Convicts Star in Campaign Against Gangs : Law enforcement: The district attorney’s office hopes that “Boyz N the Jail” poster will prevent young people from joining groups.
To some youngsters living in rough surroundings, gang leaders are idols. Ventura County Dist. Atty. Michael D. Bradbury wants to make them a subject of ridicule.
As part of a “gang-suppression” campaign, Bradbury’s office is distributing a mock movie poster headlined “Boyz N The Jail.” It bears mug shots of nine Ventura County “gangsters,” with listings of the crimes for which they were convicted and the lengths of their sentences.
A thousand copies of the posters will be distributed to area police agencies for display in schools, libraries and gang hangouts. The poster is a takeoff on the anti-gang movie “Boyz N the Hood,” whose producers could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
“I think it sends a message out to young people that ‘you thought these guys were heroes and they’re in the bucket,’ ” Santa Paula Police Chief Walter Adair said. “This makes kids aware that when you break the law, you pay the consequences.”
“I hope this will act as a deterrent to those kids who haven’t made up their minds yet about joining gangs,” said Simi Valley Police Chief Paul Miller. “Hopefully, it gets the word out that you’ll end up in prison.”
While the poster makes a stab at humor--the introduction to the mock title reads, “Ventura County Law Enforcement Presents"--it bears nine grim faces of young men serving terms of five to 13 years for crimes ranging from carrying a concealed .357 magnum pistol into the Ventura County Courthouse to being the triggermen in drive-by shootings.
Bradbury said members of his staff considered creating a separate poster bearing photos of “gangbangers” killed in drive-by shootings or retaliations for gang violence. They ultimately rejected that idea in deference to the families of the deceased.
“The gangsters’ families are victims of all this violence too,” Bradbury said.
Bradbury gave state Atty. Gen. Dan Lungren a framed copy of the poster Wednesday at a Ventura County Government Center news conference in support of a federal crime bill pending in Congress. U. S. Reps. Robert J. Lagomarsino (R-Ventura) and Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley) and law enforcement heads from Ventura and Santa Barbara counties attended the news conference.
Bradbury said the poster, which also encourages people to turn in gangsters by calling police or the district attorney’s office, may be periodically reprinted with new gang members getting star billing.
Peter E. Brown, a deputy district attorney in charge of gang prosecution, went through several dozen cases before selecting the nine for the initial production. Included are:
* Andres Diaz of Oxnard, who at age 17 drove to Moorpark seeking to retaliate for an earlier fight, Brown said. When he couldn’t find his target, Diaz fired several shotgun rounds into a group of innocent high school students at a pizzeria after a football game, striking five of them, Brown said. He is serving a 13-year state prison term.
* Gregory Palazzo, a member of Mobtown No. 1, a skinheads group. Palazzo was sentenced to a six-year term last year for hitting an 18-year-old girl, who had left his gang, over the head with a shovel and fracturing her skull. He was 19 at the time of the crime.
* Billy Parker Jr. of Ventura was sentenced to 11 years after his attempted murder conviction. Brown said one of the members of Parker’s gang had pulled a knife on a homeowner trying to get the gang to loiter elsewhere. The gang member found himself disarmed by the resident and then summoned Parker to retaliate, Brown said. Parker, who was 17 at the time, shot the homeowner twice, Brown said.
Brown acknowledged that, aside from the play on the movie “Boyz N The Hood,” such posters have been used elsewhere to discourage gang activity. The city of Tacoma, Wash., has printed a poster of former Los Angeles gang members convicted of dealing cocaine after moving to the Northwest.
“The best approach to gang suppression is to keep people from joining,” said Brown, who prosecuted each of the gang members pictured on the poster. “If kids are dabbling with gangs, maybe this will make them steer clear.”