Prosecutors unsure whether the right man was arrested in street gang raid

Turns out one of the roughly 30 people who were arrested in a gang sweep in Dorchester nearly two weeks ago may not have been the man authorities were looking for, after all.

A day after the raid, prosecutors asked for the immediate release of one of the defendants, O’Neil Taylor, because they were unsure whether he was the man they were looking for, a man known on the streets as “Chew.”

Taylor, who has not been arraigned on any charges yet, was immediately released on supervised release, and is due to appear in federal court in Boston Tuesday.


Assistant US Attorney Emily Cummings said in court documents that authorities had been looking for a man known as “Chew” who looks “very much like Mr. Taylor,” and that Taylor had been known to frequent the Dorchester neighborhood that was targeted in the raid, and his car was a regular presence. However, Taylor has protested that he is not Chew at all.

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Cummings said Taylor may indeed be the person, but “there is sufficient doubt right now that the government believes it is in the interest of justice to release Mr. O’Neil pending further investigation regarding the identity of ‘Chew’.”

Taylor was one of 30 people arrested in an early morning raid on Jan. 17 dubbed Operation Concord, which focused on violence and drug distribution by the Woodward Avenue and Hendry Street gangs. Prosecutors initially sought his detention without the possibility of bail. He is expected to be appointed a public defender.