Today, the ACLU Foundation of Northern California asks the court to deny the motions for preliminary civil injunctions filed by the San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera that would ban four people from a 50-square-block area of the Tenderloin who are alleged to have engaged in drug dealing.
Such civil injunctions are a continuation of the United States failed “war on drugs” that create exclusionary zones cutting off vulnerable community members from services they need to sustain their lives. Several individuals targeted by this proposed injunction report that they struggle financially and need services provided by organizations in the Tenderloin for assistance with employment, housing, and health services. Furthermore, exclusionary zones open the door to increased policing and racial profiling, which can have deadly consequences for Black and Brown people.
The overbroad and ineffective nature of the City’s proposed injunctions is highlighted by the fact that the City provides flimsy or no evidence that the defendants facing a preliminary injunction have been convicted of drug sales in the Tenderloin.
“The City’s request that the Court grant preliminary injunctions excluding our clients from a large portion of the City without regard to the impact on them and their family members is unprecedented and unconstitutional,” said Annie Decker, staff attorney at the ACLU of Northern California. “The City should spend public money on services that support vulnerable communities with safe and supportive housing, mental health, harm reduction, and other life-affirming services, not further driving people into poverty and desperation.”
People affected by these injunctions can face arrest for merely walking down the street, riding public transport, visiting family members, or seeking any number of supportive services concentrated in the Tenderloin neighborhood.