Oakland requests Norteños injunction


The city of Oakland has named the second gang it wants to target for an injunction — the Norteños.

On Oct. 13, City Attorney John Russo and Police Chief Anthony Batts announced that they had filed a petition for an injunction against 42 Norteño gang members.

An injunction against members of the North Side Oakland gang was approved in May.

An injunction is a court order that restricts certain people from doing things in a designated part of the city, called a “safety zone.”

On Friday, the City Attorney dismissed one of the 42 defendants because he showed up to the press conference and talked to the police.

The city talked to his employer the next day and decided to dismiss him.

If a judge approves the request, 41 named Norteños will be unable to sell drugs, recruit more members, vandalize, keep company with other known gang members, carry guns, intimidate witnesses or stay out in the zone between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The zone is between 21st Avenue and High Street below Brookdale Avenue and also includes the three Fremont Federation of High Schools (CPAA, Mandela Academy and Media Academy).

In a press release, Russo wrote that the Norteños are being targeted because they are the predominant gang in Oakland and have caused the most gang violence within the proposed “safety zone.” So far this year, he wrote, Norteños have been involved in 35 or more shootings.

Many at Fremont Federation praise the injunction for including the campus in the safety zone.

“Some gang members come to school here. It would be easier for the police to find them in school than in the streets,” said Media Academy senior Ana Perez.

There was an almost unanimous agreement from the people interviewed that schools and the safety of Oakland students should be a priority.

“I believe the school should be in the safety zone. It is our first duty to our students to [ensure] their safety,” said Daniel Hurst, principal of Architecture Academy.

Pablo Peña, an Architecture Academy senior, agreed.

“If we’re not in the safety zone, we’re not protected,” he said.

The head of security at Fremont, Noil Angelo, doesn’t think being in the safety zone is a necessity for the school.

“[Students] are pretty protected. We have five security officers, two police officers and lots of cameras,” said Angelo. “When you’re at school, you are safe.”

However, almost no one interviewed believed the injunction would actually decrease gang violence and activity. Some believed that by creating a safety zone, criminals would just terrorize other parts of the city.

Angelo said gang members would just work around the system to commit crimes, even if it was in the safety zone.

“It seems silly that if the [gang members] have been proven to be dangerous, there shouldn’t be a safety zone. It doesn’t make sense. The [police] should follow them everywhere,” said Jennifer Hicks, afterschool program coordinator for Media Academy.

But some students see some problems with the gang injunction, even if it will do some good.

“If they put the names and photos for the 42 people out there, publicizing their information, it will put their lives at risk,” said Media Academy sophomore Ramon Arreola.

An anonymous Architecture Academy student said she opposed the injunction because she felt “it targets the good people” who are in the safety zone.