Group brings back gang hotline as violence increases

(WMC-TV) – A brutal gang attack caught on camera prompted city officials to bring a gang hotline back to Memphis.

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is joining the fight against gang crime by providing the community with the necessary resources to prevent it.

Adarius Green and Timothy Lee Taylor, both 17, are both booked in jail and are charged as adults.

The two are accused in the brutal attack of another teen who wanted to leave their street gang. The attack on 16-year-old Octavius Thompson was captured on camera and posted online.

The two teens are accused of beating, kicking, and stomping on Thompson, even after he lost consciousness.

"It's really horrific and they did it with such viciousness and evil," said Herb Jackson, SCLC Memphis. "Recently because of the escalation of crime of the Montero Park Apartments, we decided to reenact a gang hotline which we actually had in place back in 2008. Of course at that time within a three day span we had 200 plus children call asking how they can get out of gangs and how we can help."

The hotline is called Operation Take Back.

"We will walk individuals through the steps on how they can get out of the gangs and partner them with the necessary social agencies to provide them services they need, behavioral, mental health, or whatever the case might be," said Jackson.

Even though the program was first implemented years ago, it was later discontinued when funding ran out.

Jackson hopes that by bringing the program back, the community will get the help it needs in dealing with what has become a growing problem.

"If we don't invest in these children now, we will pay a price for it later," he said.

You can reach the SCLC's Gang Hotline by calling 901-494-7550. The hotline is open on Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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