The Vanguard has a new home, please update your bookmarks to

Saturday, March 22, 2008

News and Commentary: Major Hearing of the Gang Injunction Slated For Monday

In a press release issued on Friday, it was announced that on Monday in Woodland, lawyers representing defendants in the controversial West Sacramento "gang injunction" case will argue the court should not allow a Preliminary Injunction in the case as requested by the District Attorney.

A rally will occur among homeowners and community members from West Sacramento at the Yolo County Courthouse on Monday at 1 pm prior to a 1:30 PM hearing where the defense team will attempt to submit more than "100 affidavits from residents of West Sacramento claiming there is no need for the so-called "gang injunction," but the DA is arguing that residents should not be allowed to speak."

The defense will also question the veracity of statements issued by police officers.
"Residents of Broderick, many of them Latino, say the injunction is targeting innocent victims. They have outlined abuses by police, including charges that their families are photographed at picnics in the park, and that their children, while riding home on their bicycles, have been harassed by police."
This will be the first major hearing since a letter from a Senior Investigator from the District Attorney's Office disclosed that the District Attorney Jeff Reisig was dishonest with the court in the first go round of the Gang Injunction and its subsequent court challenges. He also admitted that he was pressured to sign an affidavit in support of the gang injunction this time round.
"As for the current and past Gang Injunction, when gathering intelligence, contacting active members and working with Detective Villanueva, I fully supported these efforts. However, after seeing this become your political benchmark, I have watched this injunction grow into something I did not want to be associated with or a part of, since I felt it had lost its original intent and purpose."
He admits efforts to mislead the appellate court with regard to initial efforts at noticing a single individual who was not high up in the Broderick Boys organization.
"I also feel you misled the appellate court when you argued, as an officer of the court, that serving only one person during the initial injunction was intended to result in the word getting out to the rest of the Broderick Boys. You and I know that the opposite was true and Wolfington was not high up in the organization and was not expected to pass the word to the others."
He also reveals reasons why they selected Mr. Wolfington to notice.
"I remember you telling me that you specifically selected Mr. Wolfington for being a less than “smart person”, you said he was “too stupid” to show up for court, he lived out of the area (in Sacramento) and he would likely not tell anyone."
Rick Gore no longer agrees with the current gang injunction nor does he think it is needed. However, "an affidavit in support of the injunction under penalty of perjury. I did not want to sign it as written since it was not prepared by me and I thought portions of my affidavit were untrue." He signed an affidavit of support for the second gang injunction that is currently in the process of being challenged.

He continues:
"I was called in by DDA Linden a few days later, and was told [Reisig] had ordered me to sign this injunction and I had no choice. Knowing I could be fired for not following this order, I signed it after changing some of the language."
Investigator Gore's acknowledgments call into question the veracity of the gang injunction.

Moreover, the District Attorney's office has always maintained that they have full backing of the public in West Sacramento. Recently those claims at the very least have to be called into question as hundreds of residents have put up signs and walked precincts against the gang injunction. From the start they have claimed that the police department has used the gang injunction to target and harass members of the Latino Community, most of whom have little to do with the Broderick Street Boys street gang.

The District Attorney and other supports have pointed to a fall in crime as a result of the gang injunction. Those are difficult claims to maintain at best, however, it would be interesting to see all evidence laid bare for the public to see. Is there evidence that suggests that the gang injunction works beyond anecdotal rhetoric? Is there evidence that the public in the Broderick Street area--non-gang members--support the gang injunction? Let us see that evidence. I do not mean to suggest that we law enforce by public opinion, however, I have simply grown weary of certain claims made by the District Attorney's office--I simply do not find them credible anymore.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting