Portland police use “criminal gang affiliate” list

Police can add a flag in their database without a conviction or an arrest

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — More than 100 times each year, Portland police label someone a “criminal gang affiliate.”

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that police can add a flag in their database without a conviction or an arrest. They say the practice creates a secret suspects list.

The Oregonian received a modified version of the gang list last month.

The data is the first independent look at gang designations in Portland since a federal lawsuit forced the city to restrict the practice two decades ago.

Critics say police use the list to boost surveillance of young men of color based mostly on the social networks they were born into.

They say close monitoring of any teenager is likely to turn up some kind of bad behavior, and that disproportionate monitoring of black teens helps ensure they are prosecuted criminally at high rates.