So Not a Surprise

Are you surprised? I’m not:

In the lead-up to this year’s legislative session in Mississippi, supporters of a tougher gang law in the state talked a lot about the need to arrest white people. But in an ironic twist, the Jackson Free Press has learned that everyone arrested under the existing gang law from 2010 through 2017 were African American.

Over the last year, members of the Mississippi Association of Gang Investigators worked to spread the message that not all gang members in Mississippi are African American, Hispanic or another ethnicity. In fact, they warned, many of the state’s toughest gang members are now white, between the growing Simon City Royals, white supremacist groups like the Aryan Brotherhood, and biker “clubs” such as the violent Bandidos, started by a white Marine in Texas in 1966 who would later be convicted of murder.

In August 2017, MAGI told The Clarion-Ledger that 53 percent of verified gang members, a number presumably pulled from the dozens of identified criminal groups in the state, are white. It is a potentially surprising statistic in the state with the highest proportion of African Americans in the nation and that experiences a large amount of media coverage of its black and Hispanic gangs.


It is not talked about a lot in the push for an expanded gang law, but Mississippi already has a gang law on the books. The Mississippi Streetgang Act, passed in 2001, targets “three (3) or more persons with an established hierarchy that, through its membership or through the agency of any member, engages in felonious criminal activity.” That is, much like the FBI does with the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, called RICO, the State can go after a group that conspires together to commit a criminal act. That is different from making it illegal to be part of a gang and thus being held responsible for crimes other members might commit separately, as the failed gang law this session could have done.

But despite MAGI frequently warning that white gang members pose a strong threat in today’s Mississippi, the arrests and prosecutions under the existing street-gang law have only targeted African Americans, State Public Defender Andre de Gruy pointed out to the Jackson Free Press after the expanded gang law failed this session.

The Administrative Office of the Courts confirmed that from fiscal-year 2010 through 2017, court disposition data show that 97 people were processed under current gang law. All of them were black.

(emphasis mine)

The existing law is being used to racially profile, and notwithstanding the protestations of politicians and law enforcement, so would the new one.

What’s more they cannot help but to know this, it is their job, and their constituents cannot help but have a general idea about this, but locking up black people wins votes (NOT just in Mississippi), so more laws target black people.

Rinse, lather, repeat.

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