Michele McPhee is required reading: Pushing back against the mainstream narrative of the ‘gang database’


[Editor’s note: No stranger to East Boston, Michele McPhee, investigative reporter and author, offers a much-need corrective to current thinking on the BRIC’s ‘gang database.” There’s more to the story than you are being told.]

From Live Boston 617:

“Gang Database is the Protection At-Risk Students and Bostonians Need to Curb Violence”


“Then there are the 16, yup, 16, reports by Boston Police and School Safety officials that put Dias in the company of MS members. Smoking pot in school alley with another teen in the database for an association with MS-13. Skipping school to smoke weed in a city park with MS associated teens, including one who had a baseball bat down his pants. He was spotted at a destroyer house. Small-time stuff, none of it leading to criminal charges, but noted in the gang database. 

But Dias Ortiz supporters on the First Circuit ruling points out that Evangelical Christians are not allowed to join MS-13. And the gang database is flawed. So, Dias Ortiz will now get a new immigration hearing. The court wrote: “there is a patent disconnect between Dias Ortiz’s conduct as described in the database and any threatening ‘gang-like’ activities. None of the reports support an inference that he had participated in any criminal activity at all, never mind the kinds of violent crimes for which MS-13 is famous for.” 

True. But I can’t help but remember a similar argument involving the ACLU, which cited the case of Henri Salvador Gutierrez as an example of a teen unfairly labeled by the BPD database in a its lawsuit against the department, and in a personal war of words with former Boston Police Commissioner Willie Gross. In the suit, the ACLU argued that Gutierrez’s tattoo – 503 – known MS ink, was just to show pride in his homeland of El Salvador. That wearing blue and white, MS colors (at least they were then) were to honor his favorite soccer team. Oh, and that big knife he carried to school? That was to chop wood for cooking with his mom after school. “

Read the whole post at https://liveboston617.org/2022/01/14/gang-database-is-the-protection-at-risk-students-and-bostonians-need-to-curb-violence/