Tell the CA Department of Justice to respect people’s rights and dignity


No matter where you grew up or what you look like, we should all be able to move freely or meet with whomever we want without fear of police surveillance.

The California Legislature directed the CA Department of Justice (DOJ) to make gang databases more accurate at identifying gang members, but the DOJ failed to meet this mandate. Instead, the DOJ is proposing rules that would add anyone “associating” with a suspected gang member, wearing what police say is “gang style of dress,” and seen passing through a neighborhood deemed by police as a “gang location” to the statewide database.

This is wholly unfair, discriminatory, and unconstitutional.

Inclusion in the gang database is dangerous. An officer who pulls over a person and discovers their name in the gang database is likely to become more aggressive, conduct a more intrusive search, or call for gang unit backup.

Take action and call on the DOJ to rescind its discriminatory proposal and protect the rights of all Californians regardless of race, zip code, or friendships.

Message Recipients:

Shayna Rivera, CalGang Unit Manager

Thomas Bierfreund, Associate Governmental Program Analyst

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Your Message
Drop Over-Inclusive Gang Database Regulations

With regards to Title 11, Division 1, Chapter 7.5 and Title 11, Division 1, Chapter 7.6, I respectfully request that the Department of Justice drop provisions in the proposed regulations that would misidentify people wholly unconnected to gang activity as gang members, associates, or affiliates. The criteria for inclusion and rules regarding retention are over-inclusive and must be changed.

The following criteria for inclusion in the database should be removed from the regulations, because no evidence ties them to gang membership and they are over-broad: (1) the person has been seen associating with persons meeting the criteria for entry or who have previously been entered as a Gang Member into the CalGang database; (2) the person has been seen at one or more gang-related addresses or locations; and (3) the person has been seen wearing a style of dress or accessory that is tied to a specific criminal street gang. People who live, work, and socialize in areas identified by police as “gang locations” should be able to talk to whomever and dress however they want without fear that they will be unjustly added to a gang database.

The five-year retention period of gang database records should be limited to one year for those under 18 years old and two years for adults. Research consistently shows that gang membership rarely extends beyond one to two years and the majority of youth remain in a gang for less than one year. Additionally, the regulations should require two of the criteria for inclusion to reset the retention period, rather than just one. Research demonstrates that improperly labeling individuals as gang members by law enforcement prevents individuals from disengaging from criminal activity and engaging in pro-social activities.

For these reasons, I call on you to respect people’s rights and dignity and rescind discriminatory, unconstitutional rules regarding gang database inclusion.


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