General Crime

* Oaklands North Side Gang injunction left unchanged after review by Judge Robert Freedman

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An Alameda County Superior Court judge today said he saw no reason to alter an injunction granted to the city of Oakland earlier this year against a street gang in the northern part of the city.The injunction, which was granted on June 3 against 15 members of the North Side Oakland gang, was under review by Judge Robert Freedman at a status hearing in Oakland today.The injunction prevents those 15 people from associating with one another in public and from being on the street between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., with exceptions allowed for work, school, religious activities or emergencies.Freedman said he found “nothing that suggests there’s been an intrusion” on the civil rights of people in the community, and he left the injunction intact. Another hearing will be held next year to determine whether the injunction will be made permanent. Attorney Michael Haddad, who represents Yancie Young, one of the 15 people targeted by the injunction, disagreed about the civil rights issue.”You can’t label someone a gang member and say they can’t leave their home,” Haddad said. “That’s house arrest.”He said Oakland should”fight crime by good policing, not by violating people’s rights.”The decision also dismayed injunction opponents such as Jory Steele, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, which opposes the injunction.Steele said she has not seen any evidence that the injunction is working and was disappointed that no proof was presented at today’s hearing.David Lyon, one of the attorneys representing the city, said during today’s hearing that officers have reported not seeing the individuals named in the injunction.”No one has been cited due to the injunction,” he said.City Attorney John Russo, who announced Wednesday that Oakland is seeking a second injunction against another street gang, has said it is too early to provide quantitative data on whether crime in the area is going down thanks to the injunction.The city’s counsel today also announced plans to add at least three more alleged North Side Oakland gang members to the injunction in the coming weeks.Many injunction opponents protested outside the courthouse prior to today’s hearing. The Stop the Injunction Coalition criticized both the North Side Oakland injunction and the one proposed Wednesday against the Norteno gang in central Oakland.Jerry Elster, one of the rally organizers, said the city needs to “bring the community together, not separate them” with actions such as injunctions.”Enfranchise them, make them a part of the system. Don’t exclude them,” Elster said. “The community has to work together. There are problems that need to be addressed, but gang injunctions aren’t the solution.”

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