Safe Streets reactivated; alleged gang leader pleads not guilty
A task force appointed to review the operations of a government-funded anti-violence program could not substantiate allegations that the group was taking cues from a powerful gang, but found flaws in the oversight of the Safe Streets program and recommends that control be shifted away from the city. Responding to the report, Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake lifted a funding freeze on the programs.
The panel’s report was released the same day an alleged leader of the Black Guerrilla Family, accused of using violence outreach work as a cover for drug-dealing and gang activities, made his first appearance in federal court.
Todd Duncan, 36, pleaded not guilty to heroin conspiracy charges at a brief hearing in US. District Court. Duncan was hired through the Safe Streets process in 2007 when the non-profit Communities Organized to Improve Life was chosen to operate a West Baltimore site. Though the group’s funding was terminated a year later due to non-compliance, COIL continued to perform outreach work independently, officials said.