Gang Injunctions are Spreading, Communities are Reacting

On Friday, January 6th, Inglewood’s First District Councilman, Mike Stevens visited Chuco?s Justice Center. We asked him about rumors we had heard that Mayor Butts and Police Chief Seabrooks were considering the development of Inglewood?s first gang injunction. Councilman Stevens said that it was on the agenda for the following City Council meeting.
On Tuesday, January 10th, when we arrived at the City Council, we were told by the police officer (who is on duty at each meeting) that the matter was voted on in an earlier closed session to authorize $10,000 in spending to have the injunction written.
Although the matter had been decided prior to public comment, YJC members testified anyway to voice our opposition.
Brandy Brown illustrated how injunctions in Los Angeles had impacted their families? abilities to stay connected. Said Brandy, ?My cousins couldn?t even go to my brother?s funeral because they were arrested at his candlelight vigil for ?associating with gang members? even though that was their family.? Henry Sandoval described injunctions as ?keeping youth from being able to take advantage of education, jobs and housing. This really discourages us from being positive. How do you expect us to leave the street life behind??
Tanisha Denard questioned why $10,000 was needed when plenty of cities have injunctions that can be used to cut and paste. She said, ?This city is hurting for money, and Inglewood School District is about to declare bankruptcy, but we have $10,000 to write an injunction??
Treva Ellison emphasized that ?good public policy is written in consultation with the community, not in secret meetings.? Kim McGill explained that injunctions have historically been used as tools for gentrification and have not stabilized, but displaced families and communities of color. She added, ?We are very concerned that this decision was made without a public hearing, and urge the City Council to schedule a time for those youth and families who will be most impacted to speak to you.?
The Mayor promised to have Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks contact us. On Friday, January 13th, Chief Seabrooks did call and answered several of our questions: 1. The budget to pay for the writing of an injunction was approved at a City Council meeting in October. 2. The $10,000 budget allocation made at last Tuesday’s meeting was only a partial payment. The total allocation authorized for the writing of the injunction is $160,000. 3. The Chief would not indicate what neighborhoods would be targeted for the injunction, but did say that several would be enjoined. 4. She agreed to meet with us regarding our concerns, and will schedule a meeting with us this week.
The YJC will work to challenge the injunction as this process moves forward. To get involved, contact us at 323-235-4243 or by e-mail ? freelanow@yahoo.com. Look out for future action updates for a community forum on this matter.