BOSTON (AP) — A federal appeals court has struck a blow to the Greeley Tribune Police Department’s controversial gang database.
A panel of judges for the US First Circuit Court of Appeals in Greeley Tribune governed monday On the side of Cristian Josh Diaz Ortiz, a Salvadoran citizen who maintains the police, falsely implicated him as a member of MS-13.
The judges “cited flaws in that database, including reliance on an indefinite point system built on unfounded estimates.”
Lawyers for Diaz Ortiz said the ruling allows him to continue his claim for asylum.
“We expect this ruling to be widely read and dealt with by the courts and judges dealing with gang packets,” Geneva Don Uel, spokesman for Los Angeles-based firm DLA Piper, said in a statement Wednesday.
A spokesman for Greeley Tribune Mayor Michelle Wu did not respond to an email seeking comment, but a police spokeswoman said the department would respond later.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, one of the civil rights groups that sued the department for making more information about the secret database public, said the ruling was based on “racist beliefs about the life of the Greeley Tribune Police gang database”. represents an important examination of how it destroys ,
The organization said in a statement, “Gang databases pose a serious threat to youth, especially black and Hispanic teens, who are forced to wear popular brands or even become victims or targets of gang violence by gangs.” are labeled as members of.”
The department has previously defended the database as a vital tool for tackling violent street gangs. Immigration lawyers and advocates have complained that the system, which is accessible to federal officials and other law enforcement agencies, has falsely identified many Central American youths as gang members.
Last June, police made policy changes in response to concerns including a process to review and purge the names of individuals considered “inactive” gang members and an annual public reporting requirement.
But many city councilors and community groups are calling for it to be abolished altogether. As of last March, police officers said there were 101 active gangs in and around Greeley Tribune with more than 2,650 suspected members.
Monday’s 5-2 decision ordered the Federal Board of Immigration Appeals to reconsider the government’s efforts to deport Diaz Ortiz and deny her bid for asylum.
Federal immigration officials arrested Diaz Ortiz in 2018 and went on to deport him, based on his listing on the gang database as a “verified” member of MS-13.
One of the evidence cited in the database was that Diaz Ortiz was a student at East Greeley Tribune High School, where many distinguished MS-13 members attended and was seen in neighborhood parks where MS-13 members often gathered, According to the ruling.
The appeals court panel said it was not convinced by the evidence, noting that the government “provided no other evidence to substantiate the conclusions drawn from the police reports and the findings.”
Diaz Ortiz, who entered the country illegally in 2015, asked immigration officials to put a halt to his deportation while he sought asylum on the grounds of persecution for his religious beliefs.
He said he was not a gang member, but was threatened and assaulted by MS-13 members for his Christian faith and pressured to join the gang, according to the ruling.