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Gang injunction granted in Echo Park

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A Los Angeles County court granted a permanent injunction Thursday against six gangs in Echo Park and its surrounding neighborhoods, according to the city attorney’s office.

The injunction seeks to prohibit known members of the Big Top Locos, Crazys, Diamond Street Locos, Echo Park Locos, Frogtown and Head Hunters street gangs from associating with each other in public, possessing firearms or narcotics, or possessing alcohol in public, officials said.

“We’ve got to be tough on violent gang activity, and gang injunctions such as this one … are an important step,” Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer said in a statement.

The city’s lawyers filed the Echo Park injunction in June. It creates a 3.8-square-mile “safety zone” in Echo Park, Elysian Valley, Historic Filipinotown and portions of Silver Lake, court documents state.

The injunction also includes Echo Park Lake and Dodger Stadium; it is bound by the Los Angeles River to the north, the 110 Freeway to the east, First Street to the south and North Coronado Street to the west.

Superior Court Judge Abraham Khan ruled that city attorneys presented “clear and convincing evidence” that the injunction was necessary.

The gangs named -- each of which is a “violent turf-based predominantly Hispanic criminal street gang,” court documents state -- have fought for years, according to the city attorney’s office. The feuding has led to extensive graffiti vandalism, aggravated assaults, shootings, attempted murders and murders, court documents state.

The gangs “demonstrate a blatant disregard for the lives and safety of innocent victims, including children and senior citizens who get caught in the crossfire,” attorneys wrote in the request for the injunction. “Bullets, shell casings and loaded firearms have been found throughout the safety zone.”

Attorneys also accused gang members of intimidating, “mad-dogging” and flashing gang signs at young men who might be members of rival gangs.

The injunction can be enforced only against active gang members after they are personally served with the signed court order, according to the city attorney’s office. Los Angeles police gang experts must submit proof to the city attorney’s office that the person is an active gang member before penalizing the person under the injunction.

A listed gang member will be automatically removed from the injunction after five years if the person does not engage in criminal behavior, officials said.

“It is essential that we provide incentives for gang members to turn their lives around,” Feuer said in a statement.

Police have served the complaint and summons to at least three members of each gang named, officials said.

The injunction was opposed by many Echo Park residents, who said that it was coming at a time when crime rates were down and that it was too difficult for former gang members to be removed from an injunction list even if they stayed out of trouble.

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hailey.branson@latimes.com

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