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Anti-graffiti gang injunction moves forward in court

Ke7mwgnc A law enforcement effort to deter the Metro Transit Assassins gang from defacing public property with graffiti "tagging" will get a court hearing next month after a Los Angeles judge threw out defense motions challenging the injunction, the city attorney's office said Friday.

The request for a permanent injunction against the gang members filed nearly a year ago seeks to prohibit known MTA members from associating with one another or possessing graffiti tools and imposes a curfew on the gang members, said Frank Mateljan of the city attorney's office.

The civil suit filed in June 2010 seeks $1.2 million in penalties and $3.7 million in damages for the MTA tagging crew's "500 documented incidents of graffiti vandalism," the city attorney's office said in a statement.

Attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California challenged the proposed injunction on 1st Amendment grounds but their motions were denied Thursday by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Deirdre Hill.

She ruled that the 1st Amendment "does not protect destruction of public or private property by graffiti vandalism, trespass and illegal activities."

A hearing on the proposed injunction is scheduled June 28 in Los Angeles County Superior Court.


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Photo: The Metro Transit Assasins created a three-story-high, half-mile-long scrawl of their moniker along the concrete banks of the Los Angeles River in 2009. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

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