Minnesotans have a week left to comment on draft criteria for determining whether someone is involved in gang activity.
The Violent Crime Coordinating Council (VCCC) released a nine-point list and is seeking comments until March 25. The council will consider those submissions before finalizing the criteria for approval by the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
St. Paul Assistant Police Chief Ken Reed said newly added context is a key difference between the draft criteria and an old 10-point list that was scrapped. The old criteria had been criticized for being simplistic and biased.
"The previous ones were just the 10 criteria," said Reed, VCCC co-chair.
"Boom, boom, boom, with no context with it. We wanted to provide context, definitions."
According to the draft, a "confirmed gang member" is someone over 14 who has been adjudicated or convicted of a gross misdemeanor or felony narcotics or crimes-against-persons offenses, and who meets at least three of these nine criteria:
•Admits gang membership.
•Is arrested with a confirmed gang member.
•Displays a gang tattoo or brand.
•Wears clothing or symbols to identify with a gang.
•Appears in a photograph or image with a confirmed gang member engaging in gang-related activity or displaying gang signs or symbols.
•Name appears on a gang roster.
•Is identified as a gang member by a reliable source.
•Is regularly observed or corresponds with confirmed gang member.
•Produces gang-specific writing or gang graffiti on walls, books, etc.
Each of the listed points includes additional sub-guidelines that Reed said will help prevent authorities from casting too broad a net. The complete draft is available at www.startribune.com/a1137.
Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708 Twitter: @ChaoStrib