Judge to rule on controversial gang injunction

February 15, 2011 7:40:46 AM PST
The battle over restricting where gang members can gather in Oakland is coming to a head this week.

A judge will begin hearing evidence on the controversy Wednesday, just as the city's police chief announces that in his opinion, gang injunctions are working. He likes injunctions, but the idea is very controversial. Even the Oakland Teacher's Union opposes them. The injunction does not even name anyone under the age of 18, but the union worries that it will affect students and that people who are not in gangs will get pulled over and questioned.

The concern throughout the city is that the injunction will amount to legalized racial profiling. There is already an injunction in place in Oakland where the city attorney and the police say the resulting improvements speak for themselves with drug arrests are down 70 percent.

However, opponents say the cost is too high. The city spent $761,000 to enforce the injunction, money opponents say could be spent on education and job programs. Quite a fight is shaping up. At issue, is whether a gang injunction should be put in place in the Fruitvale District. Police say 40 members of the Norteno gang are terrorizing the neighborhood and need to be reigned in with restrictions like curfews. Opponents say they are being unfairly targeted.

All the arguments will come out in a court room Wednesday and a judge will make a final decision.

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