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Injunction Sought By City Attorney To Curb Drugs and Gangs in Skid Row

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Wednesday, April 07, 2010, at 02:27PM
Protest at Conference Ed Fuentes

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich faces those protesting a range of Skid Row issues at this morning's press conference in Gladys Park.

Looking to clamp down on drug sales in Skid Row, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich today announced that he had filed injunctions against 80 drug dealers known to operate in and around the neighborhood.

While the move was lauded by business and law enforcement, opposition was quick to appear in protests by LACAN and its supporters.

Trutanich announced his initiative in a morning press conference at Gladys Park, flanked by LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, Sheriff Lee Baca and Central City East Association's Estela Lopez. The 80 individuals named in the complaint, 53 of which are suspected of gang ties, would be forbidden to enter the "Central City Recovery Zone," bordered by 3rd, 9th, Broadway and Central. More names could be added going forward.

"[The plan] may raise some controversy," said Central Division Captain Todd Chamberlain before the event started. "But it's a good tool to keep the area safe."

Controversy came quicker than expected, as LACAN invaded and disrupted the press conference, protesting aspects of Skid Row policing that had little to do with the injunction.

"You have to wonder if the people behind me are not in cahoots with the people providing the narcotics to the area," said Trutanich as the shouts became louder. "The single biggest criminal threat is the open, notorious volence in this area by career crimals who commute to Skid Row to do their dasterdly deeds."

Later, Baca offered his support to the recovery zone concept. "It's about protecting all those who call Skid Row home from drug dealers," he said in response to shouts saying that police were sending homeless to jail.

Trutanich ended the press conference with an invitation to attend this evening's Skid Row neighborhood watch walk, the monthly event hosted by the Central City East Association. Trutanich has been a regular attendee in recent months.

It was those walks and a breakfast with LAPD Senior Lead Officer Deon Joseph that shaped Trutanich's views on Skid Row and its challenges.

"We are committed to putting commuter gangs and drug dealers out of business," said Trutanich.

This afternoon was an example of chaos, said the City Attoney. "This is why you think you can't change Skid Row, but its going to change. There are so many out of luck, and yet they are preyed upon every day. There is an organization of enforcers and dealers working with each other. We want to make sure any criminal named in the injunction can be arrested if they enter the zone."

The walk takes place on the first Wednesday of every month. April's walk takes place tonight, meeting at 6pm in front of the Midnight Mission.

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