Oakland gang injunction hearing resumes

March 2, 2011 12:22:23 PM PST
A judge is hearing a third day of testimony Wednesday on the city of Oakland's bid for an injunction that would bar 40 alleged members of the Norteno gang from congregating in the city's Fruitvale District, but won't rule on the case until next week at the earliest.

City Attorney John Russo filed a lawsuit on Oct. 13 seeking to bar reputed members of the Norteno gang from hanging out with one another, loitering, and possessing guns in a 450-block area in the Fruitvale District, which is largely Hispanic. It also would impose a curfew and other restrictions.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert Freedman heard testimony in the case on Feb. 16 and 23, and is hearing more evidence Wednesday.

City attorney spokesman Alex Katz said the hearing is expected to conclude at the end of the day but that Freedman likely won't issue a ruling today and instead will probably take the matter under submission and rule at a later date.

The proposed injunction against reputed Nortenos is the second that has been sought by the city targeting local gangs. Last June 3, Freedman issued an injunction against 15 members of the North Side Oakland gang.

Opponents claim an injunction against alleged Nortenos members 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 who he said have been committing crimes in the Fruitvale area.

Called to the witness stand by attorneys for the reputed gang members, Esmeralda Quintero, the sister of reputed Norteno gang member Javier Quintero, testified today that Oakland police have repeatedly driven by her family's house and conducted periodic searches there.

Quintero, who lives with her brother and other family members, said that on one occasion in 2009, a large group of police officers who aggressively searched their home left items strewn all over the house and broke household property.

Quintero said she also followed officers around the house because she feared they would plant evidence that would incriminate her brother, who has several criminal convictions but hasn't been arrested since 2008 and now has a steady job.

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