Gang injunction could start soon


A proposed gang injunction against members of the Norteños in the Fruitvale district is stirring up protests in the neighborhood around Fremont Federation of High Schools.

Under the proposed injunction, 40 members of the Norteños gang would be restricted from many activities within a “safety zone,” which includes the Fremont campus.

The injunction was filed on Oct. 14 by City Attorney John Russo and the Oakland Police Department. The injunction would prohibit the 40 alleged gang members from hanging out in the safety zone from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

The safety zone would cover much of the Fruitvale District, and would run between 21st Avenue, East 27th Street and Brookdale Avenue from High Street to the east and the waterfront to the south.

Those named in the injunction who violate the court order could be arrested, fined and jailed.

To take effect, the gang injunction must be approved by Alameda County Superior Court judge Robert Freedman.

This would be the second gang injunction set up by Oakland. The last injunction was passed on June 3, when Judge Freedman approved an injunction against 15 members of the North Side Oakland gang.

However, the Fruitvale injunction is drawing far more protests and many of the alleged gang members are using lawyers to fight their inclusion in the lawsuit.

Members of the Youth Together oppose the injunction and protested outside of the Fremont campus during third period on Feb 28.

Among the protesters were Candice Valenzuela, a Media Academy teacher, and her third period English class. Valenzuela spoke out against the injunction during the protest, sharing her opinion on budget cuts and Oakland’s education system.

“The budget sends the message to youth that they are not important [and] not valuable,” said Valenzuela. “That message informs their behavior, becoming a root cause of violence among local youth.”

Senior Carolyn Saephan supported the protest.

“It‘s a good idea for youth to protest, especially [if] they’re fighting for their rights,” she said.

Junior Teresa Barajas sees problems with the injunction.”Some students at Fremont have friends that may be affected by the injunction,” said Barajas. “[Students] might not be able to hang out with them in any part of the safety zone.”

However, Media Academy case manager Eric Dubois believes the injunction will make the streets safer for everyone by stopping gang violence.

“[The injunction] is a good idea because gangs terrorize the city, create violence, and threaten and harass people,” said DuBois.”They disrupt what could be a peaceful society.”

Media senior Estella Garcia is focusing her senior project on gang injunctions.”You have to hear other people’s perspectives about it,” she said.