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Injunction to bar gang members from Skid Row

April 7, 2010 12:26:11 AM PDT
Los Angeles city and county officials have filed an injunction aimed at cracking down on drug trafficking on Skid Row.The Los Angeles City Attorney's Gang Division filed the injunction Wednesday in Superior Court in downtown. The injunction prohibits criminal conduct by a group of 80 known gang members and career criminals from all over Los Angeles County who go to Skid Row to sell drugs.

L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley said the drug traffickers' operation is unique to the Central City area.

"Gang members from different gangs are congregating in Skid Row to exploit a vulnerable population who are in this area to obtain valuable social services," said Cooley.

Cooley said the injunction doesn't target those who are dealing with drug addiction, but it is a law enforcement tool aimed at cracking down on gang members and drug dealers.

What was supposed to be a news conference announcing the filing of the new civil injunction was taken over by homeless advocates calling out law enforcement officials, accusing them of harassing residents of Skid Row. The protestors interrupted L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca and other officials, yelling "housing, not jails."

"I just want to thank the local talent for turning what could have been a very boring press conference into a real experience," said L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley.

L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich pressed forward saying his offices were going after the 80 people who, according to the LAPD, had been arrested and convicted three or more times of drug dealing and assaults.

"Well, these families are being preyed upon every single day and it needs to stop," said Trutanich.

People who live in Skid Row say gangs and drugs have been a part of the community for decades.

The area included in the Central City Recovery Zone Injunction is bounded by 3rd Street to the North, Broadway to the West and Central Avenue to the east. The southern boundary runs along 9th Street.

Some homeless advocates told Eyewitness News they would like to see more unified police officers on foot patrol, saying that's been the best deterrent to crime in the Skid Row area.