By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
The defense noted that crime in Oakwood has dropped precipitously since the last round of gang warfare, without the help of an injunction.
White responded, "It’s too late when the bodies fall. Now is the time . . . not when the blood is being scrubbed off the streets."
Only one person testified in court for the injunction. Mike Bonin, community-affairs director for Councilwoman Galanter, told the court that the majority of Oakwood residents "live in fear" and favor the order, but were "terrified to come forward." In an interview after the hearing, defense attorney La’Chelle Woodert countered that Galanter has long failed to represent the people of Oakwood: "Ruth Galanter’s rich cronies may want this injunction, but this community does not."
But the city won the day. With little comment, Judge Perez approved the preliminary injunction, though not before striking the names of two defendants whose statements in court convinced him that they were not gang members.
Defense attorney James Simmons was left in the awkward position of asking permission for his clients to gather at his office, which is within the affected area. The judge granted that request, but his response was barely audible over the exclamations of audience members as they stormed out of the courtroom.
"He had his mind made up when he came in here," one woman said.
An angry defense attorney exclaimed that the ruling "stabbed the black residents of Oakwood in the back."
The battle, though, is far from over. The city will almost certainly have to go to trial to win a permanent injunction. A court date won’t be set until at least January, and until then, attorney Woodert vowed, "We’re going to use every procedural means at our disposal" to fight the order. "We’re going to take extraordinary measures."
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