Motion filed to make gang injunctions unconstitutional

Motion filed to make gang injunctions unconstitutional

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A motion has been filed to declare Shelby County's Gang Injunction zones as unconstitutional, and some Memphis residents are concerned about what this could mean about crime in their neighborhoods.

A gang injunction "safety zone" was declared for the area just North of the city's Medical District back in 2014.

Since then, many residents said the area has transformed from gang ridden area to a livable mostly peaceful area.

"It has gotten 80 percent better," one resident said.

The injunction is enforced by the Multi Agency Gang Unit against the Dixie Homes Murda Gang and 47 Neighborhood Crips, but this transformation could turn back.

Police arrested Earnest Williams, 27, for violating the gang injunction. Williams was arrested for standing on a porch and reportedly associating with other known gang members.

His attorney, Assistant Public Defender Barbara Sidelnik, is asserting the safety zones are unconstitutional.

The "motion to dismiss" points out the safety zone infringes on constitutional rights and keeps citizens from doing basic actions in public view, like even "talking at the dining table in their own homes any time their dining table is visible from the street."

In Williams' case, the same injunction would keep him from even speaking to his brother, who is also named.

"They want to talk to you crazy, rob you when you are coming in, we have the right to have an area that is gang free," one neighbor said.

Neighbors who felt liberated when the gangs were banned from their block worry this could be a step in the wrong direction.

The Shelby County Dictrict Attoney's Office said prosecutors are filing their own motion in court, expected to take place on April 5.

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