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Charlotte Talks: Recap of Student Assignment Vote; Charlotte Area's Gang Problem

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David T. Foster, III / The Charlotte Observer
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Thursday, May 25, 2017

A recap of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools student assignment vote, then a look at Charlotte's gangs. After last week's massive roundup, Mike Collins talks with Charlotte's top federal prosecutor and others about gang activity in the region.

PART ONE

After two years of work, and some last-minute tweaks, the student assignment revamp goes before the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board Tuesday for a vote. WFAE reporters Lisa Worf and Gwendolyn Glenn, who have been following the student assignment debate, will be covering Tuesday's meeting. They'll have an update on the board's vote, and what parents had to say.

GUESTS

Gwendolyn Glenn and Lisa Worf, WFAE News (@GG_on_the_air, @LisaWFAE)

PART TWO

Van loads of suspected gang members pulled up to Charlotte’s federal courthouse last week, putting the spotlight once again on the presence of gangs in the area. Dozens of alleged members of the United Blood Nation gang were arrested in North Carolina’s largest-ever gang sweep.

A sweeping federal indictment outlined the extent of the group’s alleged activity, from murders to robberies, as well as the breadth of the gang’s presence, from Charlotte to small towns, such as Concord and Shelby.

The gang has turned into one of the largest in the area, and was behind a crime that shocked the community: the 2014 slaying of a Lake Wylie couple in order to silence their testimony against gang members in a robbery case. A federal judge, just three weeks ago, threw the book at two gang members who planned and carried out the killings.

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Credit David T. Foster, III / The Charlotte Observer
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U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose speaks with reporters about the United Blood Nation roundup.

Charlotte’s US Attorney, Jill Westmoreland Rose, said the United Blood Nation crackdown was meant to be a shot fired across the bow of other gangs, and warned the Trump administration had unleashed law enforcement to go after them.

United Blood Nation is hardly the city’s first experience with gangs. Dozens of MS-13 members were rounded up almost two years to the date before the United Blood Nation arrests. Law enforcement also spent decades working to dismantle the Hidden Valley Kings.

Jill Westmoreland Rose joins Mike Collins, as well as a CMPD gang detective and a gang researcher, for an in-depth look at Charlotte's gangs. Who and where are they? Where did they come from, and why did they come here?

GUESTS

Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney, Western District of North Carolina

Det. Mike Nguyen, gang prevention officer, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department

Shannon Reid, associate professor, criminal justice and criminology, UNC Charlotte