The Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously not to appeal the gang injunction decision.
Superior Court Judge Colleen Sterne’s ruling denied the proposed injunction for the Eastside and Westside gangs, saying the city, District Attorney’s Office and police department didn’t prove the gangs were a public nuisance rising to the level of an injunction.
Council members discussed the ruling for the first time Tuesday during a closed session with City Attorney Ariel Calonne.
Mayor Helene Schneider said the council “accepts and respects the court’s decision” as she read from a short statement after the closed-door discussion.
“We will continue to use all of our law enforcement resources to protect the residents of Santa Barbara from gang violence,” she said.
Police Chief Cam Sanchez commented on the ruling right after it was issued, saying he planned to “accept it and move on” and focus on existing law enforcement resources, including prevention and intervention programs.
“I think all of us in public safety, our only goal is to keep everyone safe and use different tools that can help in that regard, and that’s all I was trying to do,” he told Noozhawk at the time.
Council members considered pulling the case out of court altogether, but a vote failed 5-2 and the proposed injunction went to trial in May.
Several people spoke during public comment before the closed session with concerns the city would appeal the ruling and continue the three-year legal process.
PODER, a group which has actively protested the injunction, held a party to celebrate the gang injunction ruling Tuesday night at Casa de la Raza.
Brandon Morse, a member of PODER, spoke during public comment and said his group “knew we would win” and wanted the council to accept the judgment.
With this council decision, the city will be making no more comments, Calonne said.