MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — They are known for acts of violence, but on Tuesday, three leaders of the Tre Tre Crips in North Minneapolis are calling for peace.
The gang members hope others follow their lead and lay down their weapons.
“I’m trying to catch myself and I’m trying to catch my friends, while I catch myself, before it’s too late. We ain’t on no violence anymore. We presented Tre Tre true indeed but that is not what we standing for today,” said Charles Bickman.
A new beginning for three men who have dedicated most of their young lives to the “set” or gang they represent.
They’re Tre Tre Crips but today they are three men tired of being caught in a negative cycle.
“It got us felonies. Now people don’t want to hire us. It got us getting harassed by police because they still think we are on our negative activities. It got us away from our kids, from being in the penitentiary,” said Bickman.
And Terrence Neeley said that wasn’t the worst of it.
“It ain’t no feeling in the world worse than when you found out you lost a loved one to a wrongful death or murder,” he said.
Neeley knows first-hand about the pain of losing a loved one.
“I lost my little sister to this thing. It feels like I lost so much but I ain’t gaining nothing,” he said.
His sister, Aleisha Neeley, was gunned down last year while attending a party. Her death helped him focus on his life and how he could be a catalyst for positive change.
“I’m hoping people seeing me step up and open up and become open-minded to everything around me and open myself up back to the world and getting uninvolved with gangs, that somebody they gone be like, it’s time for me to do the same thing,” Neeley said.
Delamonte Pratt said he needed to get away from the vicious cycle.
“Aren’t you tired? What you want to do? You want to do the same thing and have the same result? You want to continue to get felonies? You want to continue to go to jail?,” he said.
Minneapolis police say they’ve been down this road before and they hope this time it works.
“Am I going to come out and say that absolutely this is going to happen? No, I’m not. If this is a first step and these young men really want to make changes in their lives and really want to make change for the north side and the city, I’m all for it,” said Sgt. Bill Palmer, of the Minneapolis Police.
The three men made their plea on KMOJ radio this morning.
As a result, members of the community have stepped up to see how they can help.
Police say they’ll be watching and will also help if they are serious about change.