The city of Los Angeles is expected to reach a settlement of up to $30 million to help give gang members job training, after the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) illegally subjected thousands to gang curfews.
A similar curfew in another city, making it illegal to be outside after 10 p.m., was struck down in 2007 for violating due process rights. Despite this ruling, Los Angeles police officers continued to illegally enforce curfew and arrest non-gang affiliated civilians for being out too late. According to the LA Times, this discrepancy in law enforcement points to an ongoing issue of the LAPD applying gang injunctions to individuals who are not involved in gang activity.
Attorney Olu Orange filed a 2011 lawsuit challenging LA’s curfew enforcement after teenager Christian Rodriguez, who held no gang associations, was arrested for a curfew violation. This case was the gateway to a more general lawsuit seeking justice for over 5,000 people who had been subjected to illegal curfews.
When contacted by the LA Times, the LAPD did not offer a response on why they enforced a curfew policy years after it was deemed illegal.
The prosecution originally asked for the $30 million from the city to be in the form of direct settlements for individuals. However, a compromise with the city has been reached to contribute $4.5 to $30 million to nonprofits helping gang members access job training and tattoo removal services.
City Atty. Mike Feuer pointed to this deal as being a “constructive” way to turn a negative situation into positive opportunities for gang members. The City Council unanimously approved the settlement last Wednesday, but it remains to be finalized by the judge’s approval.