For Immediate Release
Victory for Oakland Residents as City Attorney Dismisses Controversial Police Gang Injunctions
WASHINGTON - After six years of community pressure, organizers and residents achieved a resolute victory in Oakland as two temporary civil gang injunctions were dismissed today in Alameda County Superior Court. Community members and organizations involved with the Stop the Injunctions Coalitions (STIC) have worked tirelessly to relieve Oakland residents of this repressive practice.
“This is a huge victory for Oakland residents that have been demanding an end to police occupation in our neighborhoods,” said Aurora Lopez, a lead organizer with STIC. “We know that Oakland can’t police its way out of the issues we face.” Hundreds of people named on the injunctions, formerly imprisoned people, survivors of police violence, Oakland educators and community organizers, and advocates for restorative justice have been fighting the injunctions as a part of STIC in Oakland since 2009, when the City Attorney first announced his plan to impose them on Oakland neighborhoods.
“After over three million dollars that could’ve went to education or community programs in Oakland was wasted in this lawsuit, the City Attorney dismissed John Russo’s terrible gang injunctions that have never been proven to be effective or beneficial in any way” says Jeff Wozniak, one of the attorneys for defendants targeted in the East Oakland injunction. “These injunctions targeted many men of color who were just living their lives. Thanks to Critical Resistance, Xicana Moratorium Coalition, and everyone else in STIC that organized, agitated, and supported this fight, these men can go on with their lives without fear of being targeted by this oppressive practice.”
The announcement in court today by the City Attorney’s office to dismiss the injunctions comes after a review of the defendants was conducted by the City Attorney. The controversial practice became a political hot potato after opponents raised serious concerns about their implementation and efficacy, and ultimate drove their primary architects, former City Attorney John Russo and former OPD Chief Anthony Batts, out of town. City officials stalled defunding and deauthorizing the injunctions during the past three years, despite the lack of political will to pursue them or police will to enforce them. The dismissal of these two injunctions will mean relief for 60 people who have been targeted by the North Oakland and Fruitvale injunctions, their families, and neighbors.
Members of the Stop the Injunction Coalition are available to comment upon request.
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Critical Resistance was formed in 1997 when activists challenging the idea that imprisonment and policing are a solution for social, political, and economic problems came together to organize a conference that examined and challenged what we have come to call the prison industrial complex (PIC).