Judge considering gang injunction in Santa Ana

SEAN EMERY (OC Register) | July 29, 2014

Chicanos Unidos of Orange County at injunction hearingAn Orange County Superior Court judge is considering whether to approve a new gang injunction in Santa Ana, but on Tuesday decided against immediately ruling on the proposed order that would add more than two dozen residents to an “enforcement list” targeting suspected gang members.

Judge Franz E. Miller indicated that he hopes to make a decision by the end of next week on whether to approve the injunction, which is aimed at restricting the actions of suspected gang members in less than half a square mile of the city, where authorities say gang-related violence has spiked in recent years.

Flanked by photos depicting guns, tattoos, graffiti and other images tied to the Townsend Street gang, Orange County District Attorney’s Office Chief of Staff Susan Kang Schroeder described the area as “blighted by crime,” noting that residents are afraid to take action against gang members. Schroeder said the terms of the injunction would help prevent suspected gang members from “acting like gang members.”

Opponents argued that the injunction is too broad, that it would criminalize youth in the area and that those served with the injunction haven’t been given enough opportunity to challenge police assertions that they are involved in gang violence. They argue the funding that goes toward injunctions could be better used on other community efforts.

“Gang injunctions are imposed on communities where relationships between police and the community are very fragile,” said Gabriela Hernandez, a member of Chicanos Unidos. “This is a huge violation of our civil rights.”

Gang injunctions are civil orders restricting the actions of individuals who police have identified as criminal street gang members within designated “safety zones,” where investigators have documented increases in gang activity and crime. The orders typically bar individuals from activities such as associating with other identified gang members, drug sales, public consumption of alcohol , wearing gang clothes or showing gang signs. Failing to abide by the terms of the injunction can lead to a misdemeanor charge of violating a court order.

Read more at: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/gang-630094-injunction-injunctions.html

Photo credit: MINDY SCHAUER/OC Register

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