Attorney Yolanda Huang speaks to reporters on Thursday
Attorneys representing the defendants in Oakland’s proposed Fruitvale gang injunction called the courtroom arrest of Javier Quintero on a parole violation earlier this week a dramatic stunt. Quintero, 27, was taken into custody by parole agents 45 minutes into Tuesday’s hearing in front of Alameda County Judge Robert Freedman.
Defense attorneys take a different view of the situation. Yolanda Huang witnessed the March 18 incident that led to Quintero’s parole violation. She was on her way to a meeting about the case with Quintero and co-defendant David Pelayo at Quintero’s house on Harrington Street. When she pulled onto Harrington Street around 6:30 pm on last Friday, Huang saw Quintero, Pelayo and two other men being handcuffed by Oakland Police officers.
According to Huang, Quintero had been walking home from a store when he accepted a ride from Pelayo and the two others. Oakland Police say they pulled the car over because the music from the vehicle’s stereo was too loud. Roughly 12 grams of marijuana and “gang indicia” were found in the car. No one was arrested or cited and the four were released.
Javier Quintero, in the green shirt, was arrested for a parole violation in Judge Robert Freedman's courtroom
What appeared to be another day of lengthy testimony in the court battle over a proposed gang injunction in Fruitvale took a dramatic turn this afternoon. Around 2:15 PM, after 45 minutes of testimony by Probation Officer Dalen Randa, two parole agents silently walked up to the juror box and left with one of the defendants, Javier Quintero. Quintero’s lawyers, obviously surprised, protested as their client was led away, presumably to jail.
Quintero, a 27-year-old painter, repeatedly denied having any gang ties during his testimony last month. On parole for felony drug possession, Quintero wears a GPS anklet because of his alleged gang ties.
Why he was taken into custody is a bit unclear. At about 2 PM today, City Attorney John Russo tweeted the following:
“Gang injunction “star” defndnt found last nite in car w drugs & gang symbols. Last wk he testified under oath that he knew nothing re. gangs”
Defense attorneys, on the other hand, say Quintero was arrested for “associating with other known gang members.” Continue reading
What was expected to be a pivotal day in Oakland’s Fruitvale gang injunction hearing turned out to be another lengthy examination of evidence about the alleged connections of 40 defendants to the Norteno street gang.
Alameda County Judge Robert Freedman had indicated yesterday his intention to close proceedings after Keely, Probation Officer Dalen Randa and possibly a third witness testify. Randa will take the stand next Tuesday at 1:30 PM, as may defendant Michael Muscadine. If testimony concludes Tuesday, Freedman will rule on a preliminary injunction against the Norteno gang and any defendants who have already testified or who have missed their scheduled appearances. That means Abel Manzo and Javier Quintero and three other defendants who are not represented by the defense team. After Freedman rules on a preliminary injunction, the court will set up a hearing schedule for the remaining 35 defendants who have representation.
San Francisco City Attorney
Gang shootings are up in and around the area covered by a gang injunction in San Francisco's Mission District.
In light of the spate of Norteno-Sureno violence that has engulfed the Mission District over the past few weeks, SF Weekly is raising questions about San Francisco’s gang injunction strategy. There are four such court orders in place across the city. The injunction in the Mission targets 18 alleged members of the Norteno street gang and covers an area stretching from 21nd street down to Cesar Chavez, and from Valenica Street over to San Bruno Avenue to the East.
The Weekly found that at least one person targeted in the recent Norteno-Sureno shootings was on the Mission injunction list, according to Lieutenant Jim Miller, who runs SFPD’s Gang Task Force. Here’s the critical intro to the piece:
Spectators inside Judge Robert Freedman's courtroom at the Alameda County Superior Court
Oakland may or may not get a preliminary injunction against the Norteños this week, but tomorrow will be a big day in court. Judge Robert Freedman indicated he will break the case into separate components to determine the gang associations of individual defendants — and decisions for those who’ve already defended themselves will come tomorrow. That means Javier Quintero and Abel Manzo.
Judge Freedman said all 29 defendants represented by the defense team of five pro bono lawyers will have their day in court . He also appeared dissatisfied at the pace of the hearings.
Oakland City Attorney's office
Oakland's latest gang injunction would cover part of the Fruitvale district.
In a combative two-and-a-half hour examination by the defense, Oakland Police Department gang expert Officer Douglass Keely defended the scope of the Fruitvale gang injunction today. Testimony particularly focused on his rationale for naming the 40 defendants identified as Norteños in the case.
Meyers Nave attorney Tricia Hynes, representing the city, repeatedly objected to defense attorney Dennis Cunningham’s questions about Keely’s enforcement activity in the area and the officer’s methodology in compiling the evidence for the injunction. Hynes’ objections visibly frustrated Cunningham, but Judge Freedman frequently rephrased the queries, indicating his interest in exploring how OPD determines who is and who isn’t a gang member.
At 1 PM this afternoon, around one hundred youth began marching through the streets of the Fruitvale neighborhood to demand an end to Oakland’s gang injunctions. Beginning at Avenida De La Fuente, the protesters marched to 35th Avenue and International Boulevard, where they took the middle of the intersection and halted traffic briefly. The march made its way up Foothill Boulevard to High Street, and then to the gates of Fremont Federation High School, which was immediately shuttered by Oakland Police and Oakland Schools Police. The march ended in Downtown Oakland, where several hundred people rallied to end the city’s gang injunction strategy.
For a third straight week, Alameda County Judge Robert Freedman heard testimony over the proposed Norteño gang injunction in the Fruitvale neighborhood without making a decision. On Wednesday morning, the team of pro bono attorneys defending accused gang members called Esmeralda Quintero to the stand. Ms. Quintero’s 27-year-old brother, Javier, is one of the 40 named defendants and denied involvement with the Nortenos during a February 17th hearing.
In the afternoon session, the Oakland Police officer responsible for much of the city’s evidence against the alleged gang members defended the police work behind the case. Officer Douglass Keely’s 143-page declaration portrays the defendants as part of a regimented gang culture engaged in violence and drug-dealing. Keely’s declaration is largely composed of his own contacts with the defendants over the years, as well as his understanding of of the Norteños’ structure and operations based on his experience and training. Keely, an 11-year OPD veteran, has been involved in gang-related investigations for the all but two years of his career.