Los Angeles, CA – A judge ruled that the city of Los Angeles can’t enforce its gang injunctions, which have long been an effective tool in combating gang-related crime in the city.
Chief U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips ruled March 15 that the American Civil Liberties Union is likely to prove that those people that are the target of the remaining injunctions had their rights violated.
The city didn’t give those targeted with injunctions an opportunity to challenge the civil restraining orders in court, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Injunctions are civil court orders that can restrict people from associating with other people in neighborhoods considered to be hot spots for street gangs. Violators may be arrested.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the Los Angeles Youth Justice Coalition filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department in 2016 that claimed the police violated the rights of city residents by not giving them a chance to show they are not gang members, according to CBS News.
The city released 7,300 people last year from the conditions of injunctions. There were about 1,450 people still subject to the orders, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The city can still issue injunctions, but must give targets the chance to challenge them in court.
It was believed this was the first time a judge has stopped city officials from enforcing the injunctions, which started back in the late 1980s.
“The court clearly recognizes the way the city of Los Angeles has been enforcing gang injunctions over decades violates due process in a way that makes it likely they will place people on gang injunctions who may not be gang members,” said Peter Bibring, senior staff attorney for the ACLU.
“This ruling marks the end of gang injunctions as they worked in the city of Los Angeles,” Bibring said.
Los Angeles police officials said they were waiting for guidance from the city attorney’s office before commenting on the court’s decision, CBS News reported.