Is a “Gang Injunction” a violation of rights?

Simple question up for discussion this morning.  During my morning blog hopping I spotted a post on the Crime Scene Blog regarding a series of arrests against the Puente 13 for alleged drug and weapons trafficking.  A total of 17 arrest so far with the bulk of them out here in far east LA. 

It was a straight forward post.  The comments are what got my attention and made me think for a minute.  Commenter FX wrote:

“What a shock a sureno gang involved in drug trafficking. I hope they are not going to seek a gang injunction against the Puente-13 gang and violate their rights.

I wonder if the Puente-13 gang will get richo rewards, oops RICO, RICO, RICO”

FX makes an interesting statement.  I’ve seen gang injunctions all over the place and have gotten mixed reports on the effectiveness.  Mixed because what I’ve seen is the gang just moves over a block outside the injunction area and resumes business or just ignores it.  

Side bar, out of curiosity I did a quick google search that gave me a bit describing “sureno” as a splinter group of “la eme” also known as the Mexican Mafia. 

Up for discussion and debate, coming right off FX comment, do you think a “gang injunction” is a violation of rights?  If so what rights?

8 thoughts on “Is a “Gang Injunction” a violation of rights?”

  1. Quite frankly, I consider RICO to be a violation of the 4th amendment. How can they seize you property even though you have not been convicted of a crime. And if you are subsequently not convicted of the crime for which they stole your property, TFB, you property is gone.

    Anyway, I do not feel that gang injunctions fall into this category. The gang injunction prohibits gang members from congregating within the injunction area. The first amendment grants us the right to “assemble peaceably”. It is not freedom of assembly, as it is so often referred to. If a gang is dealing drugs and committing other crimes, they are definitely not assembling peaceably.

  2. Now there’s a can of worms.

    The gang injunction was upheld by the state Supreme Court as constitutional in 1997 classifying congregating gangs as a public nuisance, but it’s been successfully challenged in Illinois in, I think, 99? But that was struck due to vague wording in the law.

    At its core, the issue is that the movements of a large group of people have been curtailed without due process. Philosophically, I have a problem with that, but realistically, I see that argument as a bit of a stretch. I think the public nuisance argument is just as valid.

    I think less the constitutional issue, which I think you could keep debating and never get anywhere with, is the effectiveness question. Do gang injunctions work at all?

    They’re part of the whole preventive policing strategy and there are arguments on both sides of it. They’ve got a lot of holes that cause their own problems (wrong people getting on the lists, mistaken identities, community anger and a sense that they’re being targeted), but it’s one of the few tools the police actually have.

    Personally, I’d like to see some better policies come into play that focus on dealing with the problem at the community level. It would be nice to see an actual anti-gang strategy rather than this scattered mess of competing groups with different political or religious agendas.

    I don’t know if sticking all of the anti-gang programs under the mayor is a good idea, but we need a more cohesive strategy.

  3. Sblackmoore, now there is an idea one gang control resource or agency. I agree not under the mayor, anyones mayor as this is much bigger than any one city. A county level probably better, if we were to go to one for the whole state we are going to get too much lost in a shuffle as each county tries to get more.

  4. Oh, I don’t know about a County level. On the one hand, gangs don’t stay within one predefined area and leaving it up to Torrance to do something about East Side Torrance while L.A. handles the 204th Streeters, for example, kind of defeats the purpose.

    On the other hand, the county has managed to screw up so many other things, I’m not sure I would trust them, either.

    I think you have a valid point about the state level creating a pigs at the trough mentality for funds, but coordinating things from a state level might also help bring in more Federal funding. Of course, I’m probably dreaming.

  5. Gang injunctions prove ineffective in the long run. Crime is reduced immediately, the gang either sets up shop 2 blocks over or waits until the heat dies down and unleashes a wave of pent up youngster fury.

    Alhtough far from role models, the older generation of a gangs is arrested, leaving the youngsters with little guidance (laugh all you want, but older gangsters are much more delegation minded than war minded as opposed to hot headed younger chavalos) and a lot of weaponry and revenge against rivals. The crime explosion in south LA in the 80s was partly due to drugs but also because the older banger generation had been getting locked up more frequently and the young bucks were left to their own devices.

    As a kid who grew up around injunctions and knows the community effects firsthand, I will assert the injunction is a violation of the rights of the community who will most definitely get harassed. Not so much the jerks from the actual gang, but more on all the folks around them. Can you imagine if we treated corporate crime the same way? Creating injunctions after too many white collar thefts occur in a specific CBD, and then auditing the entire business community because of their geographic proximity to the problem or vague relationship to the culprit? White America would go apeshite about personal rights…

  6. BTW Fraz,
    Surenos is not an offshoot of La Eme, it’s a category of chicano gangmembers (generally south of the king/kern county divider)that was formed after the norte/sur prison gang split in the 1970s. It basically means every cholo South of Merced is a Sureno, and every cholo north is a norteno. Now it gets tricky:

    In LA and almost all of Southern Califas there are no Nortenos, down here we pick each other off just fine and need no help. In NorCal there are both Surenos and Nortenos, the nortes being the established chicano gang establishment of numerous gangs (Mission15th st in SF to Salas 14 in salinas) and the surenos being the community response to their bullying, kind of like how the bloods formed in response to the crips. In the north, surenos wear blue and nortenos wear red, and they trip off of these colors just as a black gangster would in Compton.

    I am quite familiar with P13, having lived a few years in Barrios Ballista and blackwood Puente. Having just moved to Puente from Boyle Heights I thought the area looked like a mayberry utopia, and the P13 gang war with Valinda Flats let me know that this was not the best area. The gang is old and huge (like El Monte Flores) to the point where there are several major clicks (rama, dial, ballista, blackwood, esp13 and a few others) that do not get along with each other. Last year over 30 people died in LP/Valinda, only behind Compton in Sherriff’s divisions murder counts. This might be of interest to you Fraz, as i was told by someone high up that this murder jump was no big deal to policymakers because “the cholos are just picking one another off” and that the SGV tribune was hyping it up. I didnt follow her advice about it “not being so bad” and got ghetto passes to do some community work, and boy it was hot over there.

  7. Arrt, thanks for the additional information on the gang splits, what I got was from the one article. You certainly know them better than others.

    It bothers me when ever any one group starts “picking off another” regardless if they are similar or different gang or ethnic affiliations. I doubt the SGVTrib is hyping as it is what it is, if the policymakers truly don’t see it as a big deal then I am concerned with their mentality as it puts us all at risk.

  8. I agree fraz, I used to live in Puente and was horrified to hear those words out of their mouth ( I wont say who).

    I grew up in a family with a lot of gangmembers, my gramps was from whitefence back in the 1930s. I had lots of friends and acquaintances in the gang element, and as a youngster involved in random illicit activity navigated the geopolitics of LA gang territory. I also grew up in projects where CRASH wreaked havoc and the injunction stuff first went down. A lot of people of people think that because of my background and often progressive views that I am making excuses or trying to justify this madness, that is far from the truth. I have been robbed, stabbed, shot, jumped, picked on, lost loved ones and friends to, and overall had to deal with a much more miserable environment because of gangs and gang members, I by far have no affinity or reason to excuse gangs or their behavior. I analyzed the issue and players in the most objective fashion I can, and from my relationships have been able to look at bangers for the weak overcompensatory human beings they are, and I see SO MUCh energy and oftentimes intelligence wasted on such a horrible epidemic. The worst part is that the neighborhoods that this wasted energy and resources come from could use all the help they can get. Our nonprofit was initially to spread art awareness and interest to kids and adolescents in working class areas, but by default of who was on the streets bugging us and who we had to befriend to keep tagging off our murals, we began working with local gangs around our murals and never really stopped.

    I have 2 young boys now myself, and oftentimes contemplate moving htem up to the bay area or other pacific northwest where things are much more tame and the quality of life is better for kids. my nephews and their other cousins already have shaved heads and act a little punkish, and that scares the heck out of me. If we stay in LA (my hometown that I love deeply) I hope to, and actually am, aiding in helping divert the enrgy of gangs into more positive outputs in the hood, and would love to talk to law enforcement and policy makers about how we can address the gang problem in a positive manner that doesnt lock everyone up.

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