S.F. seeks injunctions to curb gang violence

As violence intensifies in two San Francisco neighborhoods, City Attorney Dennis Herrera is expected to announce today that he is seeking civil injunctions against street gangs in those areas.

Both the Mission district and the Western Addition have seen a spate of shootings and stabbings in recent days. Police have not said definitively that the violence is gang-related, but both neighborhoods are notorious for gang activity.

Last November, Herrera won a civil court order against the notorious Oakdale Mob gang in the Bayview district. The injunction makes specified activities such as loitering, drug dealing, grafitti tagging or simply two or more named individuals from associating within a four-block “safety zone” a criminal misdemeanor.

Opponents of such injunctions, which have been used in Southern California since the 1980s, say they violate First Amendment rights to assembly and speech.

A city official who asked not to be named confirmed Wednesday that Herrera is seeking similar injunctions against gangs in the Mission and Western Addition. Herrera, with the backing of the San Francisco Police Department, has proclaimed the Bayview injunction a success at driving violence from the Oakdale housing project that is incorporated in the “safe area.”

The Mission district, historically the site of violence between rival Latino gangs the Norteños and Sureños, has experienced two fatal shootings and a nonfatal stabbing in four days.

On Sunday, a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed near the intersection of 24th and Harrison streets. On Tuesday night, a man was taken to San Francisco General Hospital after he was stabbed in a robbery on 24th and Shotwell streets. Early Wednesday morning, 20-year-old Marques Davis, of San Francisco, was shot to death near the intersection of 16th and Mission streets.

In January, San Francisco police Officer Henry Espinoza, who works with gangs in the Mission district, said Sureños control the area around Mission Street between 20th and 16th streets. The Norteños claim the 24th Street corridor between Mission Street and Potrero Avenue, he said.

An officer at the scene of the stabbing Tuesday night said the violence may continue to increase with the onset of warm summer weather.

In the Western Addition, six children and one adult were injured last week in two shootings police said were the result of a feud between groups from different public housing developments. The shootings occurred within hours of each other near the intersection of Friendship Court and McAllister Street, the Friendship Village housing project.

amartin@examiner.com

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