UPDATE | Multi-department task force results in 6 arrests
Charleston Police and South Charleston Police created a joint task force around Nov. 4 to help arrest violent criminals.
That task force was focused on arresting six suspects wanted for violent crimes in Kanawha County.
On Monday, police chiefs from both cities held a news conference announcing the completion of the task force, its successes and its eventual disbandment.
The six men wanted by the task force were: Malik Hawk, Braheem Griffin, Tre Davis, Daniel Battle, Lawrence Foye and Shalor Gore. According the Charleston Police Davis and Gore were arrested prior to the implementation of the task force.
Both agencies say they met with each other daily to help find the four suspects. On Nov. 13, Malik Hawk was arrested in Kanawha County. After his arrest, the task force got a search warrant for the place where Hawk was staying.
Officers found a 9mm pistol, 176 grams of a powder substance containing fentanyl and 112 grams of a powder substance containing methamphetamine. As a result, Hawk will be charged with wanton endangerment, in addition to being charged with the prohibited possession of a firearm and possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance.
Later, on Nov. 20th the task force worked with the U.S. Marshal's Service to arrest Braheem Griffin in Philadelphia. The remaining two men, Battle and Foye have not been arrested and the police departments believe the two are no longer in the area.
According to South Charleston Police Chief Brad Rinehart, all of the crimes are gang related. He says they involved retaliation between gangs in the area. Rinehart attributes this to the rise in violent crimes in the past few months.
"Gangs are all tied into this, constant retaliation against each other,” Rinehart said. “We're dealing with a different breed of criminal here, as well, and hopefully this group getting together will put a dent in that."
Twenty police officers were given this assignment in late September.
During the alliance between the two police departments, they were able to find out more evidence related to other homicides in the area and make additional arrests.
Charleston Police Chief Opie Smith says the task force opened a new channel of communication between the agencies that will help their relationship for years to come.
"I want to commend these officers from Charleston PD South Charleston PD and ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) that worked long hours to locate some of these people in these violent crimes. All of these officers, they should have you upmost respect because they definitely have mine," Smith said. "As you know, police work is a dangerous job but when you are specifically looking for violent individuals it's kind of takes it to a whole new level."
Rinehart says both agencies will continue to follow up on leads they found during their investigations. But after three weeks, the task force will be disbanded.
A multi-agency task force tasked with combating violent crime has resulted in six arrests, two of which Charleston police identified in September 2019 as “most dangerous offenders” related to violent crime.
The task force, comprised of 20 officers from the Charleston Police Department and the South Charleston Police Department, worked for three weeks and received assistance from the Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Explosives (ATF); and the U.S. Marshals Service.
The task force resulted in the arrests of Braheem Griffin and Malik Hawk, both suspects who the Charleston Police Department named as dangerous offenders.
Griffin was arrested Nov. 20, near Philadelphia in connection with a murder in Charleston on July 4.
Hawk was arrested Nov. 14 by South Charleston police for wanton endangerment in connection with a shooting incident on Charleston’s West Side.
Both suspects were apprehended without incident.
In addition, the task force also arrested four additional suspects whose charges included prohibited person in possession of a firearm and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.