Nashville Government Seeks to Have Kurdish Pride Gang and 24 Members Collectively Declared a Public Nuisance
For the first time ever in the State of Tennessee, Nashville government on June 5th filed a civil lawsuit against a criminal street gang, Kurdish Pride (KPG), and 24 of its alleged local members asking that they collectively be declared a public nuisance and prohibited from meeting with each other anywhere inside a 1.43 square mile “safety zone” in South Nashville.
That safety zone includes Paragon Mills Park, Providence Park, neighborhoods around the parks and certain parking lots in which KPG members have been known to congregate and/or commit criminal acts. The safety zone is bounded on the east by I-24; on the south by Harding Place; on the west by Nolensville Pike; and on the north by railroad tracks.
“For the past several years, our police department has done a very good job investigating members of various gangs and convicting them in the state and federal courts,” Mayor Karl Dean said. “Many have been locked away for long periods of time.”
“At our urging, the Tennessee legislature in 2009 added criminal gang behavior to the state’s public nuisance law. Chief Anderson and I agree that we should take advantage of this relatively new tool whenever possible to further enhance the safety of neighborhoods,” Dean said.
Based on a lengthy investigation by the police department’s Gang Unit, the Metropolitan Legal Department this morning filed the lawsuit in Davidson County Criminal Court. It alleges KPG members are known to engage in vandalism, assaults, the illegal possession and discharge of guns, burglaries, witness intimidation, street robberies, conspiracy to commit murder, threatening police officers, gambling, arson and fraud. The investigation found that many of those acts take place on a regular basis in order to maintain power over the community, recruit new members, and threaten and intimidate citizens to keep silent about KPG activities.
“This court action will assist the Gang Unit and South Precinct Officers as they work with families in the Paragon Mills area to take back the neighborhood and two city parks,” Chief Steve Anderson said. “Our police department and this city will not sit idly by when gang activity threatens the peace of any community.”
Metro alleges that the KPG is entrenched in the Harding Place/Nolensville Pike corridor in South Nashville. Gang members known to meet in various locations, including the two parks, Paragon Mills Church of Christ parking lot, and the McDonald’s located at 5107 Nolensville Pike (areas that are included in the 1.43 square mile safety zone). KPG members have repeatedly vandalized areas of Paragon Mills Park and even cut down a pole camera installed by the police department in response to citizen complaints about criminal activity.
Providence Park has also been used by the KPG to plan and conduct criminal gang activities. Providence Park has also been vandalized with gang graffiti.
Metro is asking Criminal Court Judge Steve Dozier, after a 9 a.m. hearing on June 29th, to declare that the KPG and the 24 individuals constitute a public nuisance; that the 24 persons be banned from entering Paragon Mills Park and Providence Park; and that the 24 not associate with each other with the exception of school events, organized religious events and father/son/daughter relationships. The prohibitions would not apply to a gathering in a private place that is not open to the public. The city is also asking Judge Dozier to enjoin the 24 individuals named in the lawsuit from engaging in violations of the law and criminal gang behavior.
A violation of an order issued by Judge Dozier could result in an individual covered by an injunction being held in contempt of court and sanctioned with jail time and or a fine.
While this is the first gang injunction sought by Nashville government, ongoing investigations could lead to similar type civil lawsuits in the future.
KPG criminal activities have been the subject of investigations by Gang Unit detectives and other MNPD components for a number of years.
Mayor Karl Dean visited Paragon Mills Park to announce that the Kurdish Pride Gang and 24 of its alleged members are now the subjects of a public nuisance lawsuit. “The bottom line is that Nashville is a great place to live,” Dean said. “We have invested heavily over the last decade in our parks and other areas to ensure that continues to be the case. We are not about to give that up to a group of individuals whose goal is to commit crimes and recruit our youth into a dead end life.”
“Our police department will not sit idly by when a street gang threatens the peace of the Paragon Mills community or any neighborhood in Nashville,” Chief Anderson said. “We want to ensure the peace of this area. The families who live here deserve nothing less.” Behind Chief Anderson are Metro Legal Director Saul Solomon, Mayor Dean, Parks Director Tommy Lynch and Metro Councilman Chris Harmon, whose district includes the Paragon Mills area.