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Oakland City Attorney Plans To Seek 3rd Gang Injunction

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Oakland police cruisers (CBS)

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OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The Oakland City Attorney’s Office, which has filed lawsuits against two gangs in the city, still plans to file a lawsuit against a third gang at some point in the near future, a spokesman said Tuesday.

However, spokesman Alex Katz said a final decision on filing a third suit will not be made until after the completion of litigation over the city’s current bid to get an injunction that would bar 40 alleged Nortenos gang members from hanging out with one another, loitering and possessing guns in a 450-block area in the largely Hispanic Fruitvale district.

The proposed injunction also would impose a curfew between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., among other restrictions.

The first phase of that litigation is expected to end in early May, when Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert Freedman will rule on a possible injunction against a small group of alleged Nortenos members.

However, the litigation could drag on for many months because Freedman will allow all of the reputed gang members to testify.

Katz said the city’s plan to file a lawsuit against an unidentified gang in East Oakland has not changed, but the city only has enough resources to pursue one injunction at a time.

City Attorney John Russo filed his first gang injunction suit, which was against the North Side Oakland gang, on Feb. 18, 2010.

Russo and Police Chief Anthony Batts said at the time that they planned to seek injunctions against gangs in other parts of Oakland in the near future.

Freedman issued an injunction against 15 members of the North Side Oakland gang last June.

Russo filed his second injunction bid, against reputed Nortenos gang members, last Oct. 13 but the case has dragged on longer than he had hoped and Freedman has held numerous hearings on the matter.

Opponents claim the proposed injunction against alleged Nortenos members is overly broad and would result in racial profiling of young Latino men.

But Russo has said that the lawsuit has nothing to do with racial profiling and instead focuses on cracking down on gang members whom he said have been committing crimes in the Fruitvale area.

Katz said that once the Nortenos case is completed, the city attorney’s office will consult with Batts and the City Council about filing a third gang lawsuit.

He said the city has already paid $20,000 to the Oakland law firm Meyers Nave for preliminary work for a possible third suit against a gang in East Oakland.

The law firm, which also is working on the case against alleged Nortenos members, has agreed to a maximum fee of $40,000 if a third suit is filed and litigated, Katz said.

He said that figure is “an extremely cheap cost for a complex case.”

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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