‘Brown pride’ graffiti, often used by Latino gangs, found in Park City | ParkRecord.com

‘Brown pride’ graffiti, often used by Latino gangs, found in Park City

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

The Park City Police Department received at least five complaints about graffiti in the last week, with the authorities being told one of them displayed similarities with the markings of a notorious Latino gang that the police say is active in the Park City area.

The police midday Sunday were told graffiti was found on a bench and on a bridge, with the bridge likely being part of a small pedestrian pathway, on the 1800 block of Prospector Avenue. Police logs indicate the graffiti included the slogan "Brown Pride," but it was not clear if the words were found on both the bench and the bridge. A Summit County Sheriff’s Office detective said the slogan is associated with a gang known as the Nortenos as well as others not belonging to the larger group.

Andrew Burton, who also works with the Salt Lake Area Metro Gang Unit, said there are documented Nortenos members in Park City and surrounding Summit County. Local authorities have known of the Norteno presence for some time, and suspected members have been arrested in the area. Burton said some Latino gangs that are not part of the Nortenos sometimes use the Brown Pride slogan. He said he suspects the find in Prospector is linked to the Nortenos or a gang that is independent from the larger one.

He said the find is "quite rare in the Park City area" when compared to the number of instances in larger places like Salt Lake City. He said he amount of gang-related graffiti in Park City does not match the number seen in Salt Lake City and other Wasatch Front cities like West Valley City.

Burton said he recalled one previous instance of the Brown Pride slogan turning up in graffiti in Summit County, with the other one being found in the Snyderville Basin.

"Uncommon? Yes. We haven’t seen Brown Pride used much in graffiti," Burton said.

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The detective acknowledged that the term Brown Pride is also sometimes used by Latinos who are celebrating their heritage. Those uses, though, normally do not spur someone to put up graffiti, he said.

"Brown Pride is also associated with persons of Latino descent that have nothing to do with gangs," Burton said, adding, "It could be any of those."

Authorities in the Park City area have long said gang members arrived in greater numbers during the boom years prior to the recession, drawn by plentiful jobs at the time in the construction industry and other sectors tied to Park City’s resort-driven economy.

They have indicated that some of them moved to the area from places in Northern California. The Police Department in Vacaville, Calif., situated on Interstate 80 in between the Bay Area and Sacramento, Calif., published a fact sheet describing Brown Pride gangs. According to the fact sheet, people in the Brown Pride gangs:

support the traditional Latino lifestyle and the culture

occasionally display affiliations with other Latino gangs

use the colors brown and black

use symbols like "BP" and "12"

The other graffiti cases reported to the Police Department included a find late in the morning on Sunday on a park bench close to Miners Hospital and three instances reported within minutes of each other a little before 1 a.m. on April 7. The three were each on the 300 block of Main Street. Police logs did not provide details about the other cases.