San Francisco supervisors questioned The City’s use of gang injunctions Monday as dozens of residents and activists packed a City Hall hearing room to complain of abuses.
The City’s first injunction, a civil court order banning members of a street gang from congregating in a certain area, was approved in November 2006.
Supervisor Chris Daly sponsored Monday’s hearing before the supervisors’ Public Safety Committee, held a year after he voted in favor of a resolution supporting the city attorney’s decision toimpose a gang injunction zone in the Bayview district.
On Monday Daly called it, “one of the few votes I’ve made in the last seven years that I regret making.”
The supervisor, along with Public Defender Jeff Adachi, said the injunction has led to racial profiling, the displacement of crime, wrongful accusations and other abuses that have become clear now that three injunctions are in place across The City.
City attorney spokesman Matt Dorsey defended the injunctions, saying that officers now have the tools to bring peace to communities scarred by gang violence. He added that the city attorney is open to working out some of the issues that have come up.
Daly said Monday he is prepared to introduce legislation that would set strict standards as to what defines a gang member. He also expressed concerns, along with Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, that many individuals on the injunction list have never been convicted of a crime and they can’t get off the list unless they go before a judge.
Dorsey said each individual included in a gang injunction is identified as a gang member and put up to the strict scrutiny of a judge before being added to the list.
“The idea of a civil court process is so we can target and disrupt gang activity before it reaches the level of felony crime,” Dorsey said.
Many of the public speakers Monday were rallying behind a Thanksgiving Day arrest in the heart of the Oakdale public housing complex, the site of The City’s first gang injunction.
As The Examiner reported Monday, police entered a home to arrest a 20-year-old man listed on the injunction. The man’s aunt claimed police barged into her home just as she left the shower and brutalized her nephew as she stood naked.
The officers were in pursuit of a suspect who was wanted on at least three felony warrants, according to police Sgt. Steve Mannina, who added that the gang task force was not involved in the arrest.
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