Dozens arrested after gang initiation in park - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Dozens arrested after gang initiation in park

A popular Memphis playground became the scene of a violent gang initiation over the weekend. Now dozens of people are behind bars. A popular Memphis playground became the scene of a violent gang initiation over the weekend. Now dozens of people are behind bars.

(WMC-TV) – A popular Memphis playground became the scene of a violent gang initiation over the weekend. Now dozens of people are behind bars.

Police say they received a complaint about gang activity at a city park. When police arrived, 32 were arrested after some of them said they were voluntarily beat up to get into a gang.

A pretty day drew a handful of children to the playground at Dalstrom Park on Weaver just off South Third.

"It's a nice place," said Michael Thomas, who lives in Westwood. "They just need to spray for bugs now, that's all."

But mere feet away, in the parking lot on Saturday afternoon, police pulled up on nearly three dozen people involved in a gang initiation.

According to an affidavit, some of them were being "jumped into" the Avalon Gang, including DeAngelo Lewis, who police say had "several injuries" to his face as a result of his initiation.

Lewis is among 24 men, 2 women, and 6 juveniles arrested on the same charges.

Police found a silver and black handgun under one of their cars. Nobody claimed it, so they charged everybody with carrying a weapon on park property.

Michael Thomas brought some young relatives to the park so they could burn some energy.

He says he's never seen gang activity at Dalstrom Park and plans to keep it that way.

"It's life, I guess," he said. "So we just try to not be around when it happens."

After a Saturday afternoon jump in, in the shadow of a popular playground, police say the gun was loaded.

Some of the people arrested have bonded out wile some remain locked up tonight.

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