Judge Declares Gang Members A Public Nuisance - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Judge Declares Gang Members A Public Nuisance

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by Emily Luxen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Nashville judge has permanently banned members of the Kurdish Pride gang from publicly associating with each other in certain parts of the city.

The ruling came after Nashville's legal department petitioned last June to have the gang and its members declared a public nuisance, and restrict them from being together within a 1.4 square mile area.

That area includes Paragon Mills Park, which Metro Police said is often a meeting place for gang members. 

Since 2007, officers said gang members have been responsible for vandalism, burglaries, and terrorizing people in the area, however, over the last few months the situation has improved.

"Just an overall reduction of them being in the area, committing crimes, and going back after they committed crimes." said Sgt. Gary Kemper with the Metro Police Department. "It's been a pleasant surprise for us." 

People who frequent the park said they have also noticed some positive changes.

"I see patrol cars drive through, and I never see anyone that looks suspicious," said Rachel Majors, who plays softball in Paragon Mills Park. "I feel safe here."

Typically, Tennessee's public nuisance law is used to shut down night clubs associated with prostitution and drugs.

This was the first time it has been used against a gang.  Sgt. Kemper said this is a new approach for everyone, but officers hope it will continue to make a difference.

"It's not over when the judge rules," said Sgt. Kemper. "We have to keep it updated and monitor crimes and the members injuncted."

In all, the injunction could affect 22 young men. Eight were ruled to be gang members, six were labeled as gang members last year, and another eight never responded to the petition. 

The last eight are also subject to the permanent injunction, but a formal order hasn't been issued yet.

Nashville has one of the largest Kurdish populations in the U.S., with an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 members.

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(The Associated Press Contributed To This Report.)

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