Alleged gang members forbidden to mingle
Thursday, September 9, 1999, Associated Press
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — They may live next door to one another, pass each other on the sidewalk or wait in the same grocery store line. But 32 neighbors are under strict orders to ignore each other.
In an effort to crack down on two gangs, a San Antonio judge Tuesday laid down a two-year injunction prohibiting alleged members of the groups from associating, spraying graffiti paint or recruiting new members.
Similar injunctions are in place in California and Austin, but this is the largest group in Texas ordered to split up.
Through 2001, a street huddle could earn the San Antonio youths a year in jail.
“I am delighted,” neighborhood association president Rosa Maria Perez was quoted as saying in the San Antonio Express-News. “We believe it is a godsend for the community.”
Gunshots that once echoed in the streets around her home have fallen silent since the temporary injunction was placed, she said.
A defense attorney for 18-year-old Jay Vera said he will appeal the order. Attorney Fernando Cortez’ client is one of the teens authorities say is a member of the mostly Hispanic group.
“If this is so successful, why not use it against a white supremacist group?” Cortez said. “They exist here, too.”
In July 1998, State District Judge Wilford Flowers said there would be imminent and irreparable harm done to an Austin neighborhood if he did not bar five people from certain activities there.
Besides being together, those activities include loitering around pay phones; using pay phones and pagers in the neighborhood to facilitate a crime; using abusive, harassing or threatening language; and hanging around several businesses and apartment complexes.