Injunction dysfunction - Page 4

City attorney uses controversial tool against gang violence, a move critics and gang members say may do more harm than good
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Rev. Reynaldo Woods and Michael Green of Up from Darkness
Photo by Nathan Weyland

In Bayview, only one of 22 targeted members lived in the housing complex, whereas a total of seven of 19 identified members of Eddy Rock live within that purposed safety zone, according to the City Attorney's Office.

"The restrictions that are proposed in this injunction go far beyond what is necessary to address the nuisance the city attorney claims is being caused by gang violence," Fox-Davis said.

But Herrera says the "nuisance" amounts to communities being terrorized by violence and his office would be remiss to not address the problem. A total of 11 homicides in three years have been linked to the three Western Addition gangs, according to court documents.

"I've never been one to say we should be dissuading communities from being involved and trying find solutions and making contributions to solving the problem. To me it's not mutually exclusive. It's not an either-or proposition. I think it's important that we get the community to be a vital stakeholder in trying to stem the tide of violence," Herrera said. "But there has to be accountability."

To quell critics' concerns, Herrera said his office has included numerous safeguards, including training cops to properly enforce the injunctions. Targeted members also have a "buyout option," meaning if they can prove that they are no longer involved in gang activity, they can appeal to have their names removed from the list.

Herrera points to the perceived success of the injunction in Bayview as proof that the tactic is effective in restoring calm and peace to neighborhoods once plagued with murder. Herrera also notes that the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution almost unanimously that supported injunctions by the city attorney.

Mirkarimi, however, said his support of the current injunctions being sought was "tentative at best" and said he considered them "an act of desperation." He too said community work and traditional police enforcement — like the 24-hour patrols — are better ways of addressing the root causes of gang violence.

The alleged members of Eddy Rock agree.

"We just need something to do," said Maurice Carter, 32. "We did the crime, we did the time. Now we just want a second chance."

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