San Diego City, County Prosecutors File Petitions To Lift Civil Gang Injunctions
Speaker 1: 00:00 Court orders restricting the actions of people identified as gang members are known as gang injunctions, and they've been used by prosecutors in San Diego for years, but San Diego County da summer Stephan announced Tuesday. Her office is moving to eliminate gang injunctions, criminal justice reform advocates have urged the end of gang injunctions saying they target black and Brown young men and stigmatize. Those who may have left the gang years ago, Stephan says after consulting with law enforcement, she believes the injunctions do not play a significant role in maintaining public safety. And joining us is Genevieve Jones, right? She's a member of San Diego's commission on gang prevention and intervention. Genevieve. Welcome back. Speaker 2: 00:48 Thank you for having me. Why Speaker 1: 00:50 Do you think San Diego needed to get rid of gang injunction? Speaker 2: 00:53 Well, you hit on the aspects of the injunctions that are completely unfair in your initial introduction. Um, I think that we have to use stronger language more than just outdated. I think that these gang injunctions target certain communities. There are certainly racist motives behind these gang injunctions and the neighborhoods that are subject to them. There are 22 active gang injunctions throughout our County and six in the city of San Diego. All of the injunctions are in communities where the predominant community members are black and Brown. And what we see with these injunctions is that people are prohibited from doing innocent things like wearing certain jerseys, certain colors and even numbers. And more importantly, they're restricted from being with family. And these injunctions have been on the books since the nineties, no expiration dates. So people have been subject to these injunctions for years and years, some of whom have never committed crimes, but have very innocent actions being curtailed and being a part of injunctions that outwardly tell the public that they're gang members when many are not. And we've seen the devastating effects relate to employment implications. Speaker 1: 02:21 You touched on the subject that I wanted to speak more about that these gang injunctions have been seen as another symptom of systematic racism in law enforcement. Can you explain why that is? Speaker 2: 02:34 Absolutely. Again, these injunctions are not a part of any communities where there would be so-called white gangs in the County of San Diego. There is no quote unquote white gang who is included in the Cal gang database, which tracks gangs. And so all of gang documentation, primarily targets black and Brown people, members of the AAPI community. We know that there are gangs in our region that are not black Brown or Asian, and yet they're not being treated the same way. So it is as well with injunctions. When injunctions came on the scene, they were in neighborhoods in Vista and Oceanside and in South Eastern San Diego. And so you can see where certain community members are being targeted. I remember being a young attorney before I was ever a public defender and my first cases were dealing with these injunctions because my neighborhood was subject to an injunction. Speaker 2: 03:41 And in fact, my neighborhood was subject to the very first gang injunction in the city of San Diego. And that was back in 1998. What we see with these injections is that certain community members are prohibited from coming back to the neighborhoods where they grew up, they're prohibited from visiting their own kids, which was actually a subject matter of a case that I defended where a father was violated for visiting his toddler daughter. And this was said to be in violation of a gang injunction and the city attorney of San Diego actually brought charges against him. And so these are the things that we see with these gang injunctions and just some of the effects, but they're absolutely detrimental. And the effects of the injunctions also serve to do things that red lining had done back when red lining was in effect defacto. And also does your Speaker 1: 04:36 Now yesterday on Twitter, you talked about feeling like your work on getting rid of gang injunctions was not recognized with this announcement that officials were taking credit for this reform. Can you say more on that? Speaker 2: 04:50 Absolutely. A lot of times we hear members of law enforcement, specifically law enforcement, other elected officials and city officials all over talk about fostering community trust. I felt that this was a betrayal of the community because for years, community members like members of the gang commission on which I sit community organizations like pillars of the community, and also the coalition on police, accountability and transparency have been working, trying to get an elimination of all gang injunctions. And we've been met with the same opposition from the very officials who are now touting that this is their victory. And without giving a nod to the community, it's very hard to say that you want to foster community trust when you completely erase the work of the community. Also, I believe it's a slap in the face of the community to release these press releases and have these press conferences in the manner in which they did yesterday. Not, not acknowledging community work over several years, but completely disregarding the work and not owning up to the fact that they were completely opposed to the efforts and were personal hurdles to the elimination of gang injunctions. This could have been done years ago. This should have been done years ago. And those same officials that we see touting the elimination of gang objections are the very same people who worked against that very effort. And I think is disingenuous Speaker 1: 06:31 Two officials who have praised the decision, our mayor, Todd, Gloria, and council woman, Monica Montgomery step. And they, of course, mayor Gloria has put forward the idea of, of more police reforms and more prosecutorial reforms. What do you think should be next on the list of those San Diego police reform? Speaker 2: 06:50 I believe that we need a complete ban on pretextual traffic stops where an officer can stop a driver for a minor or traffic violation and is able to investigate a separate and completely unrelated suspected criminal offense. Pretextual stops allow police officers very wide discretion in whom they choose to stop and what reasons they use to justify the traffic stop as well. We need a ban on consent searches, consent searches are searches that do not necessitate an officer having probable cause, which is the legal standard for officers to engage in a search of a person or a person's property with consent searches. An officer's simply needs to ask whether they can do a search. And what we see with consent searches are that a lot of community members do not feel that they're able to say no. And so we really have coerced consent searches, but this a ban on consent searches would also cut down on racial profiling. Our law enforcement agencies across the County have got to stop being first responders as it relates to substance abuse issues, issues that relate to mental health. And also homelessness. We have got to reimagine public safety and policing on a grander scale. I am happy for the small steps, but we've got to take bigger ones in order to dismantle the system that preys on black indigenous and people of color. Speaker 1: 08:30 I want to thank you so much. I've been speaking with Genevieve Jones, right? A member of San Diego commission on gang prevention and intervention, Genevieve as always. Thank you so much. Speaker 2: 08:40 Thank you very much. [inaudible].