Gang injunction opponent winds up in jail

September 15, 2010 6:40:22 PM PDT
A controversial gang injunction has been in effect in North Oakland for three months and now, one of its most vocal opponents is in jail.

On June 4, ABC7 found Yancie Young working in his yard and objecting to his name being included on a list of 15 known gang members in North Oakland.

"I've never been involved in any gangs. I don't share no tattoos, number 2, I never been arrested with any of the guys on the list, I don't even hang with the guys on this list," said Young.

On Sept. 1, Young's attorney filed a civil complaint against the city, saying Oakland's gang injunction was unconstitutional. Last week, Young was arrested by police after a car chase along San Pablo Avenue. Officers say they found a loaded, stolen .38 handgun.

"This sort of demonstrates conclusively that he was giving the media a dog and pony show during the injunction," said Oakland City attorney John Russo.

Russo also cites Young's prior convictions and four pending cases as justification for his inclusion on the list. Among the charges are: gun possession, drug sales and hitting a girlfriend on the head with a machine gun.

"Even if one assumes that all the assertions made by John Russo about Yancie Young regarding his gang membership are true, he still would have a constitutional right to be in a gang and support gang activity," said Young's civil attorney Julia Sherwin.

By the police department's own count, violent crime has actually gone up this summer in the North Oakland, including two homicides, compared with last year.

"Crime always goes up in the summer. It's much too early to make a judgment as to how effective the injunction has been on a macro scale," says Russo.

Besides Young, two others on the list have been arrested, but for offenses unrelated to the injunction.

Police claim there's been at least one other effect of this gang injunction. Of the 15 known gang members on the list, at least some appear to have left the area.

"They're not really hanging out like they used to, the streets are much quieter," says North Oakland resident Betty Pritchard.

Young's attorney says even with her client in jail, their fight to overturn the gang injunction will continue.


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