OAKLAND (KCBS) – An Alameda County judge delayed ruling on whether to grant an injunction in Oakland where the city attorney is trying to crack down on and limit movement by alleged members of a street gang.
Two witnesses were called in Wednesday’s hearing. One was a convicted felon who claimed not to be a gang member, but who was listed as one of 40 who would be covered by the injunction.
KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:
The second witness was an expert who could testify to the negative social harms of gang injunctions, but the judge found his knowledge not specific enough to the Norteños in the Fruitvale District of Oakland.
Oakland City Attorney John Russo is suing the Norteño gang on behalf of the people. Deputy City Attorney Rocio Fierro said the city wants to stop the violent crimes and high school gang recruitment.
“It’s not isolated incidents. It’s between 580 and 800 instances of misconduct and crimes committed against our community,” said Fierro.
Defense Attorney Dennis Cunningham said he fears racial profiling if the injunction goes into effect.
“It’s a burden on the people that it’s against if they’re not involved in anything,” he said. “It also covers a huge territory where you can’t go.”
The judge has specified that five witnesses can be called. The hearing has been continued until next Wednesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has clashed publicly with Russo over the idea of imposing curfews and other restrictions. She said part of her reticence stems from a recent meeting with Fruitvale District merchants, whose streets would presumably be safer with an injunction.
“Some people wanted them, but one or two merchants actually got up and said most of our crime is not from the gangs,” said Quan. “They asked what we were doing with general crime. I think the injunctions are getting more play than they need to. They’re just one tool.”
Quan said she thinks other community-based programs will have longer-lasting effects.
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