3.8 Square Mile Proposed Safety Zone Gang Injunction Hearing.

     Community residents, leaders, activists, police officers, and members of City Attorney Mike Feuer's office all got together Monday evening, August19th, in the auditorium at  Holy Virgin Mary Orthodox Cathedral, 650 Micheltorena Street to talk about a proposed street gang injunction to combat area crime.

       At issue was the Complaint for Injunctive Relief  from six criminal street gangs which was filed June 11th by City Attorney Carmen Trutanich in Los Angeles Superior Court. The proposed "Safety Zone" for the measure is The Los Angeles River to the north, the Harbor (110) Freeway to the east, First Street to the South and North Coronado Street to the west.

       The six gangs this affects are the Diamond Street Locos, the Echo Park Locos, Frogtown, Big Top Locos, the Head Hunters, and the Crazys. These groups have been at war with each other for decades

         The seven member panel at the front of the room, which included Randy Waller of the Westlake Neighborhood Council, and assistant city attorney Anne Tremblay, fielded questions from the audience. There was discussion about four-year-old Robert Lopez, Jr. who was killed by then 26 year-old- gang member Howard Astorga who had meant to shoot a rival gang member on Court Street when the child got in the way. The Los Angeles Times reported that Astorga was sentenced to 93 years to life for the killing.

           Members of the American Civil Liberties Union were also there, as were several extremists who charged that gang injunctions were a tool for gentrification, ethnic cleansing, and legalized racism. Then there was the charge that the police are racist, sexist, and that support for a gang injunction is a support for white supremacy.

           "Gangs exist to rob, steal, and kill," Waller said. And after the meeting , assistant city attorney Anne Tremblay told a writer: "The police that I've met care about reducing criminal gang activity. They couldn't care less about racial profiling." And longtime community Echo Park activist  Isa-Kae Meksin recalled all the after school programs at her native New York School when she went to high school during World War II. "What do we offer our youth today?"

              The general consensus was that gang violence was down in the area. One audience member said: " We should look at the source of the gang problem, not the symptoms."

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