Two Suspected HVK Gang Members Convicted For Violating Injunction
Last summer, a judge issued an injunction against the Hidden Valley Kings in north Charlotte.
That made Mecklenburg the first county in the state to implement a new law that allows judges to order suspected gang members not to associate with each other in public, possess a gun or be near anyone carrying drugs or firearms.
Two suspected gang members have now been found guilty of violating the injunction.
Sheena Gatehouse is supervisor of the misdemeanor prosecution unit at the district attorney's office. She explains the charges against 18-year-old Dontavius Newton and 20-year-old Magi Horton.
"The defendant and the person he was alleged to have associated with were seen together," Gatehouse says. "That in and of itself is the crime. It doesn't have to be associated with another crime. Just seeing those two individuals, those two gang members together is the crime."
Because they were seen together in January, they were arrested and charged with a low-level misdemeanor for violating the injunction. Horton pleaded guilty and Newton's case went to trial in early April. Both were ordered to pay $180 in court costs and a judge said they must stay employed or go to school.
Just seeing those two individuals, those two gang members, together is the crime. - Sheena Gatehouse
Horton and Newton were among two dozen adults and teenagers identified as gang members in a lawsuit CMPD filed in August seeking an injunction to prevent them from being together. The only exceptions are school, office and church settings.
Gatehouse with the district attorney's office says she expects to see more of these criminal cases pop up.
"We're trying to prohibit these people involved in this gang who tend to have a propensity to commit other crimes from spending time together, hanging out together and being together where crimes are committed," Gatehouse says. "So it could have an impact on that particular community."
The injunction is only valid for one year – so it expires in August. The city will have to go before a judge again to continue the injunction.