East Park 17X NCPC hosts John Russo
On Thursday, May 20th, the East Park 17X NCPC (Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council) hosted City Attorney John Russo to discuss the gang injunction he is seeking for members of the Northside Gang which operates in North Oakland. Of the 15 or so attendees, several, it seemed, were not members of that NCPC and drew the rancor of some of the 17X NCPC members who were there. Although there was some support for the gang injunction the City of Oakland is seeking against these members of the Northside Gang, there were many challenges to Mr. Russo concerning the efficacy of injunctions (why won't gang members just move to another neighborhood), the compromising of the 1st Amendment guarantee of freedom of association (fairness to family members who cannot attend celebrations together in the enjoined area where they live), and the cost of operating this program.
When asked why community policing efforts were not sufficient to address the criminal behavior of these named gang members, Mr. Russo asserted that it was, in fact, community policing that was responsible for the seeking of the injunction because the NCPCs that represent the neighborhoods in North Oakland which are affected had pressured the City to seek this injunction. He added that several additional injunctions were in the works for areas in West, East and Central Oakland, as well.
Although Mr. Russo acknowledged that some in the community opposed this strategy in principle, he insisted that, as a result of working with some of those parties, like the ACLU and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, this injunction contains far more protections for the individuals who are named than do the injunctions granted in Los Angeles and San Francisco. He likened the injunction to a 'restraining order' in a domestic violence scenario, claiming that it offered protection against future violence from those who have a demonstrated history of violent behavior.