SF City attorney requests expiration of gang injunctions by end of year

Four gang injunctions placed about a decade ago throughout San Francisco may expire by the end of this year pending a court order, City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced Monday.

Herrera is asking for San Francisco Superior Court to approve a motion to require expiration of the injunctions by Dec. 31, 2019 because of a decline in gang activity citywide.

The injunctions were initially placed between 2007 and 2011 in the Mission, Bayview, Hunters Point, Visitacion Valley and Western Addition neighborhoods, targeting seven gangs by forbidding members from engaging in gang-related activity, according to the city attorney's office.

At the height of the injunctions, 150 proven gang members were placed on the list. But following a comprehensive review last year, 86 people were taken off the list because they reportedly ceased criminal behavior.

In addition, Herrera's office noted that one gang had folded altogether.

There are 53 individuals currently subject to the injunctions.

If the court approves letting the gang injunctions expire just before Dec. 31, Herrera would conduct another review to determine if a request to extend the order for anyone is needed.

The motion is expected to be filed in court in the coming weeks, according to Herrera's office.

However, the proposed Dec. 31 sunset date doesn't mean the end of gang injunctions in the city, as new ones could be placed if needed at any point in the future, Herrera's office said.

In statements, city supervisors Sandra Lee Fewer and Shamann Walton applauded Herrera's move.

"This forward-thinking change to the gang injunction policy recognizes that San Francisco is in a very different place than in 2007 when these injunctions were first implemented, as our neighborhoods have undergone dramatic changes," Fewer said.

"Today is a win for social justice," Walton said. "This protects the civil rights of people of color and allows for individuals the opportunity to positively re-enter society without additional obstacles."

Critics have alleged the injunctions unfairly profile young men of color and incorrectly identify them as gang members simply because they know or are related to a gang member.

According to Herrera's office, in order for an individual to be placed on an injunction, a judge must first review evidence in court and make a decision.

The individual is then notified and can contest it at any time. Also, no individual under 18 can be placed on a gang injunction and juvenile criminal records cannot be used as evidence.