JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A quick glance at the gang database kept by the Mississippi Department of Corrections could lead someone who is educated on gangs to ask some questions about who’s keeping the records.
For instance, there are names of gangs in the database that are incorrect and would be spotted immediately by an informed gang investigator... like the “Four Corner Hustler Vice Lords.”
“Four Corner Hustlers are a standalone set, they fall under the same belief system to a part as Vice Lords, but they’re not Vice Lords, they’re 100% standalone,” said Jimmy Anthony, Vice President and spokesman for the Mississippi Association of Gang Investigators, or MAGI.
Anthony went on to explain that both gangs are from the People Nation, one of the two national families of gangs, but they are not the same gang and shouldn’t be classified as such.
There’s also an entry for the “Black Peace Stones.”
“Black P Stones, as in the letter 'P' stones, not ‘Peace,’ because they’re definitely not about peace,” said Anthony.
The Black P Stones have roots in Mississippi, as they were co-founded by Jeff Fort of Aberdeen in the 1960s.
The inaccuracies, as well as some redundant entries, have been in the database at least since the when the 2017 Gang Threat Assessment was released by the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security, according to MDOC records we obtained.
It’s probable that it’s been much longer, however, since the 2010 Gang Threat Assessment also references the Black Peace Stones and Four Corner Hustler Vice Lords.
Some agencies keep their own records, like the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. Major Eugene Williams tells us they don’t often use MDOC’s records, but on occasion they do reference them or call on MAGI.
“If we identify or if intelligence leads us to believe individuals are in a gang, then we would research that info a little further and develop information to definitely determine that they are in a gang and document it in our database,” said Williams.
Williams said a thorough investigation is done when they’ve got someone who is a validated gang member because not all gang members are criminals, and not all criminals are gang members. He said it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a uniform statewide gang database that can be accessed by all law enforcement.
“There needs to be a statewide database that every law enforcement is able to tap into,” he said. “The importance of knowing someone’s affiliation, the associates that are affiliated with known gang members, sometimes when you’re conducting investigations and you need to track or identify an individual for an arrest warrant or you may need to find them for something else, sometimes you can start an investigation with their associates and track back to them.”
Mississippi Bureau of Investigation told us they get their gang information from the Fusion Center and from the State Gang Coordinator, though they could not immediately name who the State Gang Coordinator is.
We have submitted a public records request to MDOC asking who oversees their extensive database.
“We had intense work by all of our law enforcement officers through the last several years, concentrating on gangs throughout the capital city and the state of Mississippi. They are a real threat, and they continue to be a threat,” said Governor Phil Bryant.