NEW YORK—Facebook posts and messages played a major role in the case prosecutors built against the 103 members of rival West Harlem gangs whose indictments began yesterday.
In all, 329 out of 660 overt facts listed on the two indictments are Facebook posts and messages.
The 3 Staccs gang, Make It Happen Boys gang, and Money Avenue gang were also indicted with cases built from Facebook posts and messages playing a role.
“We use social media as information and relevant evidence, but certainly no one is indicted because they have made a statement on Facebook or Twitter regarding a crime,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said at a press conference on the day of the raid. “We are looking for more evidence certainly than just a statement on social media about participation in crime.”
Hundreds of police officers raided the Grant Houses and the Manhattanville Houses early on Wednesday. The raid resulted in 40 arrests; 39 people were already in custody prior to the raid and 23 remain at large.
The Facebook messages reveal a violent world in which the defendants lived, with gross disregard for human life, common sense, and proper spelling.
“NOW IMAA REALII KILL SOMEONE.” Brian Cabrera, also known as “Pumpa,” wrote on Facebook on or about June 6, 2011.
“MONEY AVE KILLER SENDING BULLETS TO THEY LIVER!” Taylonn Murphy, also known as “Bam,” posted on Facebook on or about August 24, 2011.
Some of the defendants were arraigned in a Manhattan Court on Thursday. One of the first to enter a plea was a 15-year-old boy dressed in orange sneakers and an orange striped shirt.
A girl who waited for him outside the courtroom said, “I love you bro,” as he walked by.
“I love you too sis,” the boy, handcuffed and tired, said.