Saturday, June 19, 2004

Just before I left for the wilds of Utah, the DA in Oxnard was fighting to have a gang injunction imposed against the COLONIA CHIQUES. There was some doubt it would happen. Going through my backlog of clippings and downloads, apparently the injunction was imposed and coppers started handing out copies to individual gang members. As of June 9, seven individuals have been given copies of the injunction that bars them from gathering in public within a specified "safety zone." To be enforced, a copy of the injunction has to be served to individuals and they have to sign for it so there's proof they've been informed. As a result, a lot of CCs are making themselves scarce. If you can't find them, you can't serve them.

Cops and the DA claim that by individuals disappearing, the injunction is already having a positive effect by getting active members off the streets, even if it isn't served to everyone on the list. Injunction violators can face a $1000 fine and 6 months in county.

This injunction is temporary, but the DA will appear before a judge in August to try to make it permanent. We'll see how it works out.

In the past, the LAPD claims success when they applied injunctions to Blythe Street, 18th Street and other neighborhoods. Some people, most notably civil libertarians, activists and gang advocates, claim that injunctions infringe on civil rights. One objection is that an injunction makes it illegal for cousins or relatives to even hang out in a bar if they're members of the same neighborhood. Or that an ex-banger doing gang intervention work is technically breaking the law by going around the 'hood trying to talk sense to the homies from his former set. These are valid points.

Interestingly, though, Father Greg Boyle, who's been a long-time opponent to injunctions had a change of heart some time back. When Chief Bratton asked for and got an injunction covering an East LA neighborhood, Boyle blessed it as a good thing. He said the day after the injunction was issued, his office was filled with homies asking for jobs and claiming to quit the set. My sense is that these guys weren't so much "scared" into dropping out but actually relieved to have a way out without a lot of negative set politics and loss of pride. As in, "I can't kick it with you no more because I can't afford to go to jail." It's an easy back door out and sort of a graceful exit. Let's face it. If you're banging for any amount of time, the anxiety, fear, and constantly having to prove how down you are gets fucking old. Especially when you see the hardest, downest, illest, brick-hard pelons end up in prison, dead or in a wheelchair for life. If I've heard this from one guy, I've heard it from a hundred. It's a shit life and if they see an injunction as a semi-honorable way out, then it may be a worthwhile tool. Even if it crunches right up against Constitutional rights.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is serious bullshit, the gang injunction is bad not just for just people involved in the game but on civilans as well. It sure does make rolling in Chiques alot nicer since those fuckers aint everywhere!!!!