Editorial: Keeping criminals at bay in Bayview

Today in Department 301 of the Superior Court, Judge Peter Busch will decide whether to grant City Attorney Dennis Herrera a preliminary injunction against the Oakdale Mob. If that sounds like the workaday stuff the briefcase toters routinely busy themselves with at the McAllister Street courthouse, think again.

If Judge Busch favors Herrera, as we earnestly hope he does, he will be helping to introduce a novel form of crime fighting to the Bay Area. On Oct. 30 — coincidentally, the day before the Halloween shooting spree in the Castro — the judge issued a temporary restraining order against these excessively violent criminals.

The injunction, which prohibits named Oakdale Mob members from gathering within a four-block area of Bayview-Hunters Point, suggested The City was moving forward — finally and seriously — to carry out its first responsibility. (That would be public safety, to those who thought it was combating global warming).

Civil injunctions, as opposed to criminal prosecutions, explain District Attorney Kamala Harris’ eager cooperation with the city attorney. As a supplemental tool, they have shown success in some Southern California communities. It’s refreshing to see The City’s law enforcement officials resist the “not invented here” syndrome.

San Francisco, of course, enjoys a proud civil libertarian tradition. So, sure enough, The City has met resistance from Oakdale Mob counsel, which protests the injunction with feeble arguments about how it interferes with the freedom of individuals to associate with one another, never mind that such associations form with the intent to commit crimes.

The City has circumscribed this four-block “turf” because, Herrera alleges, the Mob uses it to conduct illegal drug sales, carjackings, armed robberies, aggravated assaults and homicides. Oakdale members are suspects in at least 12 killings since 2002. Residents find the area unlivable, sometimes dropping to the floors for safety as bullets spray their interior walls.

Focusing on the liberties of these residents must be the priority of The City. It is, after all, a civil liberty to cross your own living room in an upright position, to stroll your neighborhood cheerfully, to watch your children play outside unmolested. No gang member’s “liberty” to conduct nefarious business compares.

Harris reports that 21 of the 22 gang members named in the injunction don’t even live in San Francisco.These commuter criminals actually make their way from Fairfield, Pinole, Vallejo and Daly City. Since Judge Busch issued his temporary restraining order, effectively throwing up an invisible force field around those four blocks, no arrests have been made.

That’s not owing to police ineptitude. Rather, the gang bangers stay clear, knowing what’s in store for them if they return to their old turf. We’d call that evidence of success, and we may only hope Judge Busch recognizes it as such.

editorialsOpinion

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Organizer Jas Florentino, left, explains the figures which represent 350 kidnapped Africans first sold as slaves in the United States in 1619 in sculptor Dana King’s “Monumental Reckoning.” The installation is in the space of the former Francis Scott Key monument in Golden Gate Park. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What a reparations program would look like in The City

‘If there’s any place we can do it, it’s San Francisco’

Officer Joel Babbs at a protest outside the Hall of Justice in 2017 (Bay City News file photo)
The strange and troubling story of Joel Babbs: What it tells us about the SFPD

The bizarre and troubling career of a whistle-blowing San Francisco police officer… Continue reading

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a COVID-19 update at the City College of San Francisco mass vaccination site in April. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Gavin Newsom under COVID: The governor dishes on his pandemic life

By Emily Hoeven CalMatters It was strange, after 15 months of watching… Continue reading

People fish at a dock at Islais Creek Park on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What Islais Creek tells us about rising sea levels in San Francisco

Islais Creek is an unassuming waterway along San Francisco’s eastern industrial shoreline,… Continue reading

Deputy public defender Chris Garcia outside the Hall of Justice on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
As pandemic wanes, SF public defender hopes clients will get ‘their day in court’

Like other attorneys in San Francisco, Deputy Public Defender Chris Garcia has… Continue reading

Most Read