Residents ask city to review cost, effectiveness of gang injunctions

on January 12, 2011

As activists and residents lined up to make dozens of complaints Tuesday, city leaders promised to schedule a review of Oakland’s gang injunctions.

About 60 of people showed up at the city’s public safety committee meeting, many with signs that read “Stop the injunctions now” in English and Spanish. “We are here to ask Oakland to re-prioritize its efforts,” said Aurra Lopez, who called the gang injunctions “ineffective and actually counter-productive.”

This was the second time in less than a month that people came to a public safety committee meeting to ask for a review of the anti-gang measures. A similar protest was held at a meeting in December.

Oakland’s first gang injunction took effect last June in North Oakland. Created by the City Attorney’s Office, the court order limits the activities of 15 alleged gang members within a 100-block “safety zone” in the Golden Gate neighborhood. The injunction imposes a curfew on the individuals, and restricts other gang-related activities. In October, the City Attorney’s Office filed a motion for a second gang injunction on 40 alleged Nortenos in a 400-block area of the Fruitvale neighborhood, but it is not yet in effect. A court hearing regarding that injunction is scheduled for February 16.

Proponents say that injunctions give law enforcement important tools to address the city’s gang problem, but opponents have said the measures infringe on civil liberties.

On Tuesday at the public safety committee meeting, about 40 people signed up to express their dissatisfaction with the measures and ask the city find out if the injunctions have reduced gang activity and calculate how much enforcing them has cost the city.

After listening to an initial round of comments, Public Safety Committee Chair Patricia Kernighan told the group that she will ask the Oakland Police Department and the City Attorney’s Office to make a report detailing the cost of the gang injunction in North Oakland and any changes in the crime rates there.

City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan also requested that the report include information on how the people named on the gang injunction list could be removed from it.

Brunner said the report can be expected in about a month’s time.

Later in the meeting, there was a second round of public comments about the gang injunction. Juana Gonzales, who spoke to the council through interpreter Esmerelda Quintero, said that her son is on a gang injunction list. Quintero said Gonzales’ son had been previously arrested and deported, but police officers had continued to come to the family’s home to look for him.

Quintero said the police visits were “effecting [Gonzales’] health, and also embarrassing” her in front of her neighbors. She said the family has filed complaints about the matter, but the OPD’s internal affairs unit had not found any problem with the incidents.

OPD spokesperson Holly Joshi said she didn’t have any information available about Gonzales’ comments. “We take the internal affairs process very seriously,” said Joshi. “In order to have community policing work, we have to have public trust.”

Joshi suggested that Gonzales could also take her complaint to the Citizen’s Police Review Board—a public forum on police accountability.

Kernighan told the group that people with complaints could submit them to the committee via email. Her email address is pkernighan@oaklandnet.com

Correction: This story originally misidentified City Councilmember Patricia Kernighan as Jane Brunner. Oakland North regrets the error.

6 Comments

  1. Tonya Love on January 12, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Editing mistake:

    The public safety committee chair was NOT Jane Brunner, but Pat Kernighan, District 2.

    They had moved the meeting to the general council chamber and had not had time to change the name plates.



    • Oakland North Staff on January 12, 2011 at 2:42 pm

      Thanks for the correction Tonya, you are right! The Public Safety Committee Chair is Patricia Kernighan, and she was the one leading last night’s meeting. We have corrected the article.



  2. Max Allstadt on January 12, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    BIG question:

    Jane Brunner explicitly promised last week, on the record in the East Bay Express, that she would recuse herself from all City Council activities related to the gang injunction. Why has she suddenly broken her promise?



  3. TheSkylineHighSenior on January 12, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Family of criminals and criminals supporting criminals, nothing new in Oakland!

    I wonder what they’ll say on the day one of these gang bangers causes physical harm to one of them? Probably the typical “It’s okay, they had to let out anger that society is oppressing them” or blame some irrelevant thing.

    I would however, like to know the effectiveness and the cost of gang injunctions, how many have been arrested violating the conditions, etc.



  4. […] Residents ask city to review cost, effectiveness of gang injunctions […]



  5. […] Residents ask city to review cost effectiveness of gang injunctions […]



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