Press conference video: http://youtu.be/ksvnXraTYh0
Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes and New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly announced Dec. 12 the takedown of 41 members of the TBO (True Bosses Only aka Team Bang Out) Gang, who terrorized the streets of Bushwick. The gang members were indicted on charges including Murder in the Second Degree, Attempted Murder in the Second Degree, Conspiracy in the First Degree, Conspiracy in the Second Degree, Conspiracy in the Third Degree, Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, Robbery in the First Degree, Assault in the First Degree, Burglary in the Second Degree, Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, and other charges.
Police Commissioner Kelly said, "Once again we have young gang members using social media to boast about murder and mayhem, and once again we have New York City Police officers 'friending' them to help end the violence. When young men plot to take their battles from tweets to the streets, the NYPD wants to be there to stop the bloodshed. The attention is paying off."
District Attorney Hynes said, "Gang violence is on the rise. The TBO Gang brought fear to the people of Bushwick, roaming the streets, committing violent crimes. This particular 'street crew' is unique, in a way that we have not seen before, in regards to how organized their hierarchy is. We have to take down these gangs and street crews in the early stages before they become organized and more dangerous. This takedown is yet another reminder to gangs that if you continue your illegal activities, it is not a question of whether you are going to get caught, but when you will get caught. I would like to thank Police Commissioner Kelly and the NYPD for their help in shutting down this gang and protecting the residents of Bushwick."
After, a year-long investigation, the 41 gang members were indicted and charged with committing a murder, attempted murders and numerous armed robberies and assaults in Bushwick between November 2010 and September 2012.
The gang was created in 2003 and grew significantly over the years in size, recruiting new members, forming alliances with other gangs, such as Hoodstarz and Brower Boys, and expanding their territory into Coney Island and Brownsville. As TBO grew in size, the gang created subsets, 730 Krookz and RGz, with members as young as 12-years-old who had to commit crimes to earn promotions into the gang. The TBO Gang became so confident that they brazenly roamed the streets of Bushwick, openly carrying guns.
This indictment charges the TBO gang with the murder of Derrick Bethea. On May 28, 2011, several TBO members searched for Bethea, a rival gang members, in retaliation for a prior attack on a TBO member. Upon learning of his whereabouts, eight TBO members descended on Bethea, and he was ultimately shot and killed by Owen Decaille. The defendants charged with this murder are Owen Decaille and Raul Rivera. Also charged with conspiracy to commit murder are Damian Jackson, Patrick Tucker, Edgar Lopez, Malik Walker, Nyrea Haywood, and Anthony Gooding.
The indictment also charges TBO with approaching a 19-year-old student on the street, displaying a gun, and stealing his headphones in March 2012. The victim fought back, so TBO member Lewis Davis shot him in the leg. Hours later, TBO member Sunday Medina posted a photo of himself on Facebook wearing the headphones with the tag, "Free Swipe".
Defendants Jeremiah Davis and Shakein Cook are charged with attempted murder for shooting a 24-year-old man in the face after a dispute at a schoolyard basketball game in July of 2012. The victim has a bullet lodged in his brain and he may never walk again.
The TBO gang had an organized hierarchy with eight gang members at the top, who were mostly the founders, called the Top Gangsters. The next level is the Original Gangsters. The Top Gangsters and the Original Gangsters were the leaders and often committed the most horrific crimes including murders and attempted murders. The next levels in the hierarchy were the Team Leaders, Warriors, and Bangers, who were the foot soldiers. They committed numerous violent crimes, such as assaults and armed robberies.
The TBO Gang would have weekly meetings in which they would collect money, ranging from $10 to $150 per week from their members, which would fund their illegal operations. The money was used to purchase weapons, drugs, and rent trap houses where they would hold their meetings and store their weapons. The money was also used for bail and the commissary for their members at Rikers Island.
As part of the operation, detectives would create fake names and "friend" the gang members on social networking sites like Facebook to track their actions. The gang members would often brag about their crimes on these sites.
The investigation was headed by Chief James Essig of Brooklyn North Patrol; Deputy Inspector Anthony Tasso and Police Officers Brian Tiernan and William Reed from the 83rd Precinct. The case was also investigated by Detectives David Acres, Anthony Brognano and Gerard Scanlon from the Kings County District Attorney's Gang Bureau.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Francisco Mundaca, Assistant District Attorney Adriana Rodriguez, First Deputy Bureau Chief Michael Perkins and Chief Deanna Rodriguez, all of the Gang Bureau.