For decades now, law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County have been employing the tactic of obtaining court injunctions against specific gang members in an effort to curb their activities. The process begins when law enforcement asks the City Attorney’s Office to seek a gang injunction from a judge who in turn grants a restraining order against specific gang members of a particular gang, in essence suing them. It declares the gang’s behavior a nuisance and asks for special restrictions on their activity.
The lawsuit names actual gang members who are then forbidden to engage in a number of activities, some of which are already illegal such as selling drugs, vandalizing property, and possessing weapons. The suit may also specify a certain geographical area (often labeled as a “safety zone”) and prohibit seemingly legal activities such as wearing certain clothing, acting as lookouts, or even riding bicycles.