The Unconstitutional Oxnard Civil Gang Injunctions are a Fear Mongering Fraud and must be Rescinded!

Editorial

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By Armando Vazquez     

Around 2004 in the ill-conceived and secretive development and eventual rollout of The Oxnard Civil Gang Injunctions, we know now, that there was massive, abusive, and illegal overreach by the Ventura County Districts Attorney’s Office and the Oxnard Police Department. Today, like cornered rats awaiting the inevitable death blow, the Ventura County Districts Attorney’s Office and the Oxnard Police Department are scrambling to keep their new “modified” 2018 Oxnard Civil Gang Injunctions model from being struck down as unconstitutional in its entirety by the local courts.

On Tuesday, April 16, 2019 in the Ventura County Superior Court hearing that CORE members attended we learned that the Ventura County Districts Attorney’s Office and the Oxnard Police Department have now served only 16 adults (8 from Colonia and 8 from Southside) with intent to enjoin them in their new “modified” Oxnard Civil Gang Injunctions. The 16 adults served with this new intent to enjoin them with new documentation is an incredibly small departure from the 300 adults and youths who were served in the original enjoined services rollout (in the period from 2004-2006) throughout Oxnard. The approximately 300 originally enjoined adults and youth were a result of a massively deceptive full court fear mongering public relations campaign that was conducted by the Ventura County Districts Attorney’s Office, the Oxnard Police Department, the Oxnard City Council and all the tough on crime minions that march in lock step with the OPD.

Today the OPD and the Ventura County DA, with their collective hair on fire, are scrambling pathetically to stay within the legal guard rails that have been created by recent judicial decisions that have struck down many civil gang injunctions up and down California (including Oxnard’s) as being unconstitutional in their malignant scope and breath.

So now in 2019, what does the Ventura County Districts Attorney’s Office and the Oxnard Police Department do with the “Safety Zone” that will quarantine only 16 “active and violent gang members”? The original “Safety Zone” was two huge geographically carved out areas in and around Colonia and Southside Squires that ostensibly targeted and controlled “gang” activities that sprawled in two predominately low-income, immigrant Latino Oxnard communities and were originally developed to enjoin 300 or more “active and violent gang members”. Today the OPDs and the DA seeks to enjoin only 16 “active and violent gang members” in all of Oxnard. Will the Safety Zones (areas) in Oxnard be drastically reduced or eliminated and how will this be coordinated?

We believe that from the beginning the Oxnard Gang “Safety Zone” area map, developed in secrecy, without public scrutiny, was nothing more than a racist and fear mongering tactic developed and deployed by the OPD and the Ventura County DA to instil fear in the hearts and minds of many of the gullible residents of Oxnard, who believed the OPD propaganda that the city of Oxnard was being overrun by thousands of violent Latino gang members. We know today, as we knew in 2004, that this fear mongering public relation campaign deployed by the OPD was based on racism, misinformation, manipulation of crime statistics, and outright lies.

For approximately 15 years two large area of Oxnard have been quarantined and for all intent and purposes have been left out of Oxnard civic life and the common everyday city affairs because they have been stigmatized by institutional lies as  being “dangerous gang territories” This then is the 15 year legacy of the unconstitutional Oxnard Civil Gang Injunctions. An ill-conceived policing tool that has unconstitutional infringed on the lives of thousands of Latinos. Specifically tainted were the reputation of two predominately low-income Latino neighborhoods and more broadly this process self-inflicted a permanent public relations black eye on the entire city of Oxnard.

It is time for the Oxnard city council to join the enlightened ranks of city officials throughout California that have concluded that Civil Gang injunctions are a horrific mistake, a tremendous drain on the limited and precious financial resources of a city and most importantly they target and create in Oxnard an enjoined populations of low-income, Latino men of our community who are subject to selective police actions, draconian and unconstitutional restrictions. These types of selective prosecution and supervision law enforcement policies does not serve the community well. These highly punitive and obsolete tough on crime policing tactics create a highly adversarial us versus them mentality, where perpetually warring factions are at each other throat.  

All previous action lead us to believe that the OPD and the Ventura County DA’s office will not abandon their destructive, divisive and unconstitutional policies, because they have so much at stake, i.e., their reputation, their funding, their standing with the electorate that is always with them when they are tough on crime, their omnipotence and ultimately their hubris.  So it is going to be up to the people of Oxnard to take control of their police department and begin to become active agents in the creation and deployment of policies that become the new transparent, just and fully democratic community safety paradigm.

Here is an idea that is gaining considerable traction in the progressive community. Take all the funding from the OPD department that deploys and executes the Civil Gang Injunction enforcement actions and divert these funds to social and restorative justice training, provide funding for community based organization that provide educational remediation and instruction, promote and fund the arts, create a New Green Deal program that is creative and address important, local environmental issues in Oxnard (Ormond Beach restoration, energy efficiency programs for the private and public sectors, Green training and job development, and much more), full triage non-profit cooperative work with homeless and recovery communities, that include creating low income housing, health, education and sobriety programs that are interrelated and cooperative, and other programs to be identified and created to create a compassionate, transparent, democratic and restorative justice and safety Oxnard paradigm that will benefit all residents, and not unconstitutionally and illegally punish a selective few.

Related Op Ed: Police Chief Scott Whitney’s Response to Accusations of the Unconstitutionally of Civil Gang Injunctions


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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6 Responses to The Unconstitutional Oxnard Civil Gang Injunctions are a Fear Mongering Fraud and must be Rescinded!

  1. Gary April 26, 2019 at 11:18 am

    Mr. Vazquez’ views are a joke and only prove he is more interested in the “rights” of gang members being able to freely roam the streets and victimize the innocent people of Oxnard and Ventura County, than the rights of the innocent.

    The comment by “Venom” LOL, is a perfect example of the moronic support Mr. Vazquez has. You make a good pair.

    Keep up the great work OPD, VSO and VCDA!

    Reply
  2. Venom April 24, 2019 at 9:13 am

    Well it is what it is… And to be Real you White muthafuckas wrongfully convicted someone I knew(yes a black man) so if war breaks I would not be surprised if Ventura County is the first to become a Anti-Cop Zone. Know your place. I really believe this war between S.S and COxCH will be the one. To eliminated all authorities whom wanna wrongfully convict all of us who is NOT WHITE. Suu Woo out.

    Reply
  3. Steve Stevens April 24, 2019 at 6:40 am

    He’s right. Instead of gang injunctions, we should have deportations. Even if they are here legally, kick them out.

    Reply
  4. William Hicks April 23, 2019 at 11:06 pm

    A good example of Citizens Journal as a forum of various platforms. Surely, Mr. Vazquez is either telling the truth or a bunch of lies. Considering the ad homonem attacks with no supporting evidence makes me, as a non-citizen of Oxnard, dubious of his statements.

    Reply
  5. Mark Savalla April 22, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    Analysis of a liar, that sums up Mr. Armando Vazquez, M.Ed. If you take time to analyze his diatribe of unsubstantiated lies you will be able to compare them to the talking points of the Communist Leftist party. He cares nothing about the neighborhoods nor the gang problem. He only cares about spewing his hate for the country and the Constitution. His only goal is to share his hate and provide fodder for those of his ilk.

    The police Department is doing what it legally can to deter the proliferation of gang crime based on the Constitution and State and local laws. When you have a cancer in the body you don’t get rid of it by allowing it to grow on its own.

    Compare the crime stats before and after the gang injunctions were established. Facts don’t lie.

    Reply
  6. Larry April 21, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    The citizens have a right not to be preyed upon or caught in the crossfire! Stop coddling the gang members, they chose the behavior, they also chose the consequences! Citizens want them out of our town, plain and simple! I don’t pay taxes to live in a gang war zone and I certainly am not aggravate to coddling the “poor, unfortunate gangsters” this article is an insult to all the victims of the gang behavior in Oxnard!

    Reply

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