Is That Really Scarface and Tupac? Yes. Deconstructing DA’s Presentations of Gangs

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This week, Mark Becker, the Supervisor at the Santa Clara County Alternative Defender’s Office, met with our ACJP organizers and families to share the latest powerpoint presentation DA’s are using to scare juries into guilty verdicts. The powerpoint would have been comical, had it not been that a countless amount of people in Santa Clara County have been denied a fair trial as a result of this propoganda. And yes, that is seriously a photo of Al Pacino from the movie Scarface and an image of Tupac that is shared in the slideshow developed by the San Jose Police Department and presented as researched explanations as to what gangs are. Mr. Becker came by to share with us what DA’s are using in trial so we have a clear idea what we are up against, and perhaps to develop more honest tools that can created to refute the characterization of people facing gang charges. The powerpoint depicted only the most sensational of images — photos of people pointing guns at the camera, piles of drugs and money, and constant barrages of weapons like swords. The presentation is aimed at frightening juries so they can not possibly look at someone has been called a gang member by the DA as a human being. Even the language used in the powerpoint was designed to imply people who have been labeled as gang-related are only predators. One description (it is presented as if an anthropological study) says that gang members are so concerned with “notoriety” that ,”Like a dog they mark their territory.” The ACJP camp have been able to offer of gang experts from the community that can be used by defense attorneys to refute the DA’s case, but we will be brainstorming on media supplements that can be used as well by the defense bar.

One thought on “Is That Really Scarface and Tupac? Yes. Deconstructing DA’s Presentations of Gangs

  1. There was a documentary on the Ku Klux Klan on KQED last night. Perhaps the DA would like to add this infamous gang to his little Powerpoint presentation as well. Or perhaps that perpetration would prove a little more helpful to the defense than it would to the prosecution. . . Just sayin’.

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