Injunction to be filed against 204th street gang
HARBOR GATEWAY, Calif. – An injunction will be filed against 120 documented members of a Harbor Gateway gang implicated in the racially motivated shooting death of a 14-year-old black girl in the racially divided South Bay community, authorities announce Thursday.
A truce that activists said they brokered with the 204th Street Gang appeared to be too little, too late, as city, county, and federal law enforcement agencies agreed to collaborate on efforts to dismantle the violent gang.
The crackdown on the 204th Street gang comes after two of its members allegedly shot and killed Cheryl Green and wounded three of the teenager’s friends on Dec. 15.
Cheryl and a total of seven friends were standing at the intersection of Harvard Boulevard and 204th Street when the gunfire erupted, about an hour after they got out of Stephen M. White Middle School for winter recess.
Authorities said the eighth-grader was not involved with gangs and was targeted solely because of the color of her skin.
Latino gang members Ernesto Alcarez, 20, and Jonathan Fajardo, 18, have each been charged with one count of premeditated murder and six counts of attempted premeditated murder in connection with the shooting.
Under the enforcement program against the 204th Street Gang, to involve federal, state and local agencies:
- The Los Angeles Police Department will serve as the lead agency in all investigations.
- The county sheriff’s department will head up arrests for curfew, truancy and other violations of the proposed injunction.
- The FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms will conduct electronic surveillance of gang activity and monitor the area from a series of observation posts.
- The city attorney’s, district attorney’s and U.S. attorney’s offices will coordinate civil, criminal and federal prosecution of crimes committed by the gang.
- The Los Angeles Unified School District police force will patrol the gang’s territory and coordinate gang prevention and intervention programs at neighborhood schools
If deemed successful, the joint effort, which also involves the California Department of Corrections, could be enforced in other gang-plagued neighborhoods across the city, officials said.
Harbor Gateway’s racial tensions date back to the mid-1990s, when blacks began moving into the predominantly Latino neighborhood, according to the mayor’s office.
Since then, Latino gang members have threatened violence toward black residents of the South Bay community if they cross south of 206th Street, the so-called “forbidden line” that divides Latinos to the north and blacks to the south.
Before Cheryl was killed, at least three other racially-motivated homicides have been reported in Harbor Gateway since 1997, according to the mayor’s office.
Earlier Thursday, the girl’s mother, Charlene Lovett, hugged a Latino mom as they joined other residents in signing the so-called peace truce brokered by community activist Najee Ali of Project Islamic HOPE
“We are all human beings. We all are the same,” Lovett said, adding that residents were “looking forward to being able to move about this community every way we all choose to without fearing for our lives and fearing for our kids’ lives.”
But no gang members showed up, as Ali had hoped.
They stayed away for fear of being singled out by police, he said, “but we have met and they have agreed to spread the peace. They’re also aware that their days are numbered, anyway.”