Gang injunction produces arrest in Bayview district 

San Francisco police arrested one man Tuesday for violating a controversial stay-away order against a criminal street gang in the Bayview district, police reported Thursday.

Officers monitoring the area around the Oakdale housing project arrested DeShawn Range, 26, an alleged member of the Oakdale Mob street gang, after he associated with another documented gang member in the so-called "safety zone."

Under a court order obtained by City Attorney Dennis Herrera in late November, 22 named Oakdale Mob members face misdemeanor charges for activities such as graffiti, loitering and associating with one another in a specified four-square-block area around the Oakdale housing project.

Herrera, who is charged as city attorney with nuisance abatement, identified the gang as a public nuisance in the injunction lawsuit, saying members hold neighbors hostage as they engage in drug dealing, robberies, carjackings and at least 12 murders. He said in October that public outcry spurred his office to action.

So-called gang injunctions are controversial because, in the name of safety, they can impede their subjects’ First Amendment rights to expression and assembly. The American Civil Liberties Union argued against the implementation of the Oakdale injunction in October, claiming its subjects received insufficient notice, and would have to incriminate themselves as gang members if they appeared in court to oppose the order.

Attorney Damone Hale, who represents one of the subjects of the injunction, argued against the injunction’s implementation on the grounds that its specific orders were developed with insufficient community input.

But the City Attorney’s Office stated Thursday that the injunction has been a success. "So far The City’s gang injunction against the Oakdale Mob has been extremely successful in improving the quality of life for the people who live in the area," Herrera’s spokeswoman, Alexis Truchan, said Thursday. "Tuesday’s arrest is further proof that this program is doing what it intends to do: discouraging criminals from continuing to engage in nuisance activities in the neighborhood."

Range, who does not live in the Oakdale housing project, was arrested Tuesday after police officers saw him enter the safety zone and have a five-minute conversation with another individual named in the injunction, said Officer Len Broberg, of the department’s gang task force.

Police are looking for the other individual, Broberg said, but because violation of a court order is a misdemeanor, they cannot get a search warrant to enter his home.

Range, who is on parole, appeared in court on Thursday, where his arraignment was continued. He is out of custody, according to the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. Range’s attorney could not be reached by press time.

In January, police confirmed that Herrera is seeking a similar injunction against gangs in the Mission district. Herrera’s office would not comment on the ongoing investigation.

amartin@examiner.com

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