Gang injunctions are a hot topic. The court hearing on Oakland’s proposed Fruitvale injunction against 40 alleged members of the Norteños gang drags on; City Attorney John Russo is at odds over the plan with anti-injunction activists; and Mayor Jean Quan has expressed lukewarm support at best for the tactic, while others in the city establishment have embraced it.

Meanwhile, some question injunctions’ effectiveness as a law enforcement strategy.

All that was prelude to today’s debate between Oakland City Attorney John Russo and San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, who squared off this afternoon on the topic at USF’s Law Enforcement Symposium. KQED News Intern Katrina Schwartz attended and reports:

Police chiefs and criminal justice professionals from across California finished up a two day symposium at the University of San Francisco with a discussion on the effectiveness of gang injunctions. Oakland City Attorney John Russo insists that Oakland has avoided many of the pitfalls of gang injunctions–like racial profiling–by specifically targeting individuals that the police believe are deeply involved in the Norteno gang. He says all other youth in North Oakland and Fruitvale have nothing to worry about because they aren’t on the list.

San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi isn’t so sure things are that cut and dry. He maintains that if the point of a gang injunction is to reduce violent crime, then the data does not support the tactic’s effectiveness. He would like to see more collaboration between gang interventionists and law enforcement to address the gang problem.

Listen to the debate:

John Russo-Jeff Adachi debate on gang injunctions[audio:]

Listen to Jeff Adachi and John Russo Debate Gang Injunctions 15 March,2011Jon Brooks

  • arlene houle



Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the host and editor of KQED’s health and technology blog, Future of You. He is the former editor of KQED’s daily news blog, News Fix. A veteran blogger, he previously worked for Yahoo! in various news writing and editing roles. He was also the editor of, which documented user-generated content about the financial crisis and recession. Jon is also a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S. He has written about film for his own blog and studied film at Boston University. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor