Of the 40 men who stand accused of being among the most dangerous Norteños active in the Fruitvale, nearly half have been arrested for new offenses since October, when the city attorney proposed a gang injunction against them.

The arrests range from mild to serious offenses.

One man was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and weapons charges, another for armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, and another on suspicion of attempted home invasion after police say he broke into a house to rob its inhabitants but was overpowered by his would-be victims. Three were arrested on suspicion of burglary, and three more for weapons charges -- one of them having been stopped by police when he rammed his vehicle into a police car.

Seven defendants were jailed for nonviolent parole and probation violations. One was arrested for failure to appear in court, another for resisting arrest.

A young man was arrested at Sunday's Cinco de Mayo festival on International Boulevard for violating a court order by being in the company of known gang members. He told officers he felt sick and needed to go to the hospital, when he "berated nurses," police records show.

"Some of the guys (have) been arrested on suspicion of some pretty serious crimes," said Jeff Wozniak, one of the volunteer attorneys representing the defendants.

"And someone accused of a serious crime, police have a right to arrest them, and they have a right to trial and due process. Our larger concern is these probation and parole arrests."


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People on probation or parole are vulnerable to being arrested for minor violations of conduct, Wozniak said, adding that he's seen police officer flatly tell offenders: "I will nickel and dime you."

The man arrested at the Cinco de Mayo festival, for example, simply said hello to a fellow defendant in the case and shook his hand in front of undercover officers, Wozniak said.

The home invasion, he said, was a misunderstanding that involved a three-way language barrier and a bike for sale.

"It's clear that they are being watched, and they're being nickeled and dimed," Wozniak said.

They are being watched, but Officer Holly Joshi, a police spokeswoman, said the injunction is being pursued largely because police were already focused on those 40 men because they had proved to be a public safety hazard.

"The reason the defendants were selected in the first place is they have criminal, violent histories the police department feels is dangerous to public safety," Joshi said.

"Beat officers and problem-solving officers are the ones who put together a list of active Norteños we feel are a threat to public safety right now.

"They were getting a lot of attention from law enforcement before the injunction. The list has been put together, so now it's more organized, but that's the only difference," she added.