In June, Alameda Superior Court Justice Robert Freedman approved Oakland’s first gang injunction against 15 individuals City Attorney John Russo dubbed the “North Side Oakland” gang. The injunction covers a 100-block area of the city from the Berkeley border down to MacArthur Boulevard, and prevents the named individuals from a range of activities, including congregating in groups and recruiting other people to North Side Oakland (there are exceptions for work, school, transportation, emergencies, religious activities and other situations).
Since the injunction was approved, Russo has stated his intent to obtain injunctions in other parts of Oakland. His efforts are supported by Mayor Ron Dellums and Police Chief Anthony Batts, who oversaw five gang injunctions during his time in Long Beach.
The Informant has obtained retention agreements between the Oakland City Attorney and two East Bay law firms for legal services pertaining to the North Oakland injunction, as well as future actions against the Nortenos street gang and an unnamed gang in a police district that covers much of East Oakland. Emeryville firm Ruiz & Sperow worked on the North Oakland injunction on a contract with a ceiling of $35,000, and Oakland firm Meyers Nave was assigned to work on the Norteño and Area 3 cases on agreements of $40,000 each.
Oakland could pay up to $105,000 to the three firms for work done on the existing and proposed injunctions. It is unclear how much the firms have been paid to date.
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera has not hired outside counsel to help prepare any of the four gang injunctions currently in place across the Bay.
The documents are the result of a Public Records Act filed with the City Attorney’s Office by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.
The City Attorney’s Office refused to confirm their intent to file a gang injunction against the Norteños gang, and would not specify who would be the target of the Area 3 injunction. Spokesperson Alex Katz did confirm that the city will pursue further injunctions in order to provide Police Chief Anthony Batts with another tool to combat crime.
Katz said it is too early to determine whether the North Oakland injunction has had an impact on crime.
The ACLU of Northern California asked Russo’s office to wait for a year before filing further injunctions, and is disturbed by Oakland’s intent to pursue further court orders this Fall.
“Given the fact that the Northside Oakland injunction hasn’t been fully vetted, it’s way too soon to meaningfully move forward with gang injunctions in other parts of Oakland” said ACLU-NorCal attorney Diana Tate Vermeire. Before moving forward with further injunctions, Vermeire said the injunction’s impact on both police operations and the community must be evaluated publicly.
Judge Freedman will hold a hearing to review the city’s enforcement of the North Oakland injunction on Thursday, October 14 at 2pm. It will be in Department 20 of the Alameda County Courthouse, 1221 Oak Street.