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ACLU concerned about Wilmington plan to ban gangs from parks


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The American Civil Liberties Union says it has "serious concerns" about a proposal Wilmington City Council is considering that would ban gang members from city parks.

If adopted, Wilmington would be the first city in the state to enact such a law.

In a letter to City Council, the ACLU says while keeping communities safe is an important goal, the proposed ordinance "may violate the freedom of association and invite profiling or other arbitrary enforcement." The ACLU says police have other tools already available to fight the city's gang problem, "(h)owever, simple membership in a gang is not a crime and cannot be criminalized as it is constitutionally protected associational activity," the ACLU argues.

The ACLU-NC's policy director plans to be in Wilmington tonight as City Council is scheduled to discuss the issue at its meeting. It starts at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

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