Tuesday, January 23 , 2018, 8:33 pm | Fair 52º


Local News

Santa Barbara Files for Temporary Gang Injunction

Claiming that Santa Barbara’s street gangs are causing immediate harm, the City Attorney’s Office and District Attorney's Office have filed a motion in Santa Barbara Superior Court seeking a preliminary gang injunction.

The two offices have attempted for nearly three years — since March 2011 — to get a gang injunction against the Eastside and Westside gangs.

Soon after filing the complaint, Superior Court Judge Colleen Sterne said the evidence for a preliminary motion seemed essentially the same as the permanent injunction that would go to trial, so there wasn’t a reason to delay it.

Sterne set a March trial date for the permanent injunction, but the city clearly wants to move forward with a temporary measure, since it filed the motion Dec. 13.

It is scheduled to be heard in court at the end of the month, well before the tentative trial date.

Acting City Attorney Sarah Knecht wrote that the gangs constitute a public nuisance, so the city needs immediate relief.

The proposed injunction has a long list of conditions for the 30 named defendants, who are all allegedly members of the Eastside or Westside street gangs in Santa Barbara.

If Sterne approves the injunction as written, the defendants won’t be allowed to associate with other gang members, carry weapons, sell or use controlled substances, do graffiti , trespass or wear gang attire within the “safety zones” that make up the Eastside, Westside and beach/waterfront areas of the city.

They wouldn’t be allowed on many school campuses or city parks, either.

Many city residents and advocacy groups have publicly opposed the injunction, and told the City Council they were concerned about racial profiling and the restrictive conditions.  

The preliminary injunction complaint has a 355-page declaration by Santa Barbara police officer Gary Siegel Jr., who outlines the department’s knowledge of local street gangs.

The Mexican Mafia and Sureno prison gangs' influence on local street gangs has “significantly increased” over the last two years, he wrote.

In addition to graffiti, physical assaults and other crimes, gang members collect “taxes” from local drug dealers and street vendors, Siegel wrote.

Since most of the dealers and vendors are themselves violating the law, they are not likely to report the extortion to police, he noted.

The injunction civil case is scheduled to go before Sterne on Jan. 27 in Department 5 of the Superior Court.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >