In October 1995, a twenty-three-year-old Cape Verdean named Bobby Mendes was stabbed in the heart in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. His death at the hands of another Cape Verdean created a rift in the local community, sparking a street war between two neighborhood gangs known as Stonehurst and Wendover. The conflict ultimately produced the worst period of spontaneous, ruthless violence in Boston since the Irish gang wars of the 1960s, as each gang sought revenge for past slights and systematically murdered witnesses who could testify to its own members' crimes. Dorchester became a "virtual shooting gallery" for much of a decade as the escalating mayhem and indiscriminate gunfire claimed dozens of lives. In an effort to stem the violence, federal authorities targeted gang members for prosecution under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, better known as RICO.
"RICO After Raich: The Commerce Clause and Federal Prosecution of Street Gangs,"
Yale Law & Policy Review: Vol. 27
, Article 8.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/ylpr/vol27/iss2/8