ST. CHARLES, Ill. (CN) – Illinois and the City of Elgin sued 70 alleged members of the Latin Kings gang to bar them from “standing, sitting, walking, driving, gathering, meeting, or appearing anywhere in public view with any other gang member”. The state claims the gang has committed violent felonies for more than a decade, including shooting and killing its own members and others, for reasons as petty as “wearing his hat to the right.”
Kane County State’s Attorney John Barsanti filed an injunction under the Illinois Street Gang Terrorism Omnibus Prevention Act. It also bars the gang members from possessing weapons, spreading gang graffiti or possessing material that could be used to write graffiti, outside their own homes. And it bars them from “throwing gang signs, shouting gang slogans, displaying gang-related markings, or making any other gang related gestures or statements while in a public place or in public view.”
“We have gang crime in the county. It’s no secret,” Barsanti told the Daily Herald. “This just gives us another method of attack.”
The 5-page complaint cites nine instances of felonies by force, including murder and aggravated battery with a firearm, and claims that the Latin Kings for years have “committed other felonies, forcible felonies, gang-related criminal offenses, criminal offenses, criminal defacement and offenses against property.”
Elgin claims to have sustained damages over police department overtime pay, graffiti clean-up costs and money spent on emergency services. The city seeks compensatory and punitive damages for this.
Wide-ranging injunctions against street gangs raise constitutional questions, but such injunctions have been upheld in California.