Oakland Teachers’ Union Joins Growing Opposition to Civil Gang Injunctions

Oakland Teachers’ Union Joins Growing Opposition to Civil Gang Injunctions

Monday’s Hearing Will Determine Possible Start Date for City Attorney’s Proposed Two-Square Mile “Safety Zone”

by Michael Siegel Sunday Feb 13th, 2011

OAKLAND, CA. One week after representatives of 3,000 Oakland teachers endorsed a resolution condemning the use of “gang injunctions” in Oakland, an Alameda County Superior Court judge will consider whether or not to delay proceedings on a proposed Fruitvale “safety zone.”

On Monday, February 7, the Representative Council of the Oakland Education Association endorsed, without opposition, the following resolution:

New Business Item # 1: the Oakland Education Association condemns the use of the civil gang injunctions in Oakland. Furthermore, the OEA urges its members to attend the February 22, 2011 meeting of the Oakland City Council Public Safety Committee, to be held at City Hall, beginning at 5:30 p.m., to express the position of Oakland teachers. Finally, the OEA urges its members to support the “Week of Action” of the Stop the Injunction Coalition for the week of February 28 through March 4, 2011, including the Coalition’s plans to conduct solidarity actions with teachers on the statewide day of action to defend public education on Wednesday, March 2, 2011.

Representatives from the Oakland’s citywide Stop the Injunctions Coalition welcomed the teachers’ support. “We are tremendously appreciative that the OEA has joined the struggle against these unlawful ‘safety zones’ that serve to oppress and divide poor and working people,” stated Aurora Lopez, a Fruitvale-based organizer who opposes the injunctions. “Like the teachers, we believe that our governments should be investing in schools and community development, not prisons and police.”

Monday’s hearing in the case of People ex rel. John Russo v. Norteños, et al. will determine the possible start date of the proposed gang injunction for the Fruitvale neighborhood. The injunction, as proposed, would cover two square miles of East Oakland – throwing a virtual net over more than 15,000 residences. Volunteer attorneys who are opposing the injunction will be asking the Superior Court to delay a ruling in order to allow defendants the opportunity to prepare their respective cases. “Most of the defendants have only had legal counsel for approximately seven days,” explained Michael Siegel, one of five volunteer attorneys who are working to represent up to 30 defendants. “We hope the Court will recognize that the defendants need more time in order to review the charges against them and raise opposition to any false and erroneous allegations.”