Anti-gang injunction made permanent

By Marjorie Hernandez 
June 2, 2005

An injunction against the largest gang in Ventura County was made permanent one year after a preliminary decision was implemented.

Ventura County Superior Court Judge Frederick H. Bysshe released his amended, permanent gang injunction against the Colonia Chiques on Wednesday, said Deputy District Attorney Karen Wold.

“It’s a victory for the residents who live there,” she said.

Chief Deputy Public Defender Neil Quinn, who represented the alleged gang members in the civil case, could not be reached for comment.

Bysshe approved the preliminary injunction on June 1, 2004.

The permanent order includes an opt-out provision, which gives individuals served the opportunity to be eventually dropped from the injunction.

Under the provision, the individual must renounce ties with gang life, declare consistent employment for a year and declare that he or she has not been arrested in five years.

In his statement, Bysshe said the purpose of the injunction is not only to curtail crimes committed by Colonia Chiques, but also to prevent the gang from attracting new members.

“The police and the community at large must develop methods and means to change those young people … and to begin to address the root causes which prompt young people to join gangs in the first place,” Bysshe wrote.

Under the injunction terms, alleged Colonia Chiques gang members who are served cannot associate with other members, wear Dallas Cowboys attire, stay out past 10 p.m., or engage in other gang-related activities in the 6.6-square-mile “safety zone” around Oxnard’s La Colonia neighborhood.

Violators face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Since the preliminary injunction was implemented a year ago, there has been a 61 percent drop in violent crimes committed by Colonia Chiques gang members, Assistant Police Chief Chuck Hookstra said. Eighty-four people were served and 64 arrests were made under the preliminary injunction, said Oxnard Police Department Detective Neail Holland. He said police will serve those individuals again under the permanent injunction.

“All of the gang members served under the preliminary (injunction) are no longer under that authority,” he said, “so we will be out there looking for them.”

Some community members said they will continue to work with Chiques Community Coalition Organizing for Rights, Equity, Employment and Education, or C.O.R.E., to focus on nonpunitive programs to prevent gang violence.

“Gang violence is the symptom of a larger problem,” said community activist Francisco Romero. “They find an easy scapegoat, which are the bald-headed, baggy pants-wearing, young Mexicans. The judge poetically sidestepped the key concerns the community has with this injunction.”

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