City Atty. Modifies Plan to Control Street Gang

Times Staff Writer

Responding to criticism that elements of his lawsuit against a street gang might be unconstitutional, City Atty. James K. Hahn formally modified his proposal Monday and is no longer asking a judge to bar members of a Westside street gang from associating with each other, from leaving their homes between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. and from wearing gang attire.

The city attorney's proposed injunction against the Playboy Gangster Crips now calls for a sunset-to-dawn curfew for juvenile members only and for prohibitions against two or more gang members gathering in public places, according to Deputy City Atty. Bruce Coplen .

"It wasn't (Hahn's) intention to violate anyone's constitutional rights," Coplen said. "(We're) accommodating some of the questions raised."

The gang nuisance abatement lawsuit, scheduled for its next court hearing Dec. 10, has stirred opposition from the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California, whose staff attorney Joan Howarth termed the initial proposal as "coming close to a police state."

Howarth said Monday that the revisions "don't go far enough--but it's movement in the right direction."

Authorities estimate that the gang has at least 200 members and allege that some of them peddle drugs on the streets of a 26-block neighborhood bordered by La Cienega and Robertson boulevards, 18th Street and Cadillac Avenue.

No gang members have responded in court to the civil lawsuit.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Warren H. Deering, who rejected Hahn's request for a temporary restraining order as being "too broad to grant," agreed last week to an ACLU request that gang members be granted the right to criminal representation in court.

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