City Attorney files suit
against four San Francisco gangs
CIty Attorney Dennis Herrera is joined by Sheriff Michael Hennessey,
Police Chief Heather Fong, Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi and Tom
Ammiano at a City Hall press conference Thursday to announced
the filing of injunctive civil complaints against four San Francisco
gangs in an effort to curb gang violence and to return San Francisco's
violence-plagued streets to law abiding citizens.
By Tamara Barak
June 22, 2007
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera Thursday filed lawsuits
against four criminal street gangs in the violence-plagued Western
Addition and Mission districts.
The civil complaints mark the beginning of a process in which
Herrera will seek out injunctions to bar known gang members from
associating with each other, loitering or engaging in nuisance
behavior within neighborhood "safety zones."
"San Francisco is witnessing an explosion in gang violence
and our neighborhoods are caught in the crossfire," Herrera
City Attorney Dennis Herrera
Civil gang injunctions have proven effective at deterring crime
both in San Francisco and other cities like Los Angeles and San
Jose, Herrera said.
In November, a judge granted Herrera's motion for the city's
first-ever civil gang injunction against
the Oakdale Mob, a violent criminal enterprise that had operated
in the Bayview Hunter's Point area for more than a decade.
That injunction has resulted in a 75 percent reduction in police
calls to the protected area, Herrera said.
The lawsuits filed Thursday would target the Western Addition-based
Eddy Rock, Chopper City and Knock Out Posse gangs and the Mission-based
Herrera said the Western Addition gangs are suspected of committing
the rash of shootings that have left one dead and 12 injured since
The proposed safety zone for the Knock Out Posse and Chopper
City gangs include a six block area north of Turk Street to Ellis
Street, between Divisadero and Steiner streets.
The safety zone for the Eddy Rock gang is a four-block area that
also lies north of Turk to Ellis streets and is bordered to the
west by Webster Street and to the east by Gough Street.
The Nortenos, a nationally recognized violent street gang with
an estimated 300 members in San Francisco, claim a large portion
of the southeastern Mission District as its turf, Herrera said.
Police say there have been 18 murders since 2004 in which Nortenos
were involved. Last weekend, a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed
in Norteno territory at 24th and Harrison streets.
Herrera's proposed safety zone would cover an area north of Cesar
Chavez Street between Valencia Street and Potrero Avenue. Police
estimate there have been 59 assaults - 55 of them involving weapons
- involving Nortenos within the proposed zone since 2005.
Civil injunctions are critical in securing neighborhoods where
violence has become an epidemic, Herrera said.
"This is not a panacea, but it is a tool meant to complement
other services," he said.
But not everyone is happy about Herrera's plan. Daniel Landry,
38, founded the Western Addition gang KOP that Herrera refers
to as Knock Out Posse, but Landry says is called Kings Original.
Landry has since given up gang life and is now the executive
director of the African American Community Police Relations Board.
Landry said the proposed injunctions raise serious civil liberty
concerns. He said he worries that his old "KOP" tattoos
will automatically make him a target for an overzealous gang task
force emboldened by the injunctions.
"We cannot allow this city to violate people's constitutional
and civil rights in the name of fighting crime," Landry said.
Daniel Landry (center)
Herrera claims the injunction will only affect those whose gang
ties have been documented recently.
Landry said that innocent people in the Western Addition already
feel harassed by police, and worries that the measure will contribute
to the trend of black San Franciscans leaving the city.
"I don't think moving young African American men out of
the city is good for the city family," he said.
Landry said the proposed injunctions thwart a peace plan his
organization has been trying to implement.
"We think the city is dropping the ball on this," he
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