A Historic, Monumental Victory to the Power of the People

 

 

By Armando Vazquez                                                                                                           

On Monday, November 19, 2018 CORE members and community activists met with the Oxnard Police Department leadership Scott Whitney-Chief, Eric Sonstegard-Assistant Police Chief, and Jason Benites-Assistant Police Chief.

The meeting was called by the OPD to “wrap-up and finalize” the various discussions that CORE and other community activists have had during the previous 15 years on the Civil Gang Injunction. The OPD began the meeting. To our collective astonishment the OPD brass made these “preliminary” declarations (preliminary because we (CORE) were one of the first community groups that they approached with their new “radically modified” Civil Gang Injunction (2.0 version). The OPD is still in the process of making community presentations and had not yet gotten the approval by the full city council and the OPD was in the initial stages of a limited and targeted community presentation campaign.

Here is a brief summation of the presentation made to CORE by the OPD and the proposed roll-out in the coming months of their new Oxnard Civil Gang Injunction protocol (version 2.0).

  1. IMMEDIATE, TOTAL ELIMINATION/REMOVAL OF ALL 368 CURRENTLY ENJOINED, IN BOTH COLONIA AND SOUTHSIDE, FROM THE “OLD” OXNARD CIVIL GANG INJUNCTION (VERSION 1.0):

The OPD will, upon the approval by the full City Council, remove all the current 368 enjoined from the Colonia and Southside Injunctions. Everyone PREVIOUSLY ENJOINED will get a “new and fresh” start. All currently enjoined will be advised by formal notification (letters  ?): this is still to be developed as to the best and most LEGAL NOTIFICATION protocol. Once off the Civil Gang Injunction, these “freed” individuals will no longer be legally controlled by any of the Oxnard Civil Gang Injunction conditions. They are immediately, effectively and legally free.

  1. THE OPD WILL ROLL-OUT THE OXNARD CIVIL GANG INJUNCTION 2.0; WITH LIMITED FOCUS ON THE MOST VIOLENT AND ACTIVE “GANG” MEMBERS IN COLONIA AND SOUTHSIDE:

The OPD brass stated to us that the initial number of future violent “gang” members to be enjoined by the “new” Civil Gang Injunction (2.0 version) would be approximately 24 individuals. The initial enjoined 24 violent and active “gang” members list was derived by internal OPD intelligence, assessment of current “violent gang” activity in Oxnard. Those 24 “violent gang” members that are served, under the new Civil Gang Injunction (version 2.0) will have their due process rights protected; they will be legally served and  they will have their day in court to contest the action taken by the Ventura County District Attorney and the Oxnard Police Department.

  1. DUE PROCESS LEGAL PROTOCOL FOR ALL FUTURE ENJOINED CIVIL GANG INJUNCTION ACTIONS BY THE OPD WILL FOLLOW CONSITUTIONAL PROTECTED DUE PROCESS:

The OPD acknowledged that they, along with other police departments throughout the state of California, have “overreached” in this initial roll-out of the original Civil “Gang” Injunction efforts.  According to the OPD they have drastically amended and curtailed the new injunctions protocols and deployment plans, focus will be on the violent and active “gang” members. The OPD indicates that they want to roll-out a more just, effective, precise and targeted Civil Gang Injunction (2.0 version).

CORE has fought for 15 years for the complete and total elimination of the two Oxnard Civil Gang Injunctions. We continue to believe that the holistic safety of the community of Oxnard would be better served if the Civil Gang Injunctions were completely abolished and that the millions of dollars that are spent on questionable law enforcement “tools” should be redirected to a comprehensive and compassionate social service triage movement that helps all the many disenfranchised and dysfunctional populations in our community.

Notwithstanding our concerns and our continued fight to abolish the Oxnard Civil Gang Injunction, CORE recognizes that what the OPD in proposing the deployment of their new (version 2.0) injunction is a historic and unprecedented victory for the community, and here is why.

The OPD, along will other police department throughout California, are now acknowledging and conceding that they were operating “prima facie” unconstitutional Civil Gang Injunction activities for the past 15 years against certain classes of people. CORE’s 15 year fight to abolish the Oxnard injunctions was primarily based on the OPD’s flagrant disregard for the constitutionally protected due process rights of those initial 368 enjoined “gang” members. It appears that the OPD with their revised injunction (2.0 version) protocols have addressed the crucial constitutionally protected due process right of future violent “gang” members that the OPD will enjoin. We promised the OPD that we would stay vigilant and monitor the due process right of those enjoined in the future.

The Oxnard Police Department by conceding that they initially enjoining 368 “gang” members throughout Oxnard negligently and  grossly “overreached” and in the process trampled on the due process rights of a generation of a certain class of Oxnard residents. 

Make no mistake about the work and the power of the people’s 15 year tireless efforts at the grass root level to fight and abolish the many Civil “gang” Injunctions that proliferated all over California is now bearing historical and unprecedented success; we are defeating, drastically curtailing, in some cities abolishing the Civil “gang Injunctions. Soon 368 “enjoined” residents of Oxnard will be liberated thanks to the power of the people.

The sordid case of the original Oxnard Civil Gang Injunction is laced with lies from local politicians, unchecked and abusive OPD power, 15 years of unconstitutional law enforcement supervision by the OPD of an entire class of people in Oxnard. We will soon turn the page of the OPD’s 15 year dark reign of unconditional civil “gang” injunction law enforcement. The historic take away lesson, is of course, that we must always keep our police and politician in check and as honest as possible; as the saying goes ”power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”


Armando Vazquez, M.Ed.  is Executive Director of  Acuna Art Gallery/Café on A, Executive Director for The KEYS Leadership Academy and Chairman of the Oxnard Multicultural Mental Health/coalition


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One Response to A Historic, Monumental Victory to the Power of the People

  1. Mark Savalla December 8, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    What’s next, proposing that the OPD incorporate the Communist Manifesto as part of their citizen support program. What is CORE doing for the law abiding citizens that now must look forward to less supervised criminals in their neighborhoods?

    Reply

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