Orange County District Attorney Press Release
For Immediate Release: January 16, 2013
Contacts: Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff, Office: 714-347-8408, Cell: 714-292-2718
Farrah Emami, Spokesperson, Office: 714-347-8405, Cell: 714-323-4486
LAW ENFORCEMENT OBTAINS 12th ORANGE COUNTY GANG INJUNCTION AGAINST VIOLENT ANAHEIM STREET GANG
*This is the fourth gang injunction in the City of Anaheim
ANAHEIM – Members of a violent Anaheim criminal street gang have been permanently enjoined from terrorizing the community and acting as a public nuisance, marking the 12th injunction to be brought against Orange County gangs and the fourth in the City of Anaheim. Investigation and legal work on this injunction began in March 2012 in response to decades of violent crime by the gang and numerous residents pleading with law enforcement to eliminate the gang presence so that they no longer have to live in fear.
The service of the injunctions today, Jan. 16, 2013, was a cooperative effort between the Anaheim Police Department (APD) and Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) Bureau of Investigation. A permanent injunction was signed Jan. 11, 2013, by the Honorable Charles Margines against the gang and APD will enforce the injunction.
Deputy District Attorney Susan Eckermann prepared the injunction on behalf of the Gang Unit of the OCDA.
“The families and community members in these neighborhoods have asked law enforcement to help after being terrorized and victimized by this gang,” said District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “They have the right to live free from fear and deserve our efforts to use every available legal tool to take back the streets for these good, hard-working people.”
WHAT IS AN INJUNCTION?
A gang injunction is a civil order that restricts or prohibits documented gang members from participating in specific acts or activities that may not be inherently criminal within a designated area, or “Safety Zone.” The terms are designed to curb intimidating or harassing behavior. If a member of an enjoined gang violates the terms, he or she will be arrested and face prosecution. The case may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor for disobeying a court order and the defendant will be placed on gang probation terms or be sent to jail for up to six months.
This injunction names the gang as the defendant. The gang injunction subjects all active, documented members to prohibitive terms including a restriction that prohibits any association between members of the gang. Association includes standing, sitting, walking, driving, bicycling, gathering, or appearing anywhere in public or public view with any known member of the gang (except while at school or in church). The terms also maintain that there can be no intimidation, use or sale of drugs, consuming alcohol in public, guns or dangerous weapons, fighting, trespassing, blocking free passage, gang hand signs, gang clothes, burglary tools, or acting as a lookout. In addition, the gang members must obey curfew and all laws. Graffiti and vandalism are also prohibited as graffiti is often used by the gangs in the Safety Zones as a method to intimidate rival gangs, mark their territory, advertise their most recent activities, dissuade residents from going to the police, and denounce police.
Gang members who are subject to the terms of the injunction include the most active gang members who are well-documented through personal admission and/or affiliation, association with known gang members, dressing in the style of the gang or having gang tattoos, possessing gang paraphernalia, and/or committing crimes for the benefit of the gang.
ANAHEIM GANG INJUNCTION
The 12th injunction to be made permanent in Orange County is the fourth to be brought against an Anaheim criminal street gang. This criminal street gang is a violent, traditional turf-oriented gang that has been active since the 1980s with approximately 70 to 80 members actively engaged in nuisance and criminal activity. Officers identified 54 of the most active, well-documented members as representatives and served them with copies of the permanent injunction on behalf of the gang. All active, documented members of the gang are subject to the injunction whether they were served as a representative or not.
A 1-square mile area makes up the Safety Zone, which is located south of Orangethorpe Avenue, west of State College Boulevard, north of Sycamore Street, and east of East Street/Raymond Avenue. This Safety Zone is primarily in the City of Anaheim, with a small portion extending into the City of Fullerton.
Between January 2008 and September 2012, criminal activity in the Safety Zone resulted in the documentation and/or arrest of gang members for crimes including: three murders, four attempted murders, 86 incidents of gun or dangerous weapon possession, 12 participants involved in assaults, 304 drug or paraphernalia violations, 13 incidents of graffiti or vandalism tools, 48 associating with other members of the same criminal street gang, 23 intimidation, four alcoholic beverage in public, 18 wearing gang clothing, 14 burglaries or possession of burglary tools, 12 robberies, six curfew violations, eight vehicle thefts, 27 loitering, and two trespassing.
Additional crimes were committed in the Safety Zone but not documented because many people that live and work in the neighborhood are reluctant to cooperate with police for fear of retaliation from the gang. The graffiti statistics above only reflect cases where a suspect was arrested and do not include the hundreds of other incidents of graffiti, which plagues the Safety Zone, for which no suspects have been identified.
CONCERNS FROM COMMUNITY MEMBERS AS TOLD TO APD INVESTIGATOR
Residents and community members in the Safety Zone told APD about the fear and intimidation caused by the gang. Those statements are recounted by APD Investigator Daniel Gonzalez in a 217-page Expert Declaration regarding the gang injunction. He writes, in part:
“The People I have spoken with in community meetings, school gatherings, and while conducting my regular patrols, have expressed that they are constantly living in fear of the [gang name] gang members. Several residents have said they are cautious about being outside after dark because of the gang’s violent activities. Residents have also conveyed to officers of the Anaheim Police Department that they live in terror…” Page 143
“A property owner…explained his apartment complex and other complexes are often vandalized with [gang name] graffiti. The property owner also expressed concern regarding gang members breaking the locks and handles on the security gates of his complex. The property owner also complained that his tenants were afraid to live in the area due to [gang name] gang members shooting guns in the area.” Page 143
“I spoke with a principal of [a school in the Safety Zone] about gang activity in the area surrounding the campus. … She shared that the campus recently had a problem with suspected gang members intimidating students and staff on campus. Parents had expressed safety concerns as a major issue during PTA meetings. The principal told me she purposely does not schedule any parent/student events during the evening hours. The principal added she purposely schedules staff meetings during early afternoon hours, and does not allow any meeting to run into hours of darkness for the safety of her staff.” Page 144
“I spoke with the Community Liaison assigned to [the school]. I learned parents had expressed safety concerns to her on numerous occasions, and that many parents elected to walk their children to and from school because they felt it was unsafe for their children to travel alone. … She said that she actually takes alternate routes to work and will not drive in the area of [the Safety Zone]. She added she would not feel safe driving near the campus during nighttime hours.” Page 144
“I spoke with [a] pastor of a church located within the Safety Zone. The pastor explained the church specifically attempts to reach out to residents…by hosting monthly Town Hall meetings at the church. The pastor indicated parishioners often spoke at the Town Hall meeting about the gang violence and fear the gang’s presence creates in the neighborhood.” Page 145
“A female resident, who has lived [in the Safety Zone] for many years, told me she was afraid of the [gang name] gang and does not allow her children to play outside. She added gang members often jump the fence of her apartment complex and loiter in and around the laundry room. The resident has heard gunshots near her residence and added they occur day and night.” Page 146
EXCERPTS FROM EXPERT DECLARATION OF APD INVESTIGATOR
Investigator Gonzalez’s Expert Declaration regarding gang behavior and crime states, in part:
“Throughout my career, I have spoken with witnesses and victims who refused to cooperate with investigations because they feared retaliation by gang members. People have previously shared with me that gang members knew where they lived and at times pointed out that they had children, indicating that they would not cooperate with an investigation due to fear of retaliation against themselves or their families.” Page 73
“Along with using the cover of darkness to aid in the commission of their nuisance and criminal activities, [gang name] gang members will also routinely use other gang members as ‘lookouts’ to prevent their crimes from being detected by law enforcement. A ‘lookout’ will keep watch and then whistle, yell, signal, and gesture to warn other gang members of approaching law enforcement. I have experienced this during my patrols of the Safety Zone. As soon as a ‘lookout’ sees my patrol vehicle, I will start hearing whistling. I have also seen small children start to whistle when I enter the neighborhood, a behavior I feel they have learned from living in an area with a high level of gang activity.” Page 90
“Gangs and gang participants use graffiti as a warning, a threat, an advertisement, or to promote their recent criminal activity. … I have seen various forms of [gang name] criminal street gang graffiti numerous times and it significantly diminishes the visual pleasantries of the neighborhood. Residents in the Safety Zone routinely have their apartments, sidewalks, light poles, mailboxes, trashcans, and garage doors vandalized by [gang name] members. Graffiti left unabated serves as a reminder to the community of who controls the neighborhood.” Page 92
“With the advancement and ready availability of computer technology, gang members are now commonly using the Internet to communicate with each other, promote their illicit activities, brag about their crimes, and to threaten and intimidate rival gang members. Gang members, including members of [Anaheim gang name], are using social networking Internet sites such as MySpace, YouTube, and Facebook to communicate and boast about their gang membership and related activities. On these social websites, gang members are posting pictures of their gang, gang tattoos, and photos of themselves flashing gang signs.” Page 122
The devastation that the [gang name] gang has had on the community within the Safety Zone by their criminal activities is undeniable. … For numerous years, members of the community have endured violent confrontations, robberies, shootings, drug dealing, graffiti, and other offensive behavior. The members of [gang name] gang have flagrantly disregarded the rights of the people who live, work, or visit the Safety Zone.” Page 215
STATUS OF 11 ONGOING INJUNCTIONS
In Orange County there are currently 11 other permanent gang injunctions in the cities of Anaheim, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Orange, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, and Stanton. As a result of the injunctions, crime has been significantly reduced in the Safety Zones by as much as 65 percent.