L.A. Times editorial raises questions about Echo Park gang injunction

Anti-gang injunction banner was displayed during this weekend’s Echo Park Rising music festival/Nathan Solis

The Sunday editorial in the L.A. Times did not flat out oppose a gang injunction proposed for the Echo Park area but it came pretty close.  The editorial raised many questions about the need to use such a legal “sledgehammer” to deal with gang crime:

The situation in Echo Park falls well short of the sort of crime emergencies that led Los Angeles, and then other cities, down the path of gang injunctions 30 years ago. Then, there was at least the perception among city lawyers and police that entire neighborhoods had become hostages to gangs and that there was little else they could do about it. But court pleadings in favor of the new injunction fail to specify any particular crimes or to include figures that show Echo Park has more of a gang problem than other neighborhoods in or outside an injunction zone. Nor do they make an argument for why the situation could not be handled by traditional crime-fighting methods or show that the benefits of an injunction would outweigh the negative consequences for so much of the community.

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 proposed injunction is scheduled to be reviewed this week during an August 21 court hearing.

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