Gang injunctions are a hot topic. The court hearing on Oakland's proposed Fruitvale injunction against 40 alleged members of the Norteños gang drags on; City Attorney John Russo is at odds over the plan with anti-injunction activists; and Mayor Jean Quan has expressed lukewarm support at best for the tactic, while others in the city establishment have embraced it.
All that was prelude to today's debate between Oakland City Attorney John Russo and San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, who squared off this afternoon on the topic at USF's Law Enforcement Symposium. KQED News Intern Katrina Schwartz attended and reports:
Police chiefs and criminal justice professionals from across California finished up a two day symposium at the University of San Francisco with a discussion on the effectiveness of gang injunctions. Oakland City Attorney John Russo insists that Oakland has avoided many of the pitfalls of gang injunctions--like racial profiling--by specifically targeting individuals that the police believe are deeply involved in the Norteno gang. He says all other youth in North Oakland and Fruitvale have nothing to worry about because they aren’t on the list.
San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi isn’t so sure things are that cut and dry. He maintains that if the point of a gang injunction is to reduce violent crime, then the data does not support the tactic's effectiveness. He would like to see more collaboration between gang interventionists and law enforcement to address the gang problem.
Listen to the debate: