Press Release: Coalition Says No to Occupy Injunctions

For Immediate Release—January 30, 2012

Coalition Says No to Occupy Injunctions

 Press Contact:  Isaac Ontiveros

Stop the Injunctions Coalition

Ph.  510-444-0484

Oakland—During a press conference and several interviews Sunday, both Mayor Jean Quan and Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said they would seek to target protesters with civil “stay away” orders in an attempt to keep them from participating in Occupy Oakland activities.  Oakland’s Stop the Injunctions Coalition (STIC) is calling the OPD Chief and Quan’s plan an overt attempt to expand the use of injunctions in Oakland despite the fact that the Oakland City Council voted to prevent the expansion of civil gang injunctions pending additional assessment.

 

Oakland has already spent over $1 million on two temporary injunctions in North Oakland and the Fruitvale, targeting the movement and associations of alleged gang members.  Oakland’s gang injunctions were met with sustained protest throughout the last eighteen months and have been widely condemned as ineffective, divisive, costly, and further institutionalizing police use of racial profiling.  The OPD’s own report on the North Oakland Injunction found it to be ineffective in preventing or addressing violent harm in that neighborhood.

 

“The Mayor and OPD’s proposal to use injunctions or stay away orders against organizers is disturbing in many different ways,” says Rachel Herzing of the Stop the Injunctions Coalition. “They are openly targeting and criminalizing the political activity of Oakland residents.  They are proposing using a police tool that has been repeatedly debunked and that the city council has specifically voted against expanding.  What’s more, they are proposing that the notoriously violent OPD, which is on the brink of federal receivership, be given yet another tool to expand their powers against this city’s residents.”

 

In opposing the North Oakland and Fruitvale injunctions, STIC has continuously highlighted the affects of police violence on communities of color in Oakland as well as the disparities between police spending and education, sustainable housing, and healthcare spending.  “The discontent around jobs, budget cuts, housing, and healthcare that are being amplified worldwide by the Occupy movement have been at the core of demands that marginalized communities have been making for generations” says Maisha Quint, STIC member and cultural worker at Eastside Arts Alliance. “Instead of addressing the roots of the situation, the Mayor and OPD once again are trying to police their way out of the problem.  This has not worked historically, and it certainly won’t work now.”

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Isaac Ontiveros

Communications Director

 

Critical Resistance

1904 Franklin St #504

Oakland CA 94612

510.444.0484

510.444.2177 (fax)

510.517.6612 (cell)

isaac@criticalresistance.org

 

Goodbye, John Russo

Dear Coalition members, supporters, and curious future allies,

As you know, last Friday was John Russo’s last day as the City Attorney of Oakland. His plan to roll out a series of gang injunctions across Oakland was met with strong, well organized opposition and a firestorm of controversy. Unable to take the heat, Russo is moving on to take a position as City Manager for Alameda. As Russo and OPD chief Anthony Batts seemed to be the only genuine proponents of the gang injunctions, Russo’s resignation signals a major victory in the fight against the use of injunctions in our city.

Our work together to build a broad, diverse, dynamic movement against gang injunctions helped apply pressure to Russo and the City Attorney’s office, exposed their wasteful use of city resources during tight economic times, and ensured that the voices of people across Oakland were heard.

We know this fight is much bigger than any one person. And the fight against the implementation of the pending injunction in the Fruitvale and the temporary injunction in North Oakland continues. We need to keep up the opposition to the injunctions even as we continue to demonstrate ways of building the kind of neighborhood safety that really works in the long term. As we take a moment to celebrate the tremendous victories we have already won, as we move into the next phase of this struggle for self-determination, our commitment and solidarity are more important than ever.

We’re including the following video to remind ourselves why we’re happy to say goodbye to John Russo:

Oakland City Attorney John Russo Says Goodbye from Critical Resistance on Vimeo.

Friday May 6th: PACK THE COURT!!!

PACK THE COURT!!!

FRIDAY, MAY 6th

2:00pm

1225 FALLON ST., DEPT. 1
***Check our Facebook event page as the location will likely be changing***

Now, more than ever, we need folks to turn out & pack the courtroom. Everyone that has contributed to the work, showed up at City Hall, kept track of the struggle via Facebook or our blog, commented on any of the articles covering the injunctions, or supported us during our Week of Action–NOW IS THE TIME FOR YOU TO CONTINUE TO SHOW YOUR OPPOSITION TO THE INJUNCTIONS & SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH THE INDIVIDUALS AND COMMUNITIES MOST IMPACTED.

   The Court will be hearing final arguments on “Phase One” of the proposed Fruitvale gang injunction. The Court is considering issuing an injunction against five defendants as well as the “gang” of Fruitvale Nortenos, sued like a labor union (as an “unincorporated association”). The defense team is representing two of the defendants in jeopardy — Javier Quintero and Abel Manzo. Three other defendants, who were served with documents but who have not been able to participate in their legal defense, also face an injunction (these are Alberto Acosta, Antonio Lambaren, and Joey Anthony Martinez).

This will be a critical moment, not only for Abel and Javier, but also for the entire Fruitvale community. Judge Freedman will likely decide on the size of any injunction (400 blocks? 40 blocks?). He will decide on the terms of the injunction (no wearing red? no graffiti, even with permission? no drugs, legal or illegal?). Whatever decision he makes, he needs to know that the community is watching.

FREE JAVIER!!! FREE ABEL!!! STOP THE INJUNCTIONS!!!

RSVP here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/event.php?eid=188465891200010

Legal Team Introductions

As the court hearings are now in full force, we would like to take a moment to introduce the legal team that is representing defendants against the East Oakland gang injunction.

Dennis Cunningham has been a civil rights attorney since the 60s. He helped found the Chicago People’s Law Office, and participated in numerous cases involving protesters and protest movements, prisoners and prison rebellions. Notable cases include the infamous “weapons raid” on December 4, 1969, in which Illinois Black Panther Party leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were shot to death, and the defense of dozens of prisoners falsely accused as “ringleaders” of the rebellion at the Attica State Prison in western New York in 1971. He helped represent protesters in mass arrests in the 1984 Democratic Party convention, anti-nuke actions at Site 300, anti-apartheid demonstrations in Berkeley San Francisco, the police sweep of Castro Street in 1987, Central American solidarity actions in the 80s, the Rodney verdict protests in 1992, Food Not Bombs, ActUp, Religious Witness with the Homeless, and others.

Jose Luis Fuentes practiced law for the Working Peoples Law Center in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles, specializing in criminal, family and community law, and now works at the prominant civil rights law firm, Siegel & Yee. Mr. Fuentes has served in a leadership capacity in community and legal organizations, including serving as past president of the National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles Chapter; People United For A Better Oakland; Bay Area PoliceWatch; Constitutional Rights Foundation; Barrister Domestic Violence Clinic; Students for Justice for Palestine and Homies Organizing The Mission To Empower Youth.

Yolanda Huang has been practicing law in the bay area for over 25 years as a criminal defense and civil litigator. She has vast experience defending the rights to liberty for young people.  The daughter of Chinese immigrants, she started school in New York City speaking no English.  “Learning to read and write English was the hardest thing I ever did.”  In high school, her parents moved south of Washington, D.C., and there Yolanda Huang experienced the end of segregation and the successes of the civil rights movement.  Active in the anti-Vietnam War movement, and the effort to save the I’Hotel, Yolanda Huang went on to attended Boalt Hall Law School, in order to develop better tools to make social change.  In 1999, Ms. Huang organized and wrote the first grant that led to  Berkeley School Board adopting a policy to ensure that no child is hungry, and that the food served in schools should, whenever possible, be organic.   “Every child should eat quality food free from pesticides and chemicals.”

Michael Siegel is an associate attorney with Siegel & Yee. He is currently working on several matters including claims of wrongful termination, disability discrimination, race discrimination, and retaliation for exercise of First Amendment rights. Prior to entering the legal field, Michael worked as a teacher in Oakland, California and Brooklyn, New York, and served as a union representative in the Oakland Education Association. He was also a co-founder and executive director of Oakland Leaf, a local nonprofit education organization focused on “community transformation through creative education.”

Jeff Wozniak, a native of San Francisco, is an aggressive criminal defense lawyer with a progressive and compassionate approach to practicing law. Before starting his own firm, Jeff worked under notable criminal defense lawyers, including Stuart Hanlon. This experience allowed him to develop important relationships throughout the bay area criminal justice community. He has a strong belief in the importance of pro-bono work, and dedicates a substantial portion of his practice to such work.

Estelle Davis is an East Oakland resident who comes to the legal team with an avid energy for social justice. On the legal team she helps prepare legal filings, and aids in communications between the legal team, community members, and defendants on the case. Estelle has always worked for the empowerment of young people, having worked in public health, public high schools, drop-in centers for street involved youth, LGBT helplines, and peer health education projects. Estelle grew up in the Bay Area, and is happy to be home after a 5 year stint in Boston [Roxbury, represent!].

We hope to see all of you come out for the two big events this week: Public Safety Committee on Tuesday at 5:30PM at City Hall, and Preliminary Injunction Court Hearing on Wednesday at 2:00PM at Alameda County Superior Court, Department 1.


En lucha,

The Legal Team