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NPD investigating middle school ‘504’ group, Chief says

(File photo)

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Police have been investigating a “loosely organized group mostly made up of middle school students that identify themselves as ‘504,’” Chief James Walsh said Monday.

Incidents of vandalism and “additional events” have occurred in connection to West Rocks Middle School and Nathan Hale Middle School, both on and off school grounds, related to the group, he said. Nine juvenile arrests have been made through the investigations.

“The moniker 504 is the country calling code for Honduras,” Walsh explained.

From January through March, School Resource Officers (SROs) developed intelligence on the group, he said. Police collaborated with community stakeholders, Norwalk Public Schools Central Office and Ryan Harold, Norwalk Public Schools Safety & Security Supervisor and administrators at the two middle schools to address the incidents.

Police have initiated 18 separate investigations varying from vandalism, threats and assaults, resulting in the nine arrests, he said.

The announcement came shortly after Norwalk Branch NAACP President Brenda Penn-Williams went public with concerns about a West Rocks eighth grader, who she said had been beaten by members of the 504 “gang.” She accused Norwalk Public Schools of covering up an assault.

The boy, a recent immigrant who doesn’t speak much English, isn’t getting the emotional support he needs from the school district, she said Thursday. NPS, in a Saturday statement, said, “these claims of improper response hold no merit” and “well-established protocols and proper procedures” have been used in response to the situation.

The NPS statement said, “The well-being of our entire NPS community is our number-one priority, and Norwalk Public Schools is aiding the Norwalk Police Department by providing full transparency so that they may carry out their investigation.”

Walsh promised Monday that police will continue collaborating with Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Alexandra Estrella and her team “to address all issues to ensure a safe learning environment for all students at Norwalk Public Schools.”

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Comments

2 responses to “NPD investigating middle school ‘504’ group, Chief says”

  1. bryanmeek

    Welcome to Harryville. More apartments will fix it. Maybe the next NON site will make it even harder to offer public commentary, in line with the goals of this administration. Great job.

  2. mike murray

    Federal definition. The federal definition of gang as used by the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), is [1]:
    An association of three or more individuals;
    Whose members collectively identify themselves by adopting a group identity, which they use to create an atmosphere of fear or intimidation, frequently by employing one or more of the following: a common name, slogan, identifying sign, symbol, tattoo or other physical marking, style or color of clothing, hairstyle, hand sign or graffiti;
    Whose purpose in part is to engage in criminal activity and which uses violence or intimidation to further its criminal objectives.
    Whose members engage in criminal activity or acts of juvenile delinquency that if committed by an adult would be crimes with the intent to enhance or preserve the association’s power, reputation or economic resources.
    The association may also possess some of the following characteristics:
    The members may employ rules for joining and operating within the association.
    The members may meet on a recurring basis.
    The association may provide physical protection of its members from others.
    The association may seek to exercise control over a particular geographic location or region, or it may simply defend its perceived interests against rivals.
    The association may have an identifiable structure.

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