Free-Thinking the Gang Injunction

Open Letter to the Mayor and City Council:

On November 26, 2013, the Santa Barbara City Council held a closed-session hearing related to the gang injunction. On December 13, 2013, the Santa Barbara City Attorney Steve Wiley, with Tom Shapiro and District Attorney Joyce Dudley and Hilary Dozer, filed a 413-page Preliminary Injunction in Santa Barbara Superior Court. This preliminary injunction was composed of a single 354-page declaration by SBPD Officer Gary Seigel Jr. to support their claims. Considering the plaintiff’s motion for a permanent injunction filed March 14, 2011, was only 46 pages, why demand the temporary injunction, which gives the opposition only 30 days to respond?

This injunction seems to establish a de jure Stop-Frisk-Arrest policy that exclusively includes members of the Latino community. Chief Sanchez and Councilmember Dale Francisco have been clear that it is not racist to target a single minority group if that minority group that is committing a majority of the crimes. On December 17, 2013, the chief declared crime rates are declining. He said the gang injunction has not been implemented yet. Sanchez informed the public that any violation of a law by an alleged “gang member” was a “gang crime.” So, an average person being arrested for a DUI is different than an alleged “gang member” being arrested for the same offense. Sanchez has manipulated the crime statistics to fabricate a “gang problem” and “war zone” in Santa Barbara.

In short, this process as a whole has raised several questions that need answering. The Free Thinking Patriots will join many other civil rights groups and concerned citizens at City Hall on January 7, 2014, at 2 p.m. to demand answers, that the preliminary injunction be withdrawn, and that the injunction be placed on the agenda as an actionable item ASAP.

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