NC gang files complaint against city cops

The Latin Kings street gang says the department’s gang unit has repeatedly harassed them

GREENSBORO — Local leaders of the Latin Kings street gang have filed a federal civil rights complaint against the Greensboro police, alleging repeated harassment by the department’s gang unit.

Jorge Cornell, the local leader of the Latin Kings, and attorneys from the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, accuse the department of violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The act prohibits discrimination based on race, color and national origin by any program that receives federal money.

They filed the complaint Saturday with the U.S. Department of Justice.

“We’ve been faced with a lot of scrutiny, a lot of police brutality, a lot of discrimination, a lot of racial profiling, which has been ridiculous,” Cornell said.

The city of Greensboro said it does not tolerate discrimination against any group of people by its employees and fully enforces the policy against it, according to a statement from City Manager Rashad Young.

The police department is working with the Human Relations Commission’s Complaint Review Committee to “aggressively” investigate all complaints of police officer misconduct, he wrote. Michael Speedling, assistant city manager for public safety, evaluates and reviews this process.

“(The) City of Greensboro will cooperate fully with any investigation from the Department of Justice, but we feel confident they will find that the behavior of the city of Greensboro and the Greensboro Police Department mimics our commitment to the equal treatment for all residents of the city,” Young wrote.

Cornell said the police began targeting his group excessively in 2008, when he announced a movement to create peace among area gangs.

The complaint says police made unlawful traffic stops and searches of gang members; made unjustified arrests; filed numerous charges that were dismissed in court; and engaged in harassment that led to the loss of jobs and homes.

Staff Writer Dioni L. Wise contributed to this report.

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