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Echo Park Gang Injunction Hearings to Move Forward

A judge ruled Wednesday morning to allow the hearings to continue despite the unofficial presence of an opposition lawyer who asked for a continuance.

Photo Credit: Marla Schevker
Photo Credit: Marla Schevker

A judge in the Stanley Mosk Courthouse ruled Wednesday to allow the gang injunction process to move forward. 

A strictly procedural ruling, this allows the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office to serve the six gangs named in the inunction complaint with a complaint summoning said Deputy City Attorney Jim McDougal.

The case was heard in a full courtroom by Judge Abraham Khan, who allowed the case to go forward because the motion was officially unopposed. Attorney Donald Hammond appeared specially for the opposition but said he had been pulled into the courtroom at the last minute and could not name a specific organization he was there representing.

“I was recently asked to give involved in this and I haven’t had the opportunity to file an opposition let alone do thorough research,” Hammond said.

Hammond, who has done work with anti gang injunction organization Youth Justice Coalition, asked for a brief continuance to get an opposition in order, which was subsequently denied by the judge because he could not tell one specific defendant he was representing and the judge needed “something more definitive.”

McDougal told the court he would sit down and talk with Hammond, if Hammond chose to take on the case, but was concerned about putting the hearing on hold because he’d “been burned before.”

Following the proceeding, a group of people from the Youth Justice Coalition gathered outside of the courthouse to protest the gang injunction. Chanting sayings such as “we don’t need a gang injunction, we’re just out here trying to function” and “up with education, down with gentrification,” they were trying to educate passersby on the negative impacts of the gang injunction on the community.

The proposed injunction creates a safe zone that covers approximately 3.8 miles and includes Echo Park, Elysian Valley and parts of Silver Lake. It covers six gangs and precludes them from congregating or otherwise associating in public areas. 

Monday night, the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council held a public safety forum that brought together individuals both in favor of and against the injunction.

LAPD officer Greg McManus said crime in Los Angeles is down but that gang crime is disproportionately large.

 “Of the members of the six gangs, we’re looking at approximately 320 folks and of those folks, they commit in many of those districts over 1/3 of the total crime,” McManus said. “We have about 320 gang members out of about 60,000 residents committing approximately 30 percent or more of the overall crime.”

Ana Muniz Ph.D., who has partnered with the Youth Justice Coalition, said from her research, gang injunctions don’t reduce crime over long-term.  

“(There is the) spill over effect,” Muniz said. “The crime goes to the neighborhood next to it or a city over.”

A big concern for opponents of the gang injunction and for Silver Lake residents is what happens to people who need to get off of the gang injunction.

Assistant City Attorney Anne Tremblay said there are non-judicial ways for people named in the injunction to get themselves off of it. There is a petition for removal process available on the City Attorney’s website.

At a Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council meeting last month, City Attorney Mike Feuer came out in support of the injunction as one tool in the fight against gang crimes in Los Angeles. 

According to the Los Angeles Superior Court, the next scheduled meeting is a case management conference on October 30 in Department 51 of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. 

schoolsnotjails August 21, 2013 at 09:40 PM
I am a Silverlake resident of nine years and a former high school teacher at Marshall High School. I also attended the meeting on Monday. I felt the panel gave plenty of time to both sides to articulate their view points.. I did not hear a single argument that could legitimize the need for a gang injunction now. Crime in the area is at a twenty year low. The pro side could not produce concrete facts that prove there is recent gang activity that warrants an injunction. On the other side, many innocent youth are unjustly placed on the gang database. The injunction including court costs and incarcernation for petty, non-violent crimes(ie. being out past curfew) is extremely costly and not necessarily effective. For a fraction of the cost, programs that support prevention are more effective. I am extremely offended by the masked racism in comments by those who claim the meeting was full of "scary people". I saw concerned working class, Latino long term residents, fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters attend. . Please don't defer to decades of bad media coverage that has dehumanized Latino families. They are the heart of this city and keep it moving. Get to know what you don't know. NO TO GANG INJUNCTIONS. YES TO PREVENTION and SERVICES FOR YOUTH.
Johnny Barrister August 22, 2013 at 09:38 PM
First of all take advice to your own words "Get to know what you don't know". You have lived in Silverlake for the past nine years and you were not here when the gang presence was higher. I grew up in "Frogtown" and I still live in the neighborhood. I have seen first hand what gang presence bring to the neighborhood. I have seen generations and generations of family gang members in the neighborhood. Luckily most have left but growing up and having to put up with their rude and barbaric behavior was the worst. I wish we could bring back the neighborhood to how it was fifteen years ago so you could experience it and we would see if you change your mind. By the way fifteen years ago the police would not show up when you called them now they do. Hopefully they can continue to push these gang members to other neighborhoods or cities. We do not need them here. They do not contribute anything.
Johnny Barrister August 22, 2013 at 09:42 PM
Actually I take it back let's get rid of all these hipsters who have moved in the last ten years and bring back all the cholos. The neighborhood was better then. LOL!
schoolsnotjails August 25, 2013 at 01:27 AM
I was here when the gang presence was higher. Lived in silverlake during the early 90's as well. I experienced a shooting outside of my window during that time. The neighborhood is not what it was like 15 years ago, and there is no need for a gang injunction now.
Johnny Barrister September 05, 2013 at 12:40 AM
I actually know who you are now. I remember your class. You had terrible classroom management and I think maybe pushed out of Marshall because you were a weak teacher.

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