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Controversial proposed gang injunction challenged

Santa Barbara residents packed City Hall Tuesday night.

Everyone has strong opinions about the city’s proposed gang injunction, and for the first time in three years, city officials let the public talk.

The injunction is basically a restraining order against about 30 known gang members. It would limit where those people can hang out, and who they can hang out with.

The injunction has been slowly moving through a civil court over the past two years.

A large group gathered on the lawn in front of City Hall to rally against a proposed gang injunction.

After the rally, they marched into Tuesday’s city council meeting for a chance to voice their concerns.

One after another, people approached the council. Some even called the idea of an injunction racist.

“It marginalizes people, and pushes the problem elsewhere,” explained Cindy Gonzalez, an opponent of the injunction.

Supporters of the injunction hoped this would be a chance to clear up any misunderstandings.

“This, like a lot of issues in the community, riles passions,” said Sgt. Riley Harwood, with the Santa Barbara City Police Department.

Those opposed argued the conversation should have happened long ago.

“People are unaware of the issue. We want alternative solutions, that’s why we’re here,” said Gonzalez.

After hours of public comment, several city council members announced they may have a change of heart.

Some even proposed to look for alternatives to the injunction. The council will be revisiting the issue in the future.

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