Gang Injunction to Continue in Oakland

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    In a narrow vote early Wednesday morning, the Oakland City Council voted to continue funding for two gang injunction efforts that have been  pursued by local agencies in recent months.
     

    The 4-3 vote, which began at a meeting Tuesday night, will continue an injunction that went into effect in June 2010, restricting 15  members of the North Side Oakland gang from associating with one another and  from going outside in a 100-block zone after 10 p.m.  
    The vote also affirmed that city administrators would continue pursuing an injunction lawsuit filed in October 2010 against 40 members of  the Nortenos gang in the Fruitvale District.
     
    "You don't have a right to be a member of a criminal organization," said Alex Katz, spokesman for City Attorney John Russo, who  filed the October lawsuit.
     
    "By restricting the ability of these guys to gang up, it's really defending the rights of everyone else to freely use public spaces," he said.
     
    But several community members have spoken out against the injunctions, saying that they have the potential for police to racially profile people who look like they may be gang members, and that the  injunctions generally do more harm than good.
     
    "The injunctions disrupt the community's ability to thrive," said Isaac Ontiveros, a spokesman for the Stop the Injunction Coalition.
     
    Ontiveros said two people listed on the Fruitvale injunction were  picked because of their years-old criminal histories, and being listed has brought harassment to both of them from other community members.
     
    "One guy, a co-owner of a business, had a criminal record from when he was younger. He had to give up co-ownership of his business after he  was put on the list because of the harassment he encountered," Ontiveros said.
     
    If ordered by a judge, the Fruitvale injunction would restrict the  gang members' activities in a swath of central Oakland below Brookdale Avenue, east of 21st Avenue, west of High Street, and north of the Oakland  Estuary.
     
    The gang members named in the injunction would be restricted from carrying guns, menacing or assaulting witnesses, recruiting young people, selling drugs, vandalizing the city, associating with each other in public, and being on the street between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., with exceptions allowed  for work, school, religious activities or emergencies.
     
    "Of the 40 in the lawsuit, 35 have claimed on the record they are members of the Nortenos," Katz said.
     
    Katz said the people named in the suit have convictions for assault with a deadly weapon, robbery, illegal drug sales, possession of assault weapons, arson, and domestic violence -- including domestic violence against pregnant women.