Thursday, October 27, 2016

Silver Lake council waits to take stance on gang injunction; City Attorney to add time limit to injunction*

By Tony Cella

The Silver Lake Neighborhood Council on Wednesday deferred taking action on a motion to oppose a proposed Echo Park area gang injunction after a representative of the City Attorney defended the injunction, which would include a section of Silver Lake.

City Attorney Michael Feuer plans on adding a five-year time limit on persons served with proposed Echo Park gang injunction, according to the department.

Instead of voting on a motion stating opposition to the gang injunction, the council’s governing body opted instead to send the measure to the public safety committee for discussion by a vote of 11 in support and six opposed with two abstaining.

The injunction would apply to more than 300 members of six rival gangs in an approximately four-square-mile area that includes Echo Park, Elysian Valley and portions of Silver Lake. The injunction would prohibit members of active gangs from associating in public and impose heavier penalties for gang-related crimes committed in the neighborhood. The city claims gang graffiti, spent shell casings and criminals congregating on sidewalks, stoops and parks create an intimidating atmosphere, which infringes on residents’ right to feel free from harm.

Addressing the council before the vote,  Capri Maddox, a representative for the City Attorney, defended the injunction by stating the restrictions affected only documented and “active, not passive” gang members. She also informed the attendees that the injunction was initiated by former city attorney Carmen Trutanich, not the current city attorney Feuer, who is set to implement the injunction.

The city attorney representative claimed the leaders of local gangs won’t be served with the injunction until the end of September at the earliest. After several attendees condemned the measure as extreme, a tool of gentrification and a violation of civil liberties,  Maddox said there was plenty of time for community meetings on the subject.  Although Maddox wasn’t sure if the public would be allowed to speak at an August 21 court hearing over the injunction, Maddox later said she had heard there would be opportunities for public comment.

Board members inquired about the procedure for adding names to the injunction, which has numerous blank slots for individuals to be named, and how the attorney determined who was an active and documented gang member.

Board member Teresa Sitz, who opposes the injunction, asked co-chairs Paul Neuman and Renee Nahum as well as board member Anne-Marie Johnson to excuse themselves from debate because of alleged conflicts of interest. Johnson works for Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge, who has approved funding for gang suppression police measures similar to injunctions in the past. Newman works for councilmember Paul Koretz. Sitz alleged Nahum, Neuman’s wife, shared his income, which Nahum denounced by stating she owned a business and refused Sitz’s request. Neuman and Johnson both proclaimed their ability to “exercise independent judgement.”

Co-chair of the councils Public Safety Committee Nadine Trujillo expressed logistical concerns about holding a meeting about the injunction before the hearing. Since the legal action affected other neighborhoods, Trujillo believed other neighborhood councils should be involved.

Johnson, who voted in favor of the motion, shouted point of order several times to interrupt discussion about Trujillo’s idea. She stated inviting the outside entities wasn’t necessary because the board was debating a motion by the Silver Lake Neighborhood council, not a number of motions in solidarity by a “coalition of neighborhood councils.”

Board member Charles Herman Wurmfeld voted against the motion because he felt it was a human rights issue, not a public safety issue.

Sitz echoed previous critiques of the injunctions implications for civil liberties. If enacted, the city attorney’s action will prohibit known gang members from assembling in public, a right guaranteed by the constitution.

Some members of the public in attendance were upset and felt their voices weren’t heard.

“You’re not listening!” One member shouted.

“I am listening,” said co-chair Clint Lukens. “I’m also trying to hold a public meeting. Thank you for your commentary.”

Earlier board member Dorit Dowler-Guerrero, who opposed sending the motion to the committee, said the council could debate the issue then and should take action, pointing to the number of stakeholders who attended to speak out against the injunction.

The Public Safety Committee meeting on the motion is tentatively scheduled for August 15th, according to board members. After the meeting, Trujillo said the council would have to find a venue.

* Correction & Clarification: A previous version of the story said that a five-year time limit would be imposed on the gang injunction, which would apply only to individuals who had served time. The five-year provision would apply to served members of the gang, not the entire injunction. Also,  individuals do not need to have been previously served time to be included by the injunction. The court order could apply to any active or documented gang member.

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Tony Cella is a freelance reporter who has covered crime and grime in Los Angeles, New York City and the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Click here to contact Cella with questions, comments or concerns.

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  1. Graffiti and Assaults are all too normal in our 600k+ neighborhood. Not ok. Vote yes on the injunction please.

  2. If the city council caves into the multi-national terror groups who destroy our neighborhood, then I have lost all hope in our neighborhood, our government, and our city.

  3. Silver Lake resident

    Shame on these neighborhood council members for being gang sympathizers! They should all be outed from their positions as they clearly don’t have the best interests of Silver Lake’s citizens in mind when they cast their votes.

    • This isn’t an issue of being a “gang sympathizer.” Not the way this injunction is being sought. Don’t be so quick to believe everything you hear just because it comes from a city official. Look at the numbers here — there aren’t 300 active gang members here, and this number being only the ones the city has “documented.” Mind you, on of these “documented active gang members” get to have any sort of Fourth Amendment right to due process to challenge that “documentation.” All they have to do is irritate a police officer, and next thing they know they’re on the “active gang member” list. All they have to do is know a neighbor who actually is a gang member, and if they dare ever talk with the neighbor, next thing you know, they’re on the list.

      Oh, yes, there are gang members here, and some of them have not been very good boys or girls. But that’s not anything like 300. All you have in that 300 is a bunch of kids or even adults who dress as their peers do, learn the hip hop moves, and the hip hop and peer attitudes when the police keep coming around to harass them — more because of how they dress and walk than anything else. And next thing you know, these kids doing nothing other than what kids do are “documented” as “active” gang members. Active? If you know they are doing something wrong, then why haven’t you arrested them — or perhaps you really don’t know of them doing anything wrong but they’re Latinos, and they dress like they do, so clearly they must have done something wrong sometime! But it sure is fun doing profiling and being racist and promoting hate (the latter having taken fanatical, insane hold on society — but that’s another discussion). And mind you, I’m a white guy saying this, not defending “my own” (all humans are my own).

      An injunction is a serious thing — it is about restricting Constitutional rights and, in this case, oppressing. And this is being applied to a large portion of a community in aimless shotgun fashion, just take out a whole cross section. The terms of it, and applying to so many, would make it very difficult for any under it to even talk with any of their peers, to even go to the school playground at recess time! Its enforcement will involve very highly paid police time to go around intruding and looking for excuses to bust some, not for a crime — because this injunction is designed to allow the police to bust people for NOT doing a crime — but for a technicality that is meaningless but is banned but this injunction.

      Don’t be so quick in your hat to believe any negative thing you hear about another person or group. Don’t be so quick to oppress others. If you really know of any crimes, even is minor, report it, have the people arrested for that. Don’t go making up non-crime reasons to throw people in jail!

      • @ Mark, you know they aren’t going to like you very much on this blog for elaborating on this issue with such optimism. But, people like you are the reason this community hasn’t already divided, because there are some fair people. Coodos to you for taking a stand in a true just belief system. That’s why it would be wrong for me to throw everyone into a nut shell, because there is always exception to the rules. Your opinion is certainly respected in my book.

  4. Yeah, this one is pretty obvious. We unfortunately live in a world which includes people who engage in anti-social behavior. The rest of us have a right to insist that government step in and maintain order.

  5. The only way an injunction could pass Constitutional muster is if the sanctions it imposes on the individuals affected were part of their sentencing at the time of conviction. Otherwise, it is an ex post facto law, prohibited by Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution, which states in relevant part:

    “No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.”

    Folks, it’s acts by the state like this that the founders of our country saw as manifestations of tyranny, and that led them to set up a framework of government designed to prevent their recurrence. The right of free association is a fundamental human right that, under the injunction, would be taken away without due process — an inalienable right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and international conventions. No one is sympathizing with gang violence here. Actually, those who want this injunction are the ones who are willing to flout the rule of law, and perhaps need to think a bit more about the value of freedom. When you make exceptions as to whom guaranteed liberties should apply, you’ll quickly find yourself among those “exceptions.”

    • They are constitutional. Look in the “constitutionlity” section.


      In a nutshell: “Quoting the United States Supreme Court, Acuna states that “[f]reedom of association, in the sense protected by the First Amendment,‘does not extend to joining with others for the purpose of depriving third parties of their lawful rights.’”

      • Not that it was correct, but the the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Dallas v. Stanglin, that the California Supreme Court quoted in Acuna, was concerned with the ability of the City of Dallas to have age and hour restrictions for teenagers in dance halls. In a previous U.S. Supreme Court decision, Roberts v. United States Jaycees, the Court held:

        “that choices to enter into and maintain certain intimate human relationships must be secured against undue intrusion by the State because of the role of such relationships in safeguarding the individual freedom that is central to our constitutional scheme.”

        In Dallas v. Stanglin, the Court held that the age and hour restrictions for teenagers in Dallas dance halls were reasonable because 1) the city had an interest in limiting corrupting influences upon minors, and 2) that chance encounters in a dance hall were not protected as “intimate human relationships”:

        “It is clear beyond cavil that dance-hall patrons, who may number 1,000 on any given night, are not engaged in the sort of ‘intimate human relationships’ referred to in Roberts.”

        That is quite a bit different from denying the right to free association to people someone labels as “gang members” without due process, and prohibiting them from associating in public with people they may have known their entire lives, or who may even be family members.

        In any case, even if a court were to decline to protect an inalienable right such as free association — even though it is enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — it doesn’t mean that any such decision would be correct. The U.S. Supreme Court has made a lot of bad decisions throughout history. Remember Dredd Scott (people are property)? Plessy v. Ferguson (separate but equal)? More recently, the Court Kafkaesquely decided 5-4 that Americans could not challenge warrantless surveillance by their government because they could not prove that they — individually — had been surveilled in the secret programs.

        Once again, there are much better ways to reduce violence — like ending the costly, ineffective “War on Drugs” — than to stifle human rights.

        • Listen, I’m not trying to change your mind or your beliefs, and of course the supreme court gets things wrong all the time (cough… citizens united… cough).

          But in a legal sense they are constitutional. Prosecutors have found legal constitutional ground for past injunctions. That’s all I was trying to show you.

          The constitution, like any man made document, is always open to interpretation, for better or for worse.

          For the record I am in favor of the injunction. High morals don’t seem as lofty to me as the real human cost after seeing a neighbor hurt by a gang member, another friend harassed over their perceived sexuality, and my property vandalized. While I share your concerns about the LAPD using the injunction wisely and not alienating at risk youth, it’s a tool I want them to have in their toolbox. So when they sit down to talk with the gangs (and sit and talk they should) the gangs know the cops have some extra sticks as well as carrots. I think a simple totally reasonable deal can be made: “keep your activities under the radar, and stop the graffiti. and we’ll leave you alone.” that would be in everyone’s best interests and then they can just let gentrification continue to run it’s course over the next decade, which it will no matter what. Because whats more powerful than all the cops and gangs put together? money.

          • we should sue the gang members for destruction of the community, pain and suffering, and reduction in property values.

          • Crimes like vandalism and your neighbor being assaulted are exactly that — crimes. They already can and should be investigated and prosecuted. The problem with your line of reasoning — and the injunction itself — is the act of generalizing. It’s lumping individuals together and labeling them, based on criteria determined by some “authority,” as a class of people who are denied their fundamental rights without due process.

            A person that you may say is a “gang member” may actually just be a young Latino with a shaved head and Dodger shirt, and have nothing to do with gangs. Or he may indeed be a gang member, but that in itself is not a crime — it is only for an actual crime for which one has been convicted that one can be deprived of his or her rights. That is what is called due process. It’s an essential part of democracy. (Meanwhile, that group of white guys in business suits hanging out at Taix, unmolested by police, may actually be bankers visiting from New York who participated in schemes that defrauded the public of billions of dollars. So much for who is a “gang member.”)

            While it’s good to hear that you’re concerned that the LAPD acts wisely, the fact that you find a solution in letting “gentrification continue to run it’s [sic] course” is sad — as if we should have no regard for hardworking people who can no longer afford to live in the very neighborhoods they grew up in. It’s that same lack of concern for people who may have come from different circumstances than ourselves that I think makes some folks so willing to resort to authoritarian measures like the injunction, because they mistakenly think it will only affect those “other people.”

          • it’s not generalizing when it’s a list of 300 specific people and the police have said every name on the list or added to it will be someone who has been incarcerated. (heard a rampart officer say that while listening to NPR the other day)

            And I’m not saying gentrification is ‘the solution’, I’m saying it’s happening here, like it or not & injunction or not. But if gentrification brings more active citizens, businesses, safer and cleaner streets, city and private investment, and increases property value and net worth for many working class people who have owned here for decades (and it does), then I see a lot of positives. And we do still have rent control last I checked.

  6. Wow, bring it on I would like to see the slip up! For every action there is a reaction and this is one of those situations, trust me! The cops are already driving around my house looking for shadows where there’s not even trees. I am gonna record these fools, for the whole world can see!

  7. charles herman-wurmfeld

    for the record i opposed the motion to send this to the SLNC public safety committee bc it had already been vetted at the silver lake neighborhood assembly by 20+ people and co-signed by many more — bc hundreds have assembled in echo park to resist the injunction & hundreds more have already signed petitions. the SLNC was woefully dismissive of these facts and dedicated precious little time to learning them and taking swift action in defense of stakeholders human rights. bc the injunction comes by request of the police via the city attorney and effects people feeling unjustly wronged, persecuted and criminalized by police actions, sending the matter to the public safety committee for vetting is kinda like a self-confirming feedback loop. this context is hardly neutral ground in which to share information and commune over common interest in living peaceably together. still we persist, dare to show up, listen to one another and resist this proposed injunction til the day is won. only through reinterpreting our entire policing / justice systems and bringing them in line with the restorative justice movement growing steadily world-wide will we ever find the peace we are all seeking. count me in to keep arguing the point.

  8. To deliver a fatal blow to the gang lifestyle, all names on gang injunction lists should be forwarded to ICE for status verification and deportation when applicable. ICE investigations should then be broadened to the families of those listed on the gang injunction.

    • I’m with your sentiment on principal, but wouldn’t the gang members then have an argument that they were unfairly targeted compared to everyone else who is here illegally?

  9. If you have gang banging neighbors, you can initiate an ICE inquiry and possibly get them deported at ice.gov.

  10. I sat through that awful Neighborhood Council meeting. It would be best summed up by saying that well-to-do white council members, several of whom work for City Council members who took campaign contributions from the same land developers and real estate speculators pushing this injunction, used procedural slight of hand to avoid voting on a crucial resolution. That these NC members didn’t recuse themselves, claiming they vote independently, and then voting lockstep with their bosses’ known support of this lucrative gentrification scheme pretty much bears out why they were suspected of bias.

    Pushing this issue to committee when the heavy handed District Attorney is already initiating the injunction on August 21, 2013 is tantamount to approving this classist and racist process. Mr. Herman-Wurfeld is correct, this is a human rights issue. The sole purpose of this injunction is to criminalize and marginalize the poor, indigenous, and community members of color. It’s shameful that real estate is considered more important than families. Like the saying goes “gentrification is genocide.”

    • Mr. Skeels your words fall on deaf ears, none of the white readers here will ever be hassled by LAPD, and most of them want to live in a melanin-free community. Problem with well meaning lefties like you is that you assume most other white people aren’t driven by racism and greed. I’ve got some sad news for you.

      • Thank you, Mr. Anderson, for your penetrating insight into the minds of white people. If you’re not white, I would label you a racist, and if you are, you’ve got some serious self-loathing issues.

    • With all due respect, when you make such hyperbolic statements as “gentrification is genocide,” you alienate the people whom you ostensibly hope to persuade, and you dishonor true victims of genocide the world over. For shame.

  11. I think the good people of the neighborhood should file a civil suit against known gang members to seek monetary damages for the reduction in property values.

    • You are so smart true Freedom, “sue for monetary damages” ! Dude, we need assistance to pay our light bills, and keep our gas on. Have you ever had to take a cold shower? Have you ever tried to raise kids and buy them school clothes, on little to no income. And the whole while try to hold your composure the whole time that people are running around here flaunting what they have? And now a gang injunction on top of it! Sue me first, my credit is shot. And I couldn’t help but to notice that none of these places that opened such as Valerie Confections ,the Fix or any of these businesses have hired any of the neighborhood kids.
      Not that they should or nothing. F… U

      • Unfortunately, he’s right True Freedom. The same reason the cop on Forrest Lawn Dr sits in his car stopping LA motorists handing out chicken shit tickets while directly across the street giant groups of illegal aliens sell flowers. The cop can’t extract any money out of the poor illegal alien. He has to come to the tax-paying law-abiding citizen for that.

        Can’t squeeze blood from a stone…

        • You know what Clueless, there is nothing illegal about me. And as far as chicken shit tickets, crash unit doesn’t even like you either. You are implying that these illegals should get harassed as well. Most minority officers, come from migrant families. I myself am as American, as you can get. But, your perception and views are straight ignorant. I don’t respect you and your views. I don’t think a lot of people on the Eastsider, don’t respect them either. I have a Nicaragua wife, and see alot of piazzas working hard here for the middle and upper class. You are wrong! Now I know why Procopio wants to smack you upside the head.

          • Just pointing out the facts. The truth seems to offend you. Look inside yourself for the reason…

  12. Why should I have respect for a gang’s civil liberties when they clearly have no respect for mine or anyone else’s?

    Those cretins cause chaos and destruction everywhere they go. And the sad thing is that they’re proud of it.

    My concern for their civil liberties went out the window the second a gun was placed to my head for no reason and my family threatened. They have two choices: They can either turn their lives around or burn in hell and if it takes an injunction to speed up either process, so be it.

  13. We do have a gang problem but repression and incarceration has not worked other than to tear families apart and further area gentrification. I propose that we use our resources for a positive approach that includes education and job training and creation plus establishing safe meeting places where people can exchange ideas and dream. Let’s take a hint from Father Boyle and his work with Homeboy Industries. NO TO THE INJUNCTION!

  14. This isn’t about gentrification or any racial epithets, at least as far as I see it. I don’t care who they are and how much money they make. No one has the the right to shoot people at Bellevue park and vandalize property in the area. Gang problems won’t go away with an injunction, but I fail to see how this won’t help the situation. Gang influence is on the rise in the Silver Lake area and has to be checked.

  15. sympathize with Nadine’s observation that other Neighborhood Councils should be involved. If you look at a map of the proposed injunction are, it includes only a one to two block wide sliver of Silver Lake. It doesn’t hurt to try to find out what they think in Echo Park, since it’s mostly going to affect them

  16. Wow, I’ve seen the crash unit rolling on the avenue while my friend and I had to make a break for it and go home. Multiple times I seen these cops going around the same block, as the people at the fix stand in the street playing music and drinking wine. My family has been here since the 40’s, and his has been displaced from Chavez Ravine when they built dodger stadium. This has become a cold and real awakening to the prejudices that we have to endure in our native land. I am ashamed of what is happening here, but yet still walk the land. I don’t even care if the cops stop me, because I know in my heart they are not here for the benefit of mine. They are simply tools, like ponds in a chess game to provide a service for the ones that have a higher say in our society. I guess the majority will win this battle, but I don’t think they will win the war! I bet none of them easy going fixated tricks have had to endure half of the struggles that one native Angeleno has gone through in this life time.

    • CRASH was disbanded in 2000. Fix does not sell wine. Any more cool stories?

    • “ponds in a chess game” LOL! Do you know a guy in Highland Park named Margarito Martinez? You two have a lot in common.

      • Pawns, my bad! And as far as CRASH being band in 2000, you better look into that. They may have changed the title, but are still referred to as CRASH. Oh, and the fix if they aren’t selling liquor, they are drinking something. The ambulance is always there, I guess they might be on drugs then!

      • It’s Cerro Gordo, and I’ve walked the hills way long enough to know all the veterans on your hill slick! Elysian is my back yard, the one who keeps the rift out.

  17. Paul Neuman is not a co-chair.

  18. In the memory of Roberto Lopez (4yrs old ),Charupha Wongwisetsiri (9 yrs old), Michael LeZay (15 yrs old)…..

    and for that matter former “veterano” Eric Zamarippa (38)…pass the damn injunction…Stopping known gang members from congregating saves lives….even the bad guys lives….this is not a social justice issue, its an issue to protect all of us law abiding folk, brown, black, white, yellow, mixed, you name it…..shame on you for trying to turn this into something it isn’t…you take their guns away and see how it changes….




    • Thank you for mentioning the names of the innocent children who were killed in gang violence in Echo Park. We shouldn’t forget their names or their stories. I remember the story of the young Thai girl who was killed; if memory serves me, she was standing next to her mother – in her kitchen – when a carload of gang members passed another group of gangsters on Kensington, and a firefight ensued. One of the bullets went through the wall or window and killed the little girl. I also remember that there was some difficulty in pressing charges because the gangsters who were on the sidewalk were reportedly firing their guns in self-defense. I wonder if they ever apologized to the girl’s mother or father (stepfather?) – and if anyone was ever prosecuted for that innocent girl’s death.

  19. There are a few intersecting issues here. First, the issue of “pre-crime” that allows for the suspension of the most basic constitutional rights of assembly based upon allegations of propensity to commit crime. Second, the obvious racial overtones. Doubt it? That (as many posters make clear) prohibiting assembly of persons who might do graffiti. Graffiti is worth suspending the constitution?

    Then: the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council, which has a notorious history of domination by a small cabal who has remained in control for years. Finally someone has pointed out the odd confluence between this group and City Council members and campaigns. Then there’s the curious way they’ve stayed in their posts using out-of-district voters as “factual basis” stakeholders. They avoid having a record of votes on controversial issues, as someone also noted. It’s their own teensy nano-fiefdom, and the odd thing is:: THEY HAVE NO POWER to do little but obstruct true progress on projects that benefit the entire neighborhood. The NIMBY Nabobs.

  20. The gang injunction has worked in other neighborhoods. People see this in purely racial terms. The police cannot prohibit the poor and minorities from assembling. This only applies to named gang members. The ACLU would be all over any police office harassing a group of poor or minority citizens based on the injunction.

  21. everyone is so focused on how it can only be gang members yet i’ve seen all types of race causing disturbances here in this neighborhood all these bar = to all the stupid drunks walking down the street trying to start trouble.

    ive seen plenty of races taking a piss down the street from Logan Elementary , uhhh is that sanitary? what if our kids trip and fall cut their knee? using a drug on a corner or even vandalizing. in broad day light….

    i am not trying to offend anyone in any sort of matter but plain and simple i can be walking around with a brother , grandpa , uncle ,dad, mom and wouldnt be able to be in peace just sitting on my stoop, or even just enjoying a family bbq?! because of their backround.


    there’s so many lunatics killing, robbing , rapping? so you automatically wanna point a finger and say every person on a gang profile, just for walking down the street is about to go commit a crime?

    so many ignorance around us!

    i’ have lost loved ones to gang violence, even to a close friend being kidnapped and murdered… but how can someone sit here and make so many assumptions!? it ridiculous

  22. Love Thy Neighbor

    Police have enough “tools” already in place to stop vandalism and shootings etc.
    “No to the gang injunction”

  23. I’m for the gang injunction,it will definitely maker the neighborhood safer,save innocent live,including the lives of the bad guys.This has nothing to do with gentrification or race,it has to do with wanting to feel safe and not have to worry about being terrorized by criminals,who doesn’t want that?I definitely do!So bring on the gang injuction…it saves lives!

  24. Any member of the council who chooses to stand with the criminals in our neighborhood (who don’t vote) and the residents of the neighborhood (who do vote) will very quickly find themselves removed from office.

    This is a very simple litmus test vote that will end the political careers of anyone not smart enough to realize that there is no upside to choosing the losing side of this issue.

    A gang by definition is a criminal organization. It is not a social club, support group or special interest group (unless one’s idea of special interest is preying on a community.) Every single member of a gang made a choice to associate with a known criminal organization and they need to deal with the consequences.

  25. Where can we vote against the injunction?

  26. Margarito Martinez

    Leave me out of it Cerro!

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