Oppose the Gang Injunctions!!
Gang Injunctions are a failed tactic that has been used by law enforcement agencies across the country in an effort to reduce gang violence. In essence, these civil injunctions place a blanket restraining order against a targeted "gang." Last year, Oakland's City Attorney John Russo filed for injunctions in a historically African American neigborhood in North Oakland, and is now after the Latino community in the Fruitvale District.
PDF is proud to have supported the Stop the Injunction Coalition, a community led coalition made up of residents, organizers, teachers, and others concered about their community. The coalition is led by many PDF grantees, including Critical Resistance, All of Us or None, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and others.
The gang injunctions have become a hotly debated topic in PDF's backyard, with the issue receiving heavy news coverage. On the evening of February 22nd, more than 250 people packed City Hall during a Public Safety Committee hearing to voice their concerns. This was the most recent of several public gatherings organized by community leaders opposed to the injunctions.
People who are named on the injunctions are placed on a curfew from 10PM to 5AM, and have to live with many other restrictions such as associating with their friends in public. Because of the civil nature of the injunctions, defendants do not have the right to a court appointed attorney and the burden of proof is on them. If the Police Department and the City Attorney thinks you are in a gang, then you can be placed on the list. At least 15 of the 40 individuals named in the Fruitvale Injunctions claim that they are not gang members.
Community organizers fear that this will lead to more racial profiling, and have also raised concerns about the $750,000 that the injunctions have cost the city during major budget shortfalls.
Recently, PDF grantee Critical Resistance published an excellent report, "Betraying the Model City: How Gang Injunctions Fail Oakland," The study talks about what the gang injunctions are, their cost to the community and it's potential impact on public safety. The report is available for free online, and we urge eveyrone concerned with the mass incarceration of young people and people of color to take a look by clicking HERE!