Records indicate Oakland City Attorney John Russo had private attorneys research a third gang injunction–this one in Area 3, East Oakland. The $19,999.98 in outside counsel costs are not included in a February joint report on gang injunctions by the City Attorney and the Oakland Police Department that was produced at the request of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.
The Informant first reported on the proposed East Oakland injunction last Fall after obtaining retention agreements between Russo’s office and the law firms Ruiz & Sperow and Meyers Nave. Ruiz & Sperow have been handling the North Oakland injunction, which was approved by Alameda Superior Court Judge Robert Freedman last Spring. Meyers Nave is contracted to litigate the Fruitvale and Area 3 injunctions.
Meyers Nave has been representing the city in an ongoing legal battle over a separate gang injunction against the Norteños in the Fruitvale neighborhood.
It is not clear whether Oakland will pursue the Area 3 injunction, considering City Attorney John Russo’s rumored departure to take on the job of city manager in Alameda, requests by the City Council to review the efficacy of existing gang injunctions before pursuing new ones, and the pending decision by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert Freedman on the Fruitvale injunction
So far, the city has amassed $114,364.94 in outside counsel costs for gang injunctions. Attorneys from Meyers Nave have not yet filed invoices for legal work carried out on the Norteño case in February, March and April. According the the February joint report to the city council, Oakland spent $761,128 on the North Oakland and Fruitvale injunctions before court proceedings began in the Fruitvale case.
Neither the Oakland Police Department nor the Oakland City Attorney returned repeated requests for comment. Oakland City Attorney Spokesman Alex Katz did tell Demian Bulwa of the San Francisco Chronicle that the third injunction has never been in doubt:
“The plan has always been to do an injunction in (East Oakland), and that hasn’t changed,” said Alex Katz, a spokesman for the city attorney.
Oakland City Councilmember Patricia Kernighan, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, said she had not heard anything about a possible Deep East gang injunction.
“I’m concerned to learn we’re spending money on a third injunction,” Kernighan said. She added that plans for an Area 3 injunction may have been dropped after the Public Safety Committee expressed its intent during a February meeting to review the city’s existing gang injunctions before proceeding with a third court order.
The target of the East Oakland injunction unclear, but in recent months there have been tit-for-that shootings between members of the Norteños and the Border Brothers, a rival gang that claims territory in East Oakland close to the city limits. The Sureños, another bitter rival of the Norteños, and a number of African-American gangs identified by Area 3 Captain Ersie Joyner are other possible targets.