[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Springfield 11-10-2009 (Title 8, Ch. 8.42, of the 1986 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The City Council of the City of Springfield finds and decrees that it is the right of every person, regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age or disability, to be secure and protected from fear, intimidation and physical harm caused by the activities of violent groups and individuals. It is not the intent of this chapter to interfere with the exercise of the constitutionally protected rights of freedom of expression and association. The City Council hereby recognizes the constitutional right of every citizen to harbor and express beliefs on any lawful subject whatsoever, to lawfully associate with others who share similar beliefs, to petition lawfully constituted authority for a redress of perceived grievances and to participate in the electoral process.
The City Council of the City of Springfield finds, however, that neighborhoods, schools, businesses and residential areas within the City are being intimidated and victimized by street gangs. The City Council finds that there are now several hundred street gangs operating in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and that their intimidation and criminal activity is most widespread in urban areas, including the City of Springfield.
Street gang activity presents a clear and present danger to public order and safety and is not constitutionally protected. No society is or should be required to endure such activities without redress. Accordingly, it is the intent of the City Council, by enacting this chapter, to prohibit street-gang-related activity.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:
- As defined in § 201-5, as amended, any inscription, word, figure, painting or other defacement that is written, marked, etched, scratched, sprayed, drawn, painted, or engraved on or otherwise affixed to any surface of public or private property by any graffiti implement, to the extent that the graffiti was not authorized in advance by the owner or occupant of the property, or, despite advance authorization, is otherwise deemed a public nuisance by the Code Enforcement Commissioner.
- STREET GANG, GANG, ORGANIZED GANG or CRIMINAL GANG
- Any combination, confederation, alliance, network, conspiracy, understanding or other similar conjoining in law or in fact of three or more persons with an established hierarchy that through its membership or through the agency of any member engages in a course or pattern of activity in violation of the criminal statutes of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the ordinances of the City of Springfield. For purposes of this chapter, it shall not be necessary to show that a conspiracy, combination or conjoining of persons possesses, acknowledges or is known by any known name, insignia, flag, means of recognition, secret, signal or code, creed, belief, structure, leadership or command structure, method of operation or criminal enterprise, concentration or specialty, membership, age or other qualifications, initiation rights, geographical or territorial situs or boundary or location or other unifying mark, manner, protocol or method of expressing or indicating membership when the conspiracy's existence in law or in fact can be demonstrated by a preponderance of the competent evidence.
- STREET GANG MEMBER or GANG MEMBER
- Any person who actually and in fact belongs to a gang and any person who knowingly acts in the capacity of an agent for or accessory to or is legally accountable for or voluntarily associates himself with a course or pattern of gang-related activity in violation of the criminal statutes of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the ordinances of the City of Springfield, whether in a preparatory, executory or cover-up phase of any activity, or who knowingly performs or aids or abets such activity.
- STREET-GANG-RELATED ACTIVITY or GANG-RELATED ACTIVITY
- Any activity in violation of the criminal statutes of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the ordinances of the City of Springfield to further the goals and objectives of any gang by any person or persons with the intent to:
- A. Increase the gang's size, membership, prestige, dominance or control in any geographical area of the City of Springfield; or
- B. Provide the gang with any advantage in or any control or dominance over any criminal market sector, including, but not limited to, the manufacture, delivery or sale of controlled substances or cannabis; arson or arson-for-hire; traffic in stolen property or stolen credit cards; traffic in prostitution, obscenity or pornography; or that involves robbery, burglary or theft; or the delivery or sale of any dangerous or deadly weapon; or
- C. Exact revenge, retribution or intimidation for the gang or any member of the gang by means of intentionally or knowingly and without legal justification causing or threatening bodily harm to an individual or making or threatening physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual; or
- D. Obstruct justice or intimidate or eliminate any witness against the gang or any member of the gang; or
- E. Otherwise directly or indirectly cause any benefit, aggrandizement, gain, profit or other advantage whatsoever to or for the gang, its reputation, influence or membership; or
- F. Influence the reputation of the gang or its members by the placement of graffiti upon any public or private curbstone, flagstone, brick, sidewalk or any part of any sidewalk or any street or upon any tree, lamp post, telephone pole, utility box, utility pole, stanchion, postal mail receptacle, newspaper box, fire hydrant, fence, door, wall, window, garage or enclosure, vehicle, bridge, pier or upon any other public or private structure or building; or
- G. Further the goals and objectives of the gang by knowingly using, displaying or wearing known gang colors, emblems or their gang insignia or to make any act, utterance, gesture or display with the intent to communicate membership with, affiliation with, association with, support of, or identification with any known street gang.
No street gang member or gang member shall engage in any street-gang-related or gang-related conduct within the City of Springfield.
A conviction under § 190-3 above shall be a misdemeanor.
Any person convicted of a violation of § 190-3 above shall be fined $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second offense and $300 for third and subsequent offenses.
Each day that a violation continues shall be considered a separate offense.
In accordance with MGL c. 268, § 34A, all persons shall provide their true name to a law enforcement officer following an arrest.
No section, paragraph or provision of this chapter shall be construed to conflict with any state law, including MGL c. 265, § 44, as amended, "Coercion of [a] child under 18 into criminal conspiracy; penalties," which provides: "Whoever commits an assault and battery on a child under the age of 18 for the purpose of causing or coercing such child to join or participate in a criminal conspiracy in violation of section seven of chapter 274, including but not limited to a criminal street gang or other organization of three or more persons which has a common name, identifying sign or symbol and whose members individually or collectively engage in criminal activity, shall, for the first offense, be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than three nor more than five years or by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 1/2 years; and for a second or subsequent offense by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than five nor more than 10 years." Should it be determined that there is a conflict between this chapter and any state law, such state law shall control.