Los Angeles City Seeks Nuisance Declaration For Alleged South LA Gang Hangout

Graffiti Art Wall
Graffiti Art Wall

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The City Attorney’s Office is seeking a court order declaring a mixed-use property in South Los Angeles a nuisance due to ongoing gang violence occurring close to churches, which reportedly resulted in patrons of a market and a marijuana dispensary being robbed.
  
The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit filed Friday names as the lone defendant Tesfa-Alen Berhe, who is identified as the owner of the entire property as well as the proprietor of Jacobs Mini Market. The city is asking for a permanent injunction directing Berhe to abate the ongoing alleged illegal activity.
  
Berhe could not be immediately reached for comment.
  
The property targeted is located at 84th Street and Western Avenue in the Manchester Square neighborhood and also is the site of two apartment units and a marijuana dispensary, according to the suit, which includes color photos of the property’s graffiti-scarred buildings.
  
“For at least the past 5 1/2 years, the property has been a constant hangout and place of congregation for … a dangerous criminal street gang,” the suit states. “Their presence at the property, most often in the parking lot and inside Jacobs, attracts gunfire from rival gangs.”
  
Within 1,000 feet are the Second Adam Missionary Baptist Church, the Iglesia de Dios Penteccostes Un Paso De Fe, and Holy Pilgrim Temple, according to the suit.
  
The Cannabis Abatement and Prosecution Section of the City Attorney’s Office has criminal charges pending against Berhe, among others, for the allegedly unlawful marijuana dispensary being leased at the site, the suit states. The dispensary is the third allegedly illegal marijuana dispensary Berhe has leased to, despite receiving notices from (the city) regarding the
prior two in 2016, the suit states.
  
In February, there were two shootings at the property, both of which unfolded with gang members loitering in Jacobs’ parking lot as rival gang members drove to the location, got out of their car and fired several bullets without hitting anyone, the suit states.
  
In January, a Jacobs customer was leaving the business when he was approached by a man who was standing near the front entrance with another individual, the suit states. One of the men demanded to know where the patron was from, then punched the victim and stole his chain while leaving the customer unconscious, the suit states.
  
Also in January, during an attempt to rob the marijuana dispensary, gang members, one of them armed, stole a firearm from the security guard working there, the suit states.
  
Last July, gang members set up a memorial at the property for a former colleague who was shot and killed while attempting to rob someone about 1 1/2 miles away, the suit states. The memorial featured dozens of candles in the shape of the gang’s name and attracted up to 40 gang members and associates who smoked marijuana and drank alcohol in the parking lot for about a week, demonstrating the ease with which they believe they are permitted to loiter on
the property, the suit states.

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