The Oxnard Civil “Gang” Injunction is Dead

By Armando Vazquez, Founding member of CORE  & the Acuna Art Gallery and Community Collective   October 18, 2018                                             

Chiques Organizing for Rights and Equality (CORE) has learned from recent news reported in the Ventura County Star, along with oral reports and information from activist partners, that a very recent Ventura County court ruling has granted the immediate removal of three former profiled Oxnard “gang members” from the Oxnard Civil “Gang” Injunction.

For the past 15 years CORE and other Oxnard based social justice activists have been fighting the unconstitutional Oxnard Civil “Gang” Injunction.  We continue to be actively confident that we will finally and permanently defeat this ill-conceived, draconian, racist and unconstitutional “law enforcement tool”.  It has harassed, profiled and enjoined our youth for the past 15 years.

At the heart of the District Attorney’s recent decision to dismiss all three cases was the incredibly damaging revelation of ineptitude exhibited by the DA and the Oxnard Police Department.  They did not have the necessary police intelligence, legal information or supporting data to prove that these three enjoined “gang members” were still active in the “Colonia Chiques” gang.

We have written extensively on the fatal legal flaws of the Oxnard Civil Gang Injunction; namely that at its rotten core the injunction denies individuals their protected constitutional right to ‘due process’.  As Senior Ventura County Public Defender William Quest was quoted, “The only three cases we had, all three of them got dismissed.  That shows you something”. The “something”, of course, is nothing.  The DA and the police have ‘nothing’ on many of the enjoined “gang members”.  They used highly questionable intelligence gathering tactics that they have developed over the years, now being revealed to be nothing more than cursory, superficial and illegal profiling of the youth.  Remember that the police department has been profiling our youth for the past 15 years.  Yet the DA and the police cannot produce even cursory police intelligence to the courts when requested.

So now the DA and the police are left with egg on their collective faces as defense attorneys, the Ventura County Public Defender’s Office, and local courts are demanding that policing authorities produce evidence to legally support the enjoining of individuals as gang members.

CORE has argued for 15 years that the DA and the police department exploited the ignorance and fears of gullible and vulnerable residents, then they secretly and haphazardly cut & pasted a Civil “Gang” Injunction Ordinance, rolling out their quick-fix “gang policing tool” on the backs and minds of an unsuspecting class of Oxnard residents to appease the local electorate.  The DA and police never took the lives that this unconstitutional law-from-hell would irrevocably alter or destroy, seriously,.

15 years later we are now learning how the DA and the police never had any intention of doing the necessary professional administrative and objective intelligence, data gathering and police/legal documentation.  This is the work required to insure that all individuals that are the target of the Oxnard Civil “Gang” Injunction are afforded and guaranteed constitutionally protected due process rights.  The DA and the police arrogantly brushed aside the Constitution.

CORE, along with many social justice activists and organizations, argued that one of the best ways to address youth/adult dysfunction is to provide the following in a universally available culturally and ethnically congruent manner:  educational, artistic, community building work projects.  As well as social services which can help build up a troubled/dysfunctional individual’s inherent human propensity to “do the right thing”.

Loving all our sisters and brothers, common sense, and working hard to improve our community, one person at a time, takes a lot of soul searching, dedication and time.  It takes relatively very little money.  Love and commitment are free.  The Oxnard Police Department’s budget for fiscal year 2017-18 is $66,196,039 and this astronomical figure will continue to grow in the coming years.  Oxnard we can do better!

In Oxnard like much of America we are more fearful and polarized than ever.  We continue to mindlessly throw money at the cops for safety concerns, problems and issues that they are not professionally trained or prepared to address much less resolve.  The fear of ‘them’ is in our individual hearts, and must be addressed and resolved by our individual hearts and minds.  The cops cannot solve the fear and pain that lurks in our hearts and minds, only love can.  Why not take a radical step toward a new community safety paradigm that is love-driven, innovative, as well as culturally and ethnically congruent in the community?  We have nothing to lose but fear itself; while at the same redemptive time we create a love spot in our hearts where once there was only fear.

Armando Vazquez

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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2 Responses to The Oxnard Civil “Gang” Injunction is Dead

  1. Jose October 24, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    Why don’t you tell the gang members to take a step towards obeying the law in a “love-driven” manner? You choose the behavior, you choose the consequences!

    Reply
  2. Mark Savalla October 22, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    CORE is supported by the Communist party. No program is perfect.

    Reply

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