The Yolo County District Attorney’s office re-filed for a July gang injunction although the court overturned it in April 2007.
Jeff Reisig, Yolo County District Attorney, placed a gang injunction to prevent gang activity in West Sacramento in February 2005.
The district attorney is saying that this place is horrible and that there is so much crime and that people are afraid to speak up and get out of their homes, said attorney Josh Kaizuka.
However, last month, senior investigator Rick Gore of the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office accused Reisig of ethical malfeasance in a seven-page letter.
[Gore] was forced to sign an affidavit that he didn’t believe, and that’s a great concern, said Citizens Empowering Citizens member Julian Perez.
Amidst the turmoil Monday, there was a rally of homeowners and community members from West Sacramento protesting the preliminary hearing for a second gang injunction outside the Yolo County courthouse in Woodland.
There are people in the community that think that there shouldn’t be one, Kaizuka said. Some people don’t think there is a gang problem the way it is portrayed by the district attorney’s office.
There are 11 different criteria to be considered a gang member in Yolo County. If one falls within two of the different criteria, such as wearing a certain color, that person will be placed into the gang injunction.
Many of the innocent victims of the community were mistakenly identified as gang members, Kaizuka said.
Some people are afraid of possibly being named as a gang member when they’re not, Kaizuka said. The youth in West Sacramento will probably be labeled.
President of the Lorenzo Patiño Council of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) of Sacramento Rebecca Sandoval agreed.
Kids would say that they were placed on the injunction even though they have never committed a crime, she said.
Reisig fought against crime and was the first prosecutor in Northern California to obtain a gang injunction. He advocated for an injunction that would eliminate all gang related activity by imposing curfews and restrictions. The community, however, expressed dissenting sentiments.
It violates the civil rights, Sandoval said. [Citizens] would not be able to leave their home after 10 o’clock at night, they couldn’t leave before sunrise, and they can have criminal charges placed against them if they violate the gang injunction. It’s like placing a city under a Marshall Law.
The city leader and district attorney never asked for the neighborhood’s opinion and thoughts, according to Sandoval.
We don’t believe [the gang injunction] is necessary because the citizens were not the ones who asked for the injunction, Sandoval said. It was the city leader and district attorney. They never engaged the community they were never part of it and never asked us if this is necessary.
In reality, the neighborhood is a safe place, contrary to what the district attorney believes, Perez said.
The district attorney called the Broderick and Bryte area a war zone, Perez said. However, we got over 100 declarations signed by residents saying that they live in a good community and they don’t feel that there are any gang problems.
Having a second gang injunction will place a negative image on the community.
[The neighborhood] is going to have a very negative effect if they place the second injunction, Perez said. People will be afraid to associate with each other if they place the injunction.
The community hopes the gang injunction will not be placed in the end.
This is clearly a violation of civil rights, Sandoval said. It’s very frightening this is happening. We are having a concern on the effect it’s having on the community because of the harassment that Latino youths have faced from the police as a result of the injunction. Broderick and Bryte are the ones that keep West Sacramento together and now they’re breaking it apart.
JANET HUNG can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.