WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Wilmington City Council will consider an ordinance banning gang members from parks Tuesday.
On Monday, council members debated the topic at their agenda briefing. Some council members were skeptical of the process because they said they felt it could lead to profiling.
Bill Wolak, Wilmington city attorney, said that the local jurisdiction would be the first in the state to ban gang members from the park.
Ralph Evangelous, Wilmington Police Chief, said that police have to officially validate individuals as gang members under a state statute before taking action against them in a public park. He said ruling individuals as gang members takes a lot of time, but is worth it to keep them away from innocent children.
"Kids should be able to go to parks and play and not worry about gang members being there," said Evangelous.
He said that public parks have become a spot where gang members congregate.
"We had gang shootings in parks. We've had multiple shooting in parks," said Evangelous.
The police chief said that banning gang members from parks would be a good preventative measure to take against crime.
"This will allow us to respond before the crime occurs and hopefully stop it from occurring," explained the chief.
The ordinance to ban gangs from parks will be discussed by council members during their meeting Tuesday.
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