OGDEN Utah (ABC 4 News) – An Ogden judge must decide if a controversial gang ordinance will continue to be in effect.
The ordinance passed in 2010 targets a specific gang in Ogden prohibiting members from being together, drinking alcohol, carry tools associated with graffiti and sets a curfew.
“I don’t care if it’s the Ogden 13, Sorrenos or Nortenos the constitution still applies,” says Attorney Mike Studebaker, a civil right attorney.
Studebaker and two other attorneys oppose the ordinance. It was an ordinance that Ogden police pushed as a tool to prevent violence in the city. An Ogden judge is hearing arguments to determine if a temporary injunction is necessary.
In court, Sgt Steve Zaccardi testified that Ogden’s crime has come down as a result of the ordinance. He said that the gang “Trece” (thirteen) is highly responsible for most of the violence that occurs in the city.
When asked if they are a danger to the community or violent Zaccardi responded “Yes.”
“Ogden 13 (Trece) is our community’s problem,” Sgt Zaccardi testified. “They live in our community. They span generations. They have sons and kids who continue to stay here.”
Zaccardi testified there are other gangs in Ogden but most members are transient.
“They move in and they move out,” he testified.
During cross examination by a trio of attorneys Zaccardi was hard pressed to answer how gang members would know details of the ordinance.
“Word of mouth,” he testified.
Studebaker asked Zaccardi if two members of Ogden 13 stood outside the courthouse protesting the ordinance would be violating the ordinance Zaccardi said they would.
Outside the courtroom, a mother and her twelve year old son were upset over the ordinance.
“I have the gang unit harassing my 12 year old,” says Mia who didn’t want her last name used. “I don’t think that’s right just because he has the same name as his father.
She says her husband is listed as a member of the Ogden 13 and her son is being punished unfairly.
“My husband is a father of two children and he made a mistake many years ago,” she says. “Why should my son pay for it?”
The hearing is expected to last through the week.