Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Thursday that police used social media messages to link alleged gang members to six killings, 32 shootings, 36 robberies and numerous other crimes. The average age of those arrested was 17.
"Gang members made the mistake of boasting on Twitter which NYPD officers used to help establish their complicity in murder and other crimes," Kelly said.
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Police learned the lexicon of the rival gangs, the Hood Starz and the Waves, and tracked it on social media.
When Hood Starz members shot a rival, they would say they "clapped him off the surfboard," and going into Wave territory was described as "going to the beach." Wave members called Hood Starz "actors" and shooting them was "lining you out."
"Woo" meant you were a Wave and "chew" meant being a Hood Starz, police said. Last summer, a 21-year-old man was visiting Brownsville and was asked by a Wave member if he was "chewing." He did not understand and was shot in the face.
Prosecutors say the bloodshed resulted in the deaths of other innocent bystanders, including a child and his father shot in a courtyard in August.
The crimes date back to 2010 and continued as late as this month.
The indictments follow a widespread investigation by several agencies. The charges include murder, assault, robbery and conspiracy.
Arraignments are being held this week. Some defendants are still at large.