September 21, 1999

The ACLU applauds the swift decision by the District Attorney's office to halt implementation of the 18th Street gang injunction. The injunction, based on false affidavits by members of the now-infamous Rampart CRASH unit, could not possibly have withstood a court challenge in light of recent evidence of perjury and corruption in the unit.

The D.A.'s actions do not go far enough. Allegations of police abuse in enforcing gang injunctions are not limited to 18th Street. According to former LAPD officer Rafael Perez, a member of the Rampart CRASH unit recently arrested on charges of theft of cocaine from police evidence lockers, the culture of these units encouraged abuse of power. All affidavits underlying gang injunctions city-wide must be carefully reviewed. Until that review is complete, enforcement efforts should stop.

Gang injunctions offer "quick fix" solutions to the tough, entrenched problem of illegal gang activity. Instead of addressing the underlying problems that make gang involvement attractive -- lack of jobs and educational opportunities in poor and minority neighborhoods - injunctions invite abuse by allowing police to harass and arrest primarily minority youth even when no criminal activity takes place.

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