Several hundred people gathered Tuesday night in east Columbus to protest a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.
Mayor Coleman hosts anti-gang summit
Mayor Michael Coleman vows to use what he called a “heavy stick and big carrots” in the city’s continuing efforts to fight gangs. He says the city is using more covert vehicles, computer data-bases, and overtime for officers in its anti-gang fight.
“I want it known in the city of Columbus that if there’s a gang member that wants to ‘set up shop,’ he’s not only not welcome, he’s got a hard fight in the city of Columbus,” Coleman says.
Coleman likened the city’s anti-gang effort to the war on terror. He says coordination with federal law enforcement is critical in investigations and prosecutions of gang members. Fayetteville North Carolina, Lieutenant Mark Bridgeman offered some insight as to how gang members obtain guns. He offered an example outlining four unrelated gun crimes in four different Ohio cities.
“They seemingly have nothng in common,” Bridgeman says. “The truth is that they are tied toghether. What we have here is a strong purchasing ring. We have four individuals who have been purchasing guns in North carolina. If you trace these guns through the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, you’re going to find out all these guns from seemingly unrelated cases have one thing in common: North Carolina. Conicidence? There’s no such thing as coincidence in law enforcement.”
Mayor Coleman says in little more than two years the city’s anti-gang unit has confiscated 180 guns and made 210 arrests of alleged gang members.
“Let’s put it this way: this is a war on terrorism we’re going to win,” Coleman says. “We are focused on it, we have developed strategies, we’re out fighting this every day, and we’re going to continue to fight this day in and day out.”
Coleman says neighborhood groups, schools, and social service agencies are necessary to help prevent the city’s youth from getting involved in gangs.