruled the policy unconstitutional.

In an Aug. 15 memo to Charlotte City Council, Monroe said CMPD does not have a policy that allows officers to randomly stop or frisk individuals.

“CMPD policy specifically states the requirement of reasonable suspicion for a stop and then a frisk,” the memo stated. “CMPD does not have a 'stop and frisk' policy because they are mutually exclusive and require separate justification in order to be a valid/legal stop and then a valid/legal frisk.”

Monroe said the proposed injunction against the Hidden Valley Kings currently would apply to 23 individuals known to associate with the gang. Other names could be added as circumstances dictate, he said.

The injunction would prohibit known members of the Hidden Valley Kings from congregating in certain public places. It also would give police authority to approach those who violate the court order.

In announcing plans to seek the injunction, Monroe said last week that his department was motivated by indications that the gang is making a comeback after years of police pressure to arrest its leaders and dismantle the organization.

Monroe said a key part of the proposed injunction would allow officers to intervene when they see older gang members associating with younger people in the community.

“That’s not to say that anybody is going to get arrested,” he said. “It’s not something we’re using to go out and lock people up but to have those conversations, talking about what will and will not be tolerated within that community.”

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