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Department of Justice Unveils New Initiative to Combat Gang Violence in Memphis
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In a groundbreaking announcement, the Department of Justice, in collaboration with various law enforcement partners, convened at the Memphis Police Department’s Real Time Crime Center to introduce a comprehensive initiative aimed at bolstering law enforcement efforts against gangs and violent groups that pose a threat to the safety and security of communities in Memphis.

Addressing the Menace of Violent Crime

Acting Assistant Attorney Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division emphasized the detrimental impact of violent crime on communities, stating, “Violent crime deprives communities of a fundamental sense of security in their own homes and neighborhoods.” The newly unveiled violent crime initiative seeks to equip law enforcement with additional tools and resources specifically tailored to investigate and prosecute violent crime, with a focus on dismantling gangs and groups causing harm in Memphis.

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Collaborative Task Force

The initiative brings together federal prosecutors from the Violent Crime and Racketeering Section, renowned for their expertise in charging federal racketeering (RICO) crimes. Additionally, it includes Assistant U.S. Attorneys already operating in Memphis, alongside dedicated investigative agents, analysts, and forensic experts from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, and Memphis Police Department.

A United Front Against Crime

Acting Assistant Attorney General Argentieri expressed confidence in the initiative’s potential impact, stating, “Through data-driven, targeted, and focused enforcement against the worst-of-the-worst violent criminals and organized groups, coupled with a strong focus on crime prevention, intervention, and reentry, I believe all of us, working together, can make an incredible difference and secure a safer future for all of Memphis.”

Mobilizing Against Gun Violence

U.S. Attorney Kevin G. Ritz for the Western District of Tennessee, recognizing the urgency of the situation, highlighted the need to bring significant resources to combat organized criminal enterprises. He emphasized the role of the additional prosecutors in building cases against gang members, trigger-pullers, and shot-callers.

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Holistic Approach to Crime Prevention

In addition to law enforcement actions, the initiative will invest in prevention and intervention strategies. The Department of Justice will collaborate with the Western District of Tennessee’s innovative Reentry Court Program and community organizations to assist offenders in reentering and reintegrating into their communities.

Community Engagement

As part of the initiative, Acting Assistant Attorney General Argentieri and U.S. Attorney Ritz engaged with community members to gain firsthand insights into the violence and gang activity affecting their neighborhoods. The collaboration between law enforcement and local communities is deemed essential for the initiative’s long-term success.

Multi-Agency Commitment

Leaders from various law enforcement agencies, including ATF Director Steven M. Dettelbach, FBI Executive Assistant Director Timothy Langan, and FBI Memphis Field Office Special Agent in Charge Douglas DePodesta, expressed their commitment to the initiative. They highlighted the importance of combining traditional investigative techniques with technological advancements to create data-driven investigations and evidence-driven prosecutions.

A Positive Step Forward

Memphis Police Department Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis expressed optimism about the initiative, stating, “This new initiative is a positive step in the right direction, fostering a sense of renewed hope for an improved quality of life for our citizens and visitors.”

In attendance at the press conference were Acting Assistant Attorney General Argentieri, U.S. Attorney Ritz, ATF Director Dettelbach, MPD Assistant Chief Shawn Jones, and FBI Special Agent in Charge DePodesta, showcasing a united front in the battle against violent crime in Memphis.

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