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Brown and Delgadillo File Lawsuit Seeking Injunction that Creates 1.4 Square-Mile Gang-Free Zone Around L.A. School
Los Angeles -- Fighting to protect the rights of students who have been “indiscriminately terrorized” by gang violence, Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. and Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo today announced that they have filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction that creates a 1.4 square-mile gang-free zone around Fremont High School in Los Angeles.
This injunction would be the first-of-its-kind and would impose a daytime curfew on members of four violent street gangs (the Swan Bloods, Florencia 13, the Main Street Crips, and the 7-Trey Hustlers/Gangster Crips) to prevent them from being on the streets while students walk to and from school, from assembling with other gang members, and from harassing and intimidating law-abiding citizens.
“These brutally violent street gangs have indiscriminately terrorized students who simply wanted to travel to and from school,” Brown said. “This first-of-its-kind injunction would create a gang-free zone around Fremont High School that shields students from violence, intimidation and drug trafficking.”
A complaint seeking this injunction was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Friday, June 12. The injunction would create the “Fremont Free Passage Safety Zone” to prevent gang activity in the 1.4 square-mile neighborhood surrounding Fremont High School in Los Angeles.
This zone will be bound by Florence Avenue to the north, Central Avenue to the east, Manchester Avenue to the south and the 110 Freeway to the west and extends 100 yards beyond each of these boundaries.
Within the zone, police will enforce a strict curfew preventing gang members from being on the streets while students are walking to and from school, from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Also, to protect all residents in the Fremont High School neighborhood, gang members must obey a night time curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. The injunction also prevents gang members from:
• Standing, sitting, walking, driving, gathering or appearing anywhere in public view, in a public place or in any place accessible to the public, with any other known gang member in the zone;
• Confronting, intimidating, annoying, harassing, threatening, challenging, provoking, assaulting, or battering any person who lives in, works in, visits or passes through the zone;
• Possessing any firearm, ammunition or weapon, whether or not concealed, in a public place or in any place accessible to the public within the zone;
• Selling, transporting, possessing or using, any controlled substance, drug or drug-related paraphernalia within the zone;
• Acting as a lookout by whistling, yelling, or signaling to warn another person engaged in unlawful or nuisance activity of the approach of law enforcement officers within the zone;
• Obstructing, impeding or blocking the free passage of any person or vehicle on any street, walkway, sidewalk, driveway, alley or parking lot within the zone;
• Drinking or possessing an open container of an alcoholic beverage in public within the safety zone;
• Damaging, defacing, marking, painting or otherwise applying graffiti to any public or private property or possessing any item to carry out such acts within the zone;
• Loitering in public for the purpose of tagging graffiti, drug-related activity or any other unlawful or nuisance activity within the zone; and
• Being present in or on the property of another person that is not open to the general public without the owner’s consent within the zone.
This injunction marks the culmination of a nine-month investigation into the gang activity of the Swan Bloods, Florencia 13, the Main Street Crips, and the 7-Trey Hustlers/Gangster Crips around Fremont High School. The 77th Division of the Los Angeles Police Department gathered and provided the evidence necessary to take action.
The investigation found that gang members frequently confronted, threatened, intimidated, assaulted, and robbed Fremont High School students traveling to and from school. These gangs also vandalized property, trespassed, loitered and sold and used drugs on sidewalks and streets near the school. For example:
• In April 2009, a young male was shot by a young female in broad daylight right next to Fremont High School on 79th Street and Avalon Boulevard.
• In March 2009, Swan Blood gang members attacked a young woman from behind in broad daylight and stole her necklace at a laundromat adjacent to Fremont High School on 78th Street and San Pedro Street.
• In February 2009, a Main Street Crip gang member armed with a handgun took a family hostage seven blocks from Fremont High School on 84th Street between Main Street and Wall Street after running from an LAPD officer.
• In November 2008, three Swan Blood gang members approached a 16-year-old student from behind, knocked him to the ground, punched and kicked him in the head and face, knocked him unconscious, and took his property. The crime occurred about four blocks from Fremont High School on McKinley Avenue at 80th Street.
• In October 2008, a 7-Trey Hustlers/Gangster Crips gang member shot into crowd of rival Swan Blood gang members with an assault rifle about one block from Fremont High School at 76th Street and San Pedro Street, killing an eight-year-old girl.
• In 2008, Florencia 13 gang members surrounded a Fremont High School student, asked him where he was from, yelled out, “This is Florencia!” proceeded to punch and kick him, and stole his money and electronics. The crime occurred less than one block from Fremont High School at 79th Street and Avalon Boulevard.
• In October 2007, a Florencia 13 gang member tried to stab a 15-year-old student walking home with a screw driver. Five to six gang members then punched and kicked the student, causing an eye abrasion, swelling to both sides of his face, bloody lips, a bump on his head and vomiting.
• In June 2007, a Swan Blood gang member murdered two young men in an alley about six blocks from Fremont High School, near 84th Street and San Pedro Street.
Many of the crimes around Fremont High School go unreported because victims and witnesses face the threat of retaliation and violence if they talk to police.
The complaint filed contends that this gang activity infringes on the constitutional right of students to obtain a public education on a safe, secure, and peaceful campus and to safely travel to and from school in violation of California’s Tom Bane Civil Rights Act. The Bane Act protects individuals from interference -- by use of threats, intimidation, or coercion -- with his or her peaceable exercise of their state and federal constitutional rights.
The complaint also contends that this gang activity constitutes a public nuisance pursuant to California Civil Code, sections 3479 and 3480.
To date, traditional law enforcement methods have not eliminated the immediate and continual risk to the lives and property of the people who live in, work, visit and pass through the neighborhood surrounding Fremont High School.
“Too often, street gangs thrive in and around our public schools. We intend to use the powers of the Bane Act to create meaningful safe passages to and from Fremont High School so that the students of that school can study and learn in peace, free from the menace of criminal street gangs,” Delgadillo said. “That is why I am proud to partner with the Attorney General and his office on this historic and creative effort to break the grips of gangs around our public schools.”
This action builds on Brown’s commitment to cracking down on violent street gangs. Last month, Brown announced the arrests of 15 members of the Merced Gangster Crips on charges of conspiracy, drug-trafficking, and weapons sales. Brown also filed 347 felony charges with San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis against dozens of members and associates of a San Diego street gang for stealing more than $500,000 from the Navy Federal Credit Union, using forged checks and an Indian Casino cash machine.
The complaint for injunctive relief, filed June 12, 2009 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, is attached.