Injunction bars NC gang members from meeting in public places

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – A New Hanover County Superior Court judge on Thursday granted a preliminary injunction against members of a Wilmington street gang which bars members from meeting up in public places. This legal action is aimed at curbing violence and other illicit activities associated with the gang.

On Nov. 6, District Attorney Ben David, in conjunction with the Wilmington Police Department, the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, and the Wilmington City Attorney’s Office, filed a civil nuisance abatement action against the Folk Nation 720 Gangster Disciples and 24 of its members.

“This injunction will ban the gang members named in this lawsuit from associating with each other in their primary areas of operation and in the entire city of Wilmington,” said David in a news release issued Thursday afternoon. “Gangs like this one have become a blight on our communities and this is simply one more way that we are trying to work together to alleviate the nuisance that they cause.”

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In addition to preventing the gang members from associating with each other, the injunction orders they refrain from:

  • Committing criminal activity
  • Driving, standing, sitting, walking, gathering or appearing anywhere in public view or any place accessible to the public, with any known member of 720 including but not limited to those members identified by name in the order
  • Confronting, intimidating, annoying, harassing, threatening, challenging, provoking, assaulting, or battering any person known to be a witness, known to be a victim or known to have complained of any criminal street gang activity
  • Possessing any firearm, imitation firearm, ammunition or deadly weapon or be in the presence of someone who does, or be in the presence of such a weapon or ammunition anywhere in public or where the public has access
  • Be in the presence of anyone possessing illegal drugs or paraphernalia
  • Recruiting, soliciting, enticing, or encouraging individuals to join or to perform any acts that will support the 720 or its members
  • Prevent any member from leaving the gang
  • Participate in the possession, use or sale of controlled substance
  • Be present on or in any private property not open to the general public with any known 720 gang member

Any defendant found in violation of the order could face three to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

The news release states that the Folk Nation 720 gang has a long history of engaging in the drug trade and perpetrating violent crimes in the Wilmington area. They operate primarily in the Creekwood and Long Leaf Park areas. The Wilmington Police Department frequently receives complaints of gunfire, fights involving large numbers of people, and assaults in these gang areas.

An affidavit, written by a criminal intelligence/gang analyst with the WPD, filed with the complaint details numerous drug sales, drive-by shootings, and other criminal activity stemming from gang activity. The document also provides new details on three murders:

  • Sept. 21, 2013: Joseph David Williams, a validated Blood member, was shot and killed while riding as a passenger on a scooter driven by another Blood member. According to the document, 720 gang members committed the shooting in retaliation to a another shooting earlier in the day on Queen Street. The next day, the homes of Deshaun Clarida and Ali Rouse (two separate homes), both validated 720 members, were shot by Blood members, authorities said. Williams’ murder is still under investigation, but the document states Clarida confessed to being involved in the murder in a phone call to an unidentified woman, who then called police. The document also says Rouse, who was later killed in August 2015, was believed to be the shooter in the murder. Shaquan Palmer is also listed as a suspect. No arrests have been made.
  • Dec. 20, 2015: Shane Simpson, a validated Blood member, was killed in a shooting that also injured several other Blood members. Tyrek Anderson (720 member), Shaquan Palmer (720 member – same as above), Deandre Nixon (720 member), and Anthony Slaughter (Folk Nation) were all arrested in connection to the incident. In an interview following his arrest, Anderson stated the shooting was in retaliation to the shooting of Deshaun Clarinda (same as above) two days prior.
  • Sept. 3, 2016: Darryl Freeman, a validated, high-ranking leader of 720, was shot in the head. He died in the hospital on Sept. 9. The incident, according to the document, appeared to have occurred during a dice/gambling game gone wrong. Members of UBN 9 Trey Billy, a rival gang, and 720 were there, including Clarida (from above). “At some point an exchange of words and disrespect were shown by members of each gang, ultimately leading to a gun fight,” the document states. No arrest has been made in Freeman’s killing.

“We have been working with the district attorney to put together and file this lawsuit in an effort to be responsive to citizen concerns,” said Police Chief Ralph Evangelous. “Law-abiding neighbors who live in Creekwood and Long Leaf Park and the other neighborhoods where these gang members hang out say violence in the neighborhoods force them to essentially be barricaded in their own homes.”

The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office also receives complaints about the same individuals as the effects of the criminal gang activities spreads throughout the county, the news release states.

“The nuisance abatement law provides a powerful tool that local communities can use to stop criminal activity for good,” said Sheriff Ed McMahon. “There is no reason for a gang to terrorize a community. We are trying to be responsive to neighbors’ concerns and are working together to get a successful and permanent solution for the community.”

Copyright 2017 WECT. All rights reserved.

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