South Bend Deputy Mayor Neal talks about gangs vs. groups - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

South Bend Deputy Mayor Neal talks about gangs vs. groups

South Bend Councilman Henry Davis Jr. says he's had enough with authorities and public figures calling what he says are gangs in South Bend "groups." On Twitter Wednesday morning, he wrote, "HIGH UNEMPL=DRUGS=CRIME=GANGS WHO ARE CALLED GROUPS=A political speech to talk about data driven solutions meanwhile people die."

The discussion about the use of the word "groups" started after top brass at the SBPD referred to several people charged in the death of a South Bend toddler as being members of a "group."

Prosecutors charged five of the eight suspects with a gang enhancement in the case.

Mayor Neal says the city is not trying to refute the fact there are gangs in South Bend, but city leaders say not all groups committing violent acts are gangs in the traditional sense.  Neal says there are also small groups tied together simply by the few blocks they grew up on, and they're not tied to a national gang.

"I'm not looking to make a distinction between the gangs and groups because I don't think that really pushes our conversation forward," Neal says.  "What's important ... is working together to say we must stop the violence."

Neal says the message the administration wants to send is that violence is unacceptable, no matter what label you use.  "These groups must stop," he says.  "They must put down their guns."

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