granted City's second gang injunction
By Ari Burack
October 16, 2007
A San Francisco Superior Court judge has granted the city's
second civil injunction against criminal street gangs, this time
against 30 alleged Norteno gang members in the Mission District.
Superior Court Judge Patrick Mahoney on Friday granted City Attorney
Dennis Herrera a preliminary injunction covering an area north
of Cesar Chavez Street, between Valencia Street and Potrero Avenue,
up to parts of 21st and 23rd streets, "one of San Francisco's
most violence-prone neighborhoods," according to the City
The 60-block "safety zone," known to be Norteno turf
area, prohibits the 30 alleged gang members named in the injunction
from gang-related activities such as possessing weapons or drugs,
graffiti vandalism, trespassing, gang recruitment, associating
with other gang members and loitering between 10 p.m. and 5:30
Violation of the injunction could result in monetary penalties
or up to five days in jail for each violation under civil prosecution,
or up to six months in jail under criminal prosecution, the City
Attorney's office reported.
Enforcement of the injunction "will address the serious
problems these individuals have caused to the neighborhood and
its residents, while safeguarding civil liberties," Herrera
said in a written statement yesterday.
San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced that his
client, 23-year-old Antonio Buitrago, one of the alleged gang
members included the City Attorney's original request, was ordered
excluded by Mahoney from the injunction.
According to Adachi, Buitrago's interactions with alleged gang
members were non-criminal. He had been seen with a gang member
at a funeral, recorded a rap song referencing gang culture, and
had once been shot, but was never convicted or arrested for a
crime, Adachi said.
"Today's decision proves that non-gang members are still
at risk of being permanently branded as criminals," Adachi
said in a written statement.
"I am deeply concerned that there are others who couldn't
afford an attorney to fight this injunction, and will now be permanently
restricted from conducting legal, innocent behavior in their own
neighborhood," Adachi added.
Matt Dorsey, a spokesman for Herrera, contended that the evidence
against Buitrago was strong and based on testimony from a police
department expert on the Norteno gang "who personally knows
Mr. Buitrago," he said.
According to Dorsey, Buitrago rapped about guns and selling drugs,
"pretty much glorifying gang culture."
Nevertheless, according to Dorsey, the City Attorney was satisfied
that the majority of those named - "a small number of adult
Norteno gang members whose conduct has clearly demonstrated a
public nuisance," Herrera said S- were included in the injunction.
"Gang injunctions are not a panacea for solving all violent
crime, but they're an important and effective tool that can be
part of the solution," Dorsey said.
Preliminary data from San Francisco police spanning nearly a
year after an injunction granted last September against members
of the Oakdale Mob in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood shows
decreases in gang-related homicides, aggravated assaults, robberies,
drug offenses and other street crimes, the City Attorney's office
The City Attorney's office is currently seeking further injunctions
against the Knock Out Posse, Chopper City and Eddy Rock gangs
in San Francisco's Western Addition district.
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