Ca. Prosecutors Go After Gang Members 1 to 500

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An effort by prosecutors to battle an Oxnard, Ca., gang by preventing members from associating with each other is to broad, the defense argues. The Los Angeles Times says the dispute involves the Ventura County district attorney’s office for an injunction against the Colonia Chiques, reportedly the county’s largest and most violent street gang. A hearing is set for May 24.

The order could impose sweeping restrictions on hundreds of gang members in a designated “safety zone” that would cover about one-fourth of the city. Violators would face misdemeanor charges for flashing gang signs, wearing Dallas Cowboys clothing, staying out past 10 p.m., and socializing with one another. Similar injunctions have been upheld by the California Supreme Court.

“The plaintiff relies on 133 supporting declarations from members of the Oxnard Police Department, alleging ‘gang’ control of parks and neighborhoods, yet fails to produce even one declaration from a resident, business owner, or simply a person that frequents or works within the ‘safety zone,’ ” said attorneys for gang members. The injunction is sought against “the Colonia Chiques, an Unincorporated Association,” and members identified only as “Does, 1 through 500.” If approved, it would give law enforcement “at least 500 cracks at stigmatizing any citizen it desires,” the lawyers said.

Prosecutor Karen Wold said, “We know who the gang members are and they know who they are.” Without identifying specific individuals, the injunction can be applied against future gang members as well as against the 1,000 Colonia Chiques thought to be active, she said.

Link: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-vngang13may13,1,5722337.story?coll=la-headlines-california

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