Gangs, police and attorneys face off in court over Pinkston safety zones

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CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – A packed courtroom is waiting to hear the District Attorney General’s arguments for declaring a pair of local gangs as a public nuisance.

If the judge agrees, Neal Pinkston could then ban member of the Gangster Disciples and Grape Street Crips from designated safety zones around the city.

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But the alleged gang members are not giving in without a fight.

Several are in Judge Barry Steelman’s courtroom, some in custody on prior charges, to oppose the anti-gang action.

gang members in court

In fact, most of the court action so far has been over how to represent them.

The question has been how many of the validated gang members have been notified of the process, and how can they get legal representation.

Also today, Chattanooga police investigator Curtis Penny testified on how the city validates members.

He says there around between 100-200 members of the Gangster Disciples, the more organized gang.

And there are between 10-15 Grape Street Crips.

News 12 Now’s Erik Avanier will have a full wrap up of the day in court coming up tonight at 6:00.

gang safety zone hearing