Rival Paterson street gangs agree to truce, says community leader | Paterson Times

Rival Paterson street gangs agree to truce, says community leader


Two city street gangs that have been blamed for the shooting and murder of several city youngsters, have entered into a ceasefire or truce this week following weeks of meeting with community leaders who brokered the agreement.

The “up the hill,” concentrated in the 4th Ward, and “down the hill,” focused in the 1st Ward, tagged on to a truce on Monday night, said Kenyatta Stewart, an attorney.

“One of our problems is over: the up the hill, down the hill problem is over,” said Stewart on Tuesday evening. He said 25 members from both sides met in his office to hammer out an acceptable agreement.

Stewart found fault with referring to the groups as gangs. He said the designations has more to do with geography than anything else. In fact, he said “up the hill” could go as far as Eastside Park while “down the hill” can run through Union Avenue.

He said both groups have renounced gun violence and have agreed to abandon vicious territorial claims in both sides of the Passaic River that has claimed many lives, most recently that of Armoni Sexton, an athletically talented Paterson Sci-Tech student.

“It hasn’t been violent like this,” said Ruby Cotton, 4th Ward councilwoman. “They’re 16 and under, they are not even 19, 20, or 21.” She said it is good to see the youngsters listening to community leaders like Stewart, who himself lives in what would fall on the “down the hill” territory.

“The resolution was this, we tried to make it where they’d have perimeters at one point, as long as you don’t ride through my area then there’s no problem, but last night they decided: We don’t need perimeters anymore,” said Stewart.

Stewart said too often those territorial lines have resulted in shootings when a member of one group would infringe upon the territory of another.

“We’re going to accept the fact whatever has happened has happened, whomever was hurt was hurt, whomever is incarcerated is incarcerated,” said Stewart of the sentiments from his meeting with the two groups. “At the present moment all of us are going to be saying it’s over.”

A group of community and church leaders began to meet inside the Christopher Hope Center on Temple Street after the tragic shooting death of Sexton to figure out what to do to end the cycle of violence, said police director Jerry Speziale. Stewart was in on the meetings and he ran with the idea to broker some sort of a peace between the two groups, said the director.

Speziale said the two meetings in the hope center produced “tremendous” results. It’s a “herculean job” that Stewart accomplished, said James Staton, 1st Ward councilman. “I’m elated about that, that is good news,” said the councilman referring to the truce.

On Tuesday afternoon about 300 people from both up and down the hills gathered in Wrigley Park (pictured, courtesy, Jamie Bland) also known as Montgomery Park to celebrate the truce. The two groups played basketball together and broke bread through an outdoor cookout.

“This is the first time in five years all of those kids got together,” said Stewart.

The Monday night the two groups marched on Godwin Avenue and Governor Street during the night to celebrate the agreement, said Stewart. He said prior to the truce, he inquired about the conflict between the two groups. He said he was told an individual was killed in 2010 that resulted in the back and forth shootings.

“You lose one life and you lose the other life to the fact that someone goes to jail for the rest of their life,” said Speziale.

In 1997, a similar conflict existed between the two groups, said Stewart. “One of the issues we had in up the hill was there was a whole bunch of boys from down the hill that was willing to go up the hill to fight the kids from up the hill,” he said.

Cotton is hoping the truce will bring some sense of calm on her streets. She said many of these young people have little understanding what they are getting into; she said many join gangs due to lack of recreational opportunities. She said they start by hanging out in corners with older and more hardened members all the while picking up behaviors and traits from them.

“It’s like a fishing rod, they wheel you in, and they are pulling on you, pulling on you,” said Cotton.

She said the agreement may just work. Staton referred to a early morning shooting on Jefferson Street expressing some skepticism about the agreement. But, he too is optimistic about the truce.

“I hope we can have a nice clam summer that’s what I’m praying for,” she said.

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  • cc221

    Paterson is such trash. That place is a cesspool. I say use Paterson, nj as a nuclear test site. That would rid nj of such unneeded baggage. Free up some tax dollars!

    • John Dough

      Eat a dick fuck boy

    • Dane

      we should destroy your city and have better people than a queer like you.. people in Paterson work for they're shit not like you , probably grew up with mommy and daddy giving you everything

      • cc221

        Lmaooo work???? Hahaha. Yeah I did have both parents. U mad?? Sorry u can't say the same. You were conceived by under achievers

        • Dane

          you're an idiot lmao I got both parents fuck face , and I served in the military .. you're just an idiotic pathetic arrogant shit from the suburbs who has nothing better to do with his life but comment on a website good job you've accomplished nothing .. now let me guess you're gonna comment something pathetic again I'm so flattered -_-

    • Sebastian Mejia

      you are a coward .

      • cc221

        Lol yea h OK. The cowards are all in your city. Bunch of punks running in packs with guns.

        • Lester Baptiste

          Why are you being so general? All that looks bad to outsiders isn't. I work, never joined an gang or hung on the corner. My Mom the same. You wanna kill her too?

    • haha

      I couldn't agree more. Some none tax paying assholes claiming shit. I'm glad I left that shithole over a decade ago.

      • Angel Sapp

        you are a big ass clown go kill yourself.

      • Ieather Grant

        hell we glad your ass left too

    • Angel Sapp

      you need to go kill yourself because you can tell you are a piece of Shit…

    • Ieather Grant

      Your an idiot you're probably one of the ones coming to Paterson to buy drugs causing alot of the problems here. So if you don't have anything positive to say why not just shut the fuck up.

      • cc221

        Lol idiot. If your cesspool didn't have the drugs to begin with no one would be going there to buy. The real problem is the garbage that has been living there for the past 20-25 years

  • Gary Suber Sr

    Such ignorance on cc221. There are many good things going on in our city. Out of Towners create much of the problem. What about them. The ones who come into city to purchase drugs. Paterson will rise again to return to the great city it once was.

    • James Michael

      God bless the communty for coming together. The mentoring that is needed for the youth. I wish the best for all of Paterson.

    • cc221

      It was only a great city when it was all good quality white people.

      • Michelle Mott

        Dont u have better things to talk about and if u dont care why are you even reading this dumb ass.

  • jorge rivera

    God bless this black& black.& latin killing is BS theres real hidden enemy's out there!!!

  • Michelle Mott

    Your nuts keep your ignorant comments to your self since u had both parents didnt they teach you manners dont matter where you're from ignorance is everywhere u are a prime example

  • Charlene

    Yeah, they should know that that gang life went out years ago. Nobody is your family, but your family, so stop killing each other and come to together for change. Put all those skills together and open a business (legal) lol.☺

  • Beverly Robinson

    cc 221, I was born and raised in this city, and as far as education I'm pretty sure I have more than you and I retired from working for the state for close to thirty years asswipe.

    • cc221

      Right. I laugh at how you people get offended at the truth. Your city is a mess right now. Face it! Don't hide from it and call me uneducated, racist, or whatever the hell you small minded people cry. Accept it.

      • Lester Baptiste

        Where do you live with such knowledgeable incite? Yes, I intended that spelling.

  • Victor Castro

    why would they even think of doing a truce..Lock them all up and stop the gang from getting any bigger. what is wrong with this city?