06-23-2018  7:12 am      •     
The Skanner Report
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

State Supreme Court won't hear Sweet Cakes by Melissa appeal

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Supreme Court has declined to consider the case of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, the now-defunct bakery that refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in 2013 based on the bakers' religious objections.The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Friday the Supreme...

No longer behind a mask, Eugene umpire is being recognized

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — After 31 years behind the plate as an MLB umpire, Dale Scott knows how to recognize a strike.Throwing one is, uh, another matter.When the Los Angeles Dodgers asked Scott to throw a ceremonial first pitch earlier this month, he was honored of course, but also a little...

Online sellers consider how to comply with sales tax ruling

NEW YORK (AP) — While a Supreme Court ruling on sales taxes will create more obligations and expenses for many small online retailers, owners are already thinking about how they'll comply.The decision allows states to require out-of-state businesses to collect sales tax from customers in...

Evacuation orders lifted in wildfire near Vantage

VANTAGE, Wash. (AP) — Evacuation notices have been lifted for residents in about 30 homes as a wildfire burning in central Washington reaches 50 percent containment.The Yakima Herald-Republic reports fire crews were hoping to fully contain the fire near Vantage and the Columbia River by...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Chaos on the border inflames GOP's split with Latinos

When more than 1,000 Latino officials __ a crop of up-and-coming representatives from a fast-growing demographic __ gathered in Phoenix last week, no one from the Trump administration was there to greet them.It marked the first time a presidential administration skipped the annual conference of the...

Racist tropes in Ramadan TV satires anger black Arabs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In an attempt to capitalize on what's become a ratings bonanza for Arabic satellite channels during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, two comedies struck the wrong chord with audiences when their lead actors appeared in blackface, a form of makeup that...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...

ENTERTAINMENT

So much TV, so little summer: Amy Adams, Kevin Hart, Dr. Pol

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The fall television season is months away but that's no reason to stare moodily at a blank screen. In this era of peak TV, there are so many outlets and shows clamoring for your summertime attention that it can be as daunting as choosing between a mojito and a frozen...

Honduran girl in symbolic photo not separated from mother

NEW YORK (AP) — A crying Honduran girl depicted in a widely-seen photograph that became a symbol for many of President Donald Trump's immigration policies was not actually separated from her mother, U.S. government officials said on Friday.Time magazine used an image of the girl, by Getty...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

MOSCOW (AP) — Wrapped in national flags, jubilant fans dance at midnight in the streets of Moscow, smiling,...

Ex-S. Korean premier Kim Jong-pil, spy agency founder, dies

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Kim Jong-pil, the founder of South Korea's spy agency whose political skills...

AP FACT CHECK: Trump's skewed claims on immigration, economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is distorting the truth when it comes to the impact of his...

The Latest: Malta tells aid boat with migrants to go away

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on immigration issues in Europe (all times local):3:45 p.m.Malta's premier is...

Vatican convicts ex-diplomat of child porn distribution

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican tribunal on Saturday convicted a former Holy See diplomat and sentenced him...

Trump pushes back against border separation uproar

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump tried to cast doubt Friday on wrenching tales of migrant children...

Gresham MAX stop
By Donovan M. Smith | The Skanner News

 

Have you ever wondered it means when officials describe a crime as “gang-related”?

The Skanner News spoke to Lt. Claudio Grandjean, the public information officer for the Gresham Police -- a department seeing major upticks in violence in the face of massive economic and demographic shifts – to get a handle on when police choose to use the phrase and why.

The Skanner News: When do you say something is “gang-related,” “possibly gang-related,” versus not saying it at all?

Lt. Claudio Grandjean: That can change. We can go to the scene and we don’t know if it’s gang-related. We just know two people shot each other. At that point we wouldn’t say anything. And we might change that once we find out.

So in other words, we just arrived to the scene where somebody shot somebody. A lot of times if it’s a gang-affected area, that question will come up right away, and we’ll say, “Well, we don’t know.” Then once we’ve identified the victim, or the shooter -- if one of those people’s a documented gang member -- we’ll say it’s gang-related and the reason for that is, quite simply, the question people want answered is, “Is this happening because of gangs?” and a lot of times the answer is yes.

You get into something that’s more ambiguous [with the term “gang-related”], to be honest.

There’s no criteria, the same way there’s criteria for [what a documented] gang member would be.

TSN: What’s the difference between being “gang-involved” and “gang membership”?

Grandjean: For example, I could be kind of on the verge, not quite sure — [but] all my friends are gang members, and I’m kind of doing what they’re doing, but not really. That’s a “gang-involved” kid. That’s a kid that’s making decisions based on the gang, but he’s not necessarily a gang member. In fact, those are the kids you really want to identify because that’s the ones that early intervention really can help.

You and I get in an argument we say, ‘’Hey, what’s the problem here?” and we sit down and we talk about it. Violent gang members get in an argument and they decide to shoot each other.

TSN: So for example, two kids who are gang-involved get into some kind of conflict — not necessarily even a shooting — and media get a press release. Will that be categorized as “gang-related” to the media?

Grandjean: Designating a crime as “gang-related” is problematic. And I guess I would tend to say no, unless they were fighting for the gang.

Obviously, you don’t want that to happen, but there’s a whole different conclusion to that than people firing guns at each other.

If they have guns or knives, we’re going to report that as gang-related, because that escalation is related to the gang. If they’re just fighting, everybody’s been doing that forever.

TSN: There really isn’t the leadership structure that gangs had in the past. So does that change how you’d identify one? Because these could be kids who are joining together and not necessarily be a gang in what we would think of traditionally.

Grandjean: Right. They don’t have the roots and an OG who’s sort of pulling the strings. I get that.

And again, there’s a legal definition for purposes of documentation. If they are all coming together for the purposes of furthering criminal activity, whether it be, “Hey, let’s be the only ones selling drugs in this area, we’ll intimidate everyone else out of  here,” and that’s their thing -- even if they’re a bunch of kids getting together and they’re calling themselves whatever -- that’s a gang by legal definition.

But agreed, it doesn’t have the same top down structure that a lot of these traditional gangs do. And I suppose, part of that is the gangs aren’t as embedded here in terms of over generations as they are in Southern California.

TSN: How big a factor is race when incorporating “gang-related” into media releases?

Grandjean: Oftentimes, the information we put out is in response to media inquiries.

So, for example -- a white guy shot on NW 7th  versus a Black kid shot on 195th and Burnside, I guarantee I get asked [if it’s gang-related for the latter].  So I’m responding to what I’m being asked.

When somebody dies, our goal is to find who did it and get some justice for the family. It makes no difference to us what color the dead person is.

To be honest with you, the less information we put out in the early parts of an investigation the better it is for us.

But we have a duty to inform the public of what’s going on.

TSN: So maybe in some capacity, it would be better for media to do what I’m doing -- getting a better understanding of what gang-related even means.

Grandjean: I think you’re absolutely right.

For example: [if we haven’t gathered all the facts] but our Gang Team knows [there’s a high probability] gangs were involved, and I don’t say, “gang-related,” the public looks at that like why are you hiding that? So, then we kind of get criticized on that side.

On the other side, if we jump and say it’s gang-related just because it’s two Black kids that could seem racist. Because maybe it’s not gang-related. Maybe it’s just a kid who happens to have a gun.

It’s really a fine line to walk, and a difficult one to balance.

TSN: How has the face of gang activity changed in the Gresham area over the years?

Grandjean: Sometime in the early ‘90s, we started seeing our gang activity. There were a lot more Latino gangs; there were some hardcore OGs that had come up from Southern California during that time.

We saw what was happening in Portland, happening in our city, and said, “OK, the gangs are coming.”

The Black gangs were mostly in North and Northeast Portland. They have moved out this way for whatever reason, I’m not a sociologist. I don’t know why people moved.

Gangs the way they’ve evolved in the metro area in Portland and Gresham in particular, it’s not as turf-centered. They float around from area to area. We’ve had apartment complexes where there’s rival gang members living in the same complex, which just doesn’t happen in California.

It seems now, the source of income for so many gang members is running prostitution and that doesn’t necessarily have a turf, but it could.

A lot of times here a gang shooting isn’t over turf. In fact it rarely is, I can’t remember the last time I heard of one of those.

I’ll tell you that now when I talk to our Gang Enforcement Team, we have people that work nothing but Black gangs, people that do nothing but Latino gangs, and people who do nothing but the White Supremacist gangs—there’s plenty of work for all.

We’re certainly getting more early-intervention support than what we used to, which is good.

[But] that’s not really what we do, as the police, we kind of just identify them and direct the resources to where they need to go.

Carpentry Professionals
Portland Community Policing
Calendar

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events

Lents International Farmers Market
The Skanner Report

The Skanner Foundation Scholarships