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City Seeks Injunction Restricting Movement of Gang Members

March 26, 1993

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ City attorneys are seeking a court order to keep gang members out of a violence-ridden neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley. Civil rights lawyers denounced the initiative as unconstitutional.

If granted, the preliminary injunction would keep about 400 members of the Blythe Street Gang off the streets during the evening and prevent them from gathering in groups during the daytime.

Superior Court Judge John Majors heard arguments Thursday from the city and from attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union. Majors said he would issue a decision Tuesday.

Five years ago, the city successfully used a similar strategy against another gang, the Playboy Gangster Crips, said Deputy City Attorney Jule Bishop.

″The gang we were after disappeared from that neighborhood. It worked,″ she said.

The cities of Burbank and San Jose also have won injunctions to limit gang members’ activities.

Los Angeles filed the lawsuit last month in response to the October shooting death of an anti-gang activist, Bishop said.

But the ACLU contends the city has gone too far.

″We understand the people on Blythe Street are faced with very great problems of crime and gang violence,″ said Mark Silverstein, an ACLU attorney. But he added, ″The kind of broad restrictions the city is seeking in this case are an impermissible short cut.″

The injunction also would prohibit gang members from possessing weapons, flashlights, cellular phones, binoculars or marking pens or other devices that can be used to create graffiti.

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