Constitutional Law

Injunctions to Curtail Citizen Activities?

In a sign of the law enforcement times, two California judges were asked yesterday to issue injunctions that would prohibit 76 alleged gang members from hanging out in certain areas of San Francisco, wearing certain colors and using gang signs. The orders could also involve a curfew, except for approved activities such as going to and from work.

Such orders are routine in Los Angeles, where 33 injunctions have been issued against 50 gangs. But they are relatively new—and controversial—in San Francisco, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

“You want to give us security? Give us jobs. Give us affordable housing,” said Gustavo Lopez, a schoolteacher and Mission District activist, at a rally outside City Hall. Opponents contend the proposed injunctions are racist and unconstitutional, because they focus on minorities.

Hearings on the proposed injunctions will be held in September. If imposed, they could lead to criminal charges against those who violate the court orders.

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