Los Angeles prosecutors will seek a criminal injunction targeting potentially hundreds of so-called commuter drug dealers who travel to skid row from other parts of the city to sell their goods, says the Los Angeles Times. The paper called it “an aggressive new tactic in the city’s crackdown on the West Coast’s largest drug bazaar.” The injunction, if approved by a judge, would ban the 80 named dealers from skid row and would allow authorities to expand the list by as many as 300 additional names over time.
The idea prompted protests from some homeless advocates and civil liberties activists who say it would give too much power to police and could prevent some people from receiving drug treatment or other services located in skid row. The way to tackle the area’s drug problem, they say, is to fund more programs for drug rehabilitation. The plan was announced yesterday by s’ top law enforcement officials — Police Chief Charlie Beck, Sheriff Lee Baca, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and District Attorney Steve Cooley — during a raucous news conference Wednesday in the heart of skid row. Shouting protesters, some of them homeless, surrounded the speakers, prompting police officers to push into the crowd.