Fort Myers police delivering initiative letters to accused Lake Boyz
Accused gang members are receiving letters warning them that activity endangers their lives. It includes the men accused of being part of the Lake Boyz gang. Some in the Fort Myers community said the letters are not a positive step toward peace. But, not everyone agrees.
Police Chief Derrick Diggs of Fort Myers Police Department is trying to lend a hand and reach out to accused members hoping it sparks a change in some of them Thursday.
Fort Myers Police Department said the letter is part of an initiative to curb group and gang violence to help members change their lives around.
Shirley Sibert sees it in a different light.
“I think sort of negative,” Sibert said. “When you live a certain place all your life, that’s where you’re going to be at. You can’t say they’re gang members.”
Sibert doesn’t believe a gang exists. In 2017, FMPD arrested 23 suspected Lake Boyz gang members for racketeering and conspiracy. Since then, juries found four not guilty and two guilty.
Despite different outcomes, Sibert said the letter proves the men are forever stuck with the label as gang members.
“You’re still branding them as a gang member,” Sibert said.
Community activist Reverend Israel Suarez disagrees.
Suarez said the letter shows the police department is reaching out in all ways possible to improve safety on the streets.
“I see a positive,” Suarez said. “That means he’s on top of the issue. One hundred percent from the time he arrived here he’s been doing a lot of different, and he’s been trying to do the best … because that’s more. That’s his responsibility. That’s his job.”
Job training and placement are some of the things offered in this letter.
FMPD said officers are hand delivering the letter in person, so far they have reached six people.