San francisco gangs list

San francisco gangs list DEFAULT

Since the end of 2006, City Attorney Dennis Herrera has obtained four civil injunctions against seven violent street gangs that had been plaguing San Francisco neighborhoods with their criminal and nuisance conduct. Each injunction covers one of four geographic areas. The following gangs were named in the injunctions issued by San Francisco Superior Court:

  • The Bayview/Hunters Point-based Oakdale Mob
  • The Mission-based Norteño gang
  • The Visitacion Valley-based Down Below Gangsters
  • The Visitacion Valley-based Towerside gang
  • The Western Addition-based Chopper City gang
  • The Western Addition-based Eddy Rock gang
  • The Western Addition-based Knock Out Posse gang

The injunctions were not envisioned as a panacea for gang violence. Rather, they were one piece of a coordinated effort by the City Attorney’s Office, District Attorney’s Office and San Francisco Police Department to counter violent street gangs and the harms they inflicted on the San Francisco neighborhoods they claimed as “turf.”

San Francisco’s gang injunctions are unique and have always been designed to protect civil rights while achieving public safety. They are effective and focused.

In the years since the injunctions were put in place, many of the named gang members have quit their gangs. One of the gangs, Knock Out Posse, crumbled altogether and is now no longer an organized gang.

In light of the changed circumstances and improved public safety, Herrera in April 2018 launched a comprehensive review of the gang injunctions. As part of that review, he filed legal motions asking the San Francisco Superior Court to modify the injunctions to remove individuals who were no longer engaged in criminal gang activity.

In 2018, the court granted Herrera’s requests to remove a significant number of formerly active gang members:

  • Visitacion Valley Civil Gang Injunction: 22 were removed; 19 remain enjoined
  • Mission Civil Gang Injunction: 16 were removed; 8 remain enjoined
  • Western Addition Civil Gang Injunction: 34 were removed; 8 remain enjoined
  • Bayview/Hunters Point Civil Gang Injunction: 14 were removed; 18 remain enjoined

The Effectiveness of Civil Gang Injunctions in S.F.

While it is often difficult to draw conclusions about causality from crime statistics, anecdotal evidence indicates that San Francisco’s civil gang injunction program has played a role — alongside the work being done by San Francisco’s Police Department and San Francisco’s District Attorney — in reducing gang related violence and nuisance conduct.

In all four gang injunctions, crime by enjoined gang members within the safety zone dropped. Felony convictions for those members before the injunctions totaled 104. After the injunction, the amount dropped to 58.

In 2010, then-Assistant Police Chief Jeff Godown told the San Francisco Chronicle that the injunctions were helpful for reducing the number homicides ion gang areas. “Last year was a historic low in homicides, and we are now on par this year to be at the same level,” Godown said. “The gang injunctions played a role in that.”

An internal analysis of arrest data by the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office suggested another important effect of civil gang injunctions: a general “cooling off” effect among gang members named in the various injunctions, who had markedly fewer arrests citywide following the imposition of injunctions. Since San Francisco’s gang injunction program was launched at the end of 2006, 46 percent of identified gang members (43 of 93) had gone without even a single arrest in San Francisco for crimes other than minor violations of the injunction itself in 2010. The data also show progressive improvements over time, with only 14 percent of identified gang members (13 of 93) arrested for non-injunction crimes to that point in 2010 — down from 41 percent in 2007.

Gang Arrest Graph 2007-2010, showing the percentage of identified gang member arrests dropping dramatically after the Civil Gang Injunction program was implemented.

No injunction has resulted in an observable migration of gang-related crime or nuisances to adjacent areas or to different neighborhoods, as evidenced by citywide arrest data and observations by experts from the San Francisco Police Department’s Gang Task Force. In addition to the statistics on the effectiveness of San Francisco’s gang injunction program, the following are two independent studies of civil gang injunctions in other California jurisdictions that indicate their effectiveness in helping to abate gang-related violence and nuisance activity.

How to ‘Opt-Out’ of a Gang Injunction

An agreement among the City Attorney’s Office, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area has established an administrative process by which individuals named in civil gang injunctions may petition to “opt out” from the court ordered provisions. City Attorney Herrera said the opt-out process “both maximizes civil liberties protections for alleged gang members, and ensures the effectiveness of civil gang injunctions to protect San Francisco neighborhoods from violence and nuisance conduct.”

Visitacion Valley Civil Gang InjunctionOn Aug. 5, 2010, the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office filed suit against two warring criminal street gangs that have terrorized San Francisco’s Visitacion Valley for more than three years. The civil complaint filed in Superior Court names the “Down Below Gangsters” and “Towerside” gang as defendants in an action that seeks to prohibit an array of gang-related criminal and nuisance conduct by 41 adult gang members within a proposed “safety zone” covering less than two-tenths of a square mile. The resultant safety zone is an approximately .18 square mile “L” shaped area bordered by Schwerin Avenue, Visitacion Avenue and Hahn Street, and the Sunnydale Public Housing Development’s northern, western and southern borders, the latter of which then proceeds along Velasco Avenue. The safety zone encompasses both known gang turfs together with an adjoining buffer zone between and near the two turf areas.

Key Documents from the Visitacion Valley Gang Injunction Case

  • PDF of the Order Granting Motion to Modify DBG and Towerside Injunction (July 12, 2018) 
  • PDF of the City Attorney’s Motion to Modify DBG and Towerside Injunction (June 7, 2018)
  • PDF of the Order Granting Default Judgment for Permanent Injunction (Feb. 17, 2011)
  • PDF of the Plaintiff’s Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Issuance of Preliminary Gang Injunction (Aug. 11, 2010)
  • PDF of the Expert Declarations Parts 1 and 2: Qualifications and General History and Crimes (Aug. 11, 2010)
  • PDF of the Expert Declaration Part 3: Clothing (Aug. 11, 2010)PDF of the Expert Declaration Part 4: Tattoos (Aug. 11, 2010)
  • PDF of the Expert Declaration Part 5: Hand Signs (Aug. 11, 2010)
  • PDF of the Expert Declaration Part 6: Graffiti (Aug. 11, 2010)
  • PDF of the Expert Declaration Part 7: Intimidation and Injunction (Aug. 11, 2010)
  • PDF of the Expert Declaration Part 8: Down Below Gangsters overview
  • PDF of the Expert Declaration Part 9: DBG members Beard to Calloway (Aug. 11, 2010)
  • PDF of the Expert Declaration Part 10: DBG members Crawford to Jackson (Aug. 11, 2010)
  • PDF of the Expert Declaration Part 11: DBG members Jones to Mitchell (Aug. 11, 2010)
  • PDF of the Expert Declaration Part 12: DBG members Pelllette to Rose (Aug. 11, 2010)
  • PDF of the Expert Declaration Part 13: DBG members Smith to Woodson (Aug. 11, 2010)
  • PDF of the Expert Declaration Part 14: Towerside overview and members Beasley to Dogan (Aug. 11, 2010)PDF of the Expert Declaration Part 15: Towerside overview and members Floyd to Johnson (Aug. 11, 2010)
  • PDF of the Expert Declaration Part 16: Towerside members Johnson to McCroey (Aug. 11, 2010)
  • PDF of the Expert Declaration Part 17: Towerside members Punzal to Young (Aug. 11, 2010)
  • PDF of the Expert Declaration Part 18 Exhibits (Aug. 11, 2010)
  • City Attorney news release: “Herrera seeks civil injunction against warring criminal street gangs in Visitacion Valley; Complaint begins process to enjoin 41 members of ‘Down Below Gangsters,’ ‘Towerside’ in safety zone encompassing both turfs (Aug. 5, 2010)
  • PDF of the Visitacion Valley Gang Injunction Complaint Presskit (Aug. 5, 2010)

Mission Civil Gang InjunctionAccording to the San Francisco Superior Court’s Order Granting Preliminary Injunction of October 12, 2007, the Safety Zone enjoining members of the Norteño gang “is defined as an ‘L’ shaped area generally bordered by 23rd Street to the North (but extending to 21st Street at Alabama Street), Valencia to the West, Cesar Chavez to the South, Potrero Avenue to the East, and extending to encompass La Raza Parl, also known as Potrero Del Sol Park.”

  • PDF of the Order Granting Motion to Modify Norteño Injunction (June 29, 2018)
  • PDF of the City Attorney’s Motion to Modify Norteño Injunction (May 18, 2018)
  • PDF of the Order Granting Default Judgment for Permanent Injunction (June 17, 2008)
  • PDF of the Court’s Order Granting Preliminary Injunction (Oct. 12, 2007)
  • PDF of the City Attorney’s complaint against Norteno (June 21, 2007)PDF of the City Attorney’s MPAs on the Norteno case (July 11, 2007)
  • PDF of the Expert Declaration and Evidence in the Norteño case (90MB, July 11, 2007)
  • PDF of the Declarations and Evidence in the Norteno case (15 MB, July 12, 2007)
  • PDF of the Court’s Order to Show Cause for the Norteno gang (July 12, 2007)

Western Addition Civil Gang Injunction According to the San chopper-city-knock-out-posse-safety-zoneFrancisco Superior Court’s December 18, 2007 Judgment Granting Permanent Injunction against Eddy Rock, Chopper City and Knock Out Posse Gangs, the following are the court-ordered Safety Zones. The Chopper City and Knock Out Posse Safety Zone “includes that area of San Francisco that is bordered by and includes Ellis Street to the North, Divisadero Street to the West, Turk Street to the South, and Steiner Street to the East.” eddy-rock-safety-zone The Eddy Rock Safety Zone “includes that area of San Francisco that is bordered by and includes Ellis Street to the North, Gough Street to the east, Turk Street to the south, and Webster Street to the West.”

  • PDF of the Order Granting Motion to Modify Chopper City, Eddy Rock, and Knock Out Posse Injunction (June 7, 2018)
  • PDF of the City Attorney’s Motion to Modify Chopper City, Eddy Rock, and Knock Out Posse Injunction (April 24, 2018)
  • PDF of the Court’s Judgment Granting Permanent Injunction against Eddy Rock, Chopper City and Knock Out Posse (Dec. 18, 2007)
  • PDF of the City Attorney’s complaint against Eddy Rock, Chopper CIty and Knock Out Posse (June 21, 2007)
  • PDF of the City Attorney’s MPAs for Eddy Rock, Chopper City and Knock out Posse gangs (July 12, 2007)
  • PDF of the Expert Declaration of SFPD Officer David Q. Do in Support of Plaintiff’s Application for an Order to Show Cause Re: Preliminary Injunction (3  MB, July 6, 2007) 
  • PDF of the Expert Declaration of SFPD Officer Reese Burrows in support of Plaintiff’s Application for an Order to Show Cause Re: Preliminary Injunction (2.6 MB, June 28, 2007)
  • PDF of the Declarations of 115 SFPD Officers and SFSD Deputies in Support of Plaintiff’s Application for an Order to Show Cause Re: Preliminary Injunction and Preliminary Injunction (88 MB, June 5, 2007)
  • PDF of the Court’s Order to Show Cause for the Eddy Rock, Chopper City and Knock Out Posse gangs (July 12, 2007)

Bayview/Hunters Point Civil Gang InjunctionAccording to the San Francisco Superior Court’s March 15, 2007 Judgment Granting Permanent Injunction against the Oakdale Mob, the court-ordered Safety Zone is “located in the City and County of San Francisco, bounded by Griffith Street to the east, Palou Avenue to the south, Ingalls Street to the west, and Navy Road to the north, continuing straight beyond the end of Navy Road to where it would intersect with Ingalls Street, and including both sides of those four boundaries streets.”

Categories Gang Injunctions, Major Case, Public SafetyTags Chopper City gang, Civil Gang Injunctions, Down Below Gangsters, Eddy Rock gang, Knock Out Posse gang, Norteño gang, Oakdale Mob, Towerside GangSours:

Breakdown of Asian American Gangs

The stereotypes of gangs have always been within the demographics of Latinos and African-Americans, but other races, which include Caucasians and Asians, also have small number of gang members within their communities.

With gang members only account for about 1%, give or take, of any racial groups total population, Asian gangs in America have had little notoriety compared to other groups.

Many of the old traditional Asian gangs once focused on financing themselves through gambling, prostitution, extortion, and at times narcotics, but today’s activity has slowed down for many.

Modern day Asian gangs, in which have heavy American influence, originally formed throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s as a way to establish protection for themselves from other demographic groups who would attack the newly arrived foreigners.

California Asian Gangs

Asian gangs for years have flown under the radar within popular culture while having little to no media attention, but in many cities of California it has been well known about the hidden Asian lifestyle.

In the city of San Francisco, there once was a conflict that occurred between American born Chinese and foreign-born Chinese, which led to battles within the Chinese underworld known as “Hock Sair Woey”.

The main players in San Francisco were the Wah Ching, Hop Sing Tong, Wo Hop To, and the Joe Boys, in which their activity led to dozens of homicides in the northern California city throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

The conflict between the rivals in San Francisco led to one of the worst mass killings in northern California, the Golden Dragon massacre where five bystanders were murder together with multiple people injured.

While many San Francisco gangs seemed to have some sort of tied to the Triads or are more traditional Chinese gangs that can be found in China, many of California’s Asian gangs have adopted American cultures, like the Bloods and Crips.

In cities like Long Beach, San Diego, or Sacramento, Asian gang members who parents and grandparents originally came from Southeast Asian countries like Cambodia, Vietname or the Philippines have become under their own set of gangs.

From Southern California to California’s Central Valley region Asian gangs formed into the likes of the Asian Boyz, Oriental Crips, Viet Pride Crips, Tiny Rascals Gang, Asian Street Walkers and numerous others.

Asian Gangs of New York

Asian gangs have been in New York City since the late 1800s, with two of the original New York City Asian gangs being the On Leong Tong and the Hip Sing Tong.

These Asian gangs were involved in an intense battle over control of New York City’s Chinatown, which lasted until the 1930s as the Great Depression, conflict in their native country of China, police crackdown, and many Asians relocating outside of Chinatown helped bring an end to the war.

Crime in today’s Chinatown, or New York City’s Asian communities like Sunset Park or Flushing, is almost non-existence as Asian gangs have become almost a rarity, with exception to a few, as being part of a gang or any criminal enterprise has becoming less and less profitable.

asian gangs

The Flushing, Queens neighborhood of New York City. Editorial Credit: Helen89 /

The heroin trade that originated from Asia’s golden triangle has become defeated due to Mexican cartels and gambling is not nearly as big as more legal and upscale gambling establishments have become attractive.

The more modern day and up-to-date gangs of New York City, at least long after the 1930s, were the Ghost Shadows, Flying Dragons, Tung On, White Tigers, or the Fuk Ching.  Today, Asian gang activity in New York City is nowhere near as active as it once was.

Other Examples of Asian Gangs

In other regions of the country, like upper Midwest state’s Minnesota or Wisconsin, Hmong refugees from Southeastern Asian countries like Thailand and Laos have created their own identities.  Identities in the form of the Crazy Bloods, Menace of Destruction, Oroville Mono Boys, TKB, the Asian Crips, Oriental Ruthless Boys, and many more.

Their reputation in Minneapolis, St. Paul and even small cities like La Crosse, Wisconsin have been well documented as rival Asian gangs often have had disputes with each other, terrorizing themselves and their community.

In the Seattle-Tacoma region, Loko Asian Boyz and other Asian gangs formed after years of mistreatment by other races upon their arrival from places like Cambodia.

Many lived in low-income areas and experienced constant harassment because of their race and due to the harassment gangs were formed for the simple reason of protection and the sense of belonging.

Breakdown of Asians in America

Around 6% of America’s population is Asian with the majority of Asian-Americans living on the West Coast and in certain cities of the East Coast.  From California to New York City, and cities like Houston and Philadelphia in between, there are many communities who have a considerable population of Asians, foreigners and natives.

In the state of California, a population that is almost at a total of 40 million, Asians equal 15% of the entire population, the third largest after Latinos and Caucasians, as they dominate specific sections of Los Angeles County, San Diego County, the Bay Area and specific parts of Central Valley.

While in large cities like Dallas, Portland, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Houston, Asians account for around 7% of the population, but in St. Paul, Seattle and New York City the percentage of Asians range from 13% to 18%.

History of Asians in America

Asians have been migrating into the United States since the mid-1800s, with the Chinese being the first Asian immigrants to come into America, working as laborers and fisherman mainly in California.

Like the chant “Make America Great Again” due to the fear of Mexican and Central American immigrants taken employment opportunities, many were not too welcomed with the newly arrived Chinese immigrants.

This led to laws being passed, during the late 1800s, that limited the number of Chinese immigrants that could occupy the United States.  Into the early 1900s, the trend continued of creating laws that banned mostly all Asian immigrants from migrating into the United States.

Editorial Credit: cagriguneysu /

Due to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s immigration laws became more lenient, which would later help an influx of Asian immigrants to migrate to the United States.  During the 1970s, refugees from Southeast Asia began relocating into American cities across the United States, like Long Beach, California or St. Paul, Minnesota.

As many Asian countries were in turmoil or had civil conflicts, many of their natives, Cambodians, Vietnamese and Laos’ Hmong, fled their native country for an attempt at a more peaceful and affluent life in America while seeking asylum in the United States.


While historically, Asians have been known as a group of people that stay to themselves while keeping most of their identity, some do tend adopt the American culture.

The American culture of gangs has expanded into the Asian community, despite places like San Francisco or New York City having Triad-like gangs since the early 1900s that could be traced backed to the country of China.

Today, many Asians are becoming more and more part of America’s culture, even though only a small number of metropolitan’s have a considerable percentage of Asians within their population.

Related Topics:

  1. Southeast Asia’s Drug Wars

  2. Top Asian Rappers

*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.

Further Reading and Sources:

“Asian Americans Then and Now”.

Brown, Curt. “April 21, 2003: Asian gangs: A rise in influence, the fall of a young man”. StarTribune, 14 March, 2013.

Dobson, Christopher. “Last Major Chinatown Gang Broken” South China Morning Post, 27 Nov. 1994

Ferranti, Seth. “The Chinese American Gang Wars That Rocked New York.”, 6 Jul. 2006.

Kamiya, Gary. “Chinatown gang feud ignited one of SF’s worst mass homicides”. San Francisco Chronicle, 8 Jul. 2016.

Lee, Danny. “Years of the Dragon”. New York Times, 11 May 2003.

Rhapsody, Bill Lee. Wallace, Bill. “Remembering Life Inside a Chinatown Gang”. SFGate, 2 May 1999.

Sontag, Deborah. “In a Homeland Far From Home”. New York Times, 16 Nov. 2003.

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Frank remembers how it used to be. "The Mission--this madness--there weren't gangs like this when I was growing up. It was just about neighborhoods. You had Shotwell and 24th; Capp to Mission on 24th; Precita Park; Little Time Mission, which were the junior high kids; and Mission, which were the older guys; Happy Homes on 20th and Mission; 22nd Hogs; York and Hampshire at 24th. . . . Sure, we'd have fights, but we used to play each other in football. It was more a sports thing. It was friendly but physical. After the game, we'd drink together. . . . These days, people don't fight, they shoot. It's silly."

Today, the Norteños claim territory roughly between Mission Street and Potrero, from 20th to 26th, with an extension to just past Dolores on 24th, 25th and 26th streets. To the north, the Sureños carved out a niche for themselves approximately between Dolores and South Van Ness, from 16th Street to 22nd Street, with an extension to Potrero Street (Jackson Park) on 16th and 17th. In the Mission, the Sureños joined forces with the MS-13, a Central American gang, to increase their land holding. On a map, Sureño territory is north of Norteño territory. The magnetic poles are inverted in ganglands.

I meet Smiley and Luis over at Bernal Dwellings, low-income housing on 26th and Folsom, near Garfield Park. This is a multicultural enclave of black, Asian, and Latino families. I ask if there are gangs on those public housing blocks. Smiley and Luis shake their heads: "We won't allow it." Nonetheless, Luis points out some scratchings on the sidewalk that say "XVIII" for 18th Street. The 18th Street Gang arose from the streets of Pico Union in L.A. This scratching is a critical clue to the history of Sureños and Norteños, now the dominant Mission gangs. Smiley remembers that there used to be only "the Mexicans," without distinctions, but the Mission gangs changed because the prison gangs changed.

In the beginning, there was a powerful prison gang known as the Mexican Mafia, whose members originally came from L.A. The gang consolidated in the 1950s within the California prison system. With the articulation of Chicano pride, the Mexican Mafia became "La eMe" (eme is Spanish for the letter m) and picked up, as their symbol, the eagle poised on a nopal from the Mexican flag. The gang also claimed the number 13 (m being the thirteenth letter in the alphabet) and the color blue. La eMe protected Mexican prisoners, in exchange for taxing the distribution of drugs, alcohol, weapons, prostitution, and safety. The prison tax systems are not new, but La eMe recomposed the prison power blocs.

In the 1960s, inmates from rural farming areas of Northern California splintered from La eMe and formed Nuestra Familia. Nuestra Familia provided special protection to imprisoned rural northerners, who were allegedly abused by La eMe. However, it is not difficult to imagine that distance contributed to La eMe losing control of street gangs in rural Northern California. The identity of Nuestra Familia was informed by Cesar Chavez's farmworker movement of the period. Nuestra Familia, or the Norteños, proudly bear the symbol of a sombrero struck by a machete with dripping blood. Their color is red for the blood spilled by workers and their own, and their number is 14 (n is the fourteenth letter in the alphabet). In juxtaposition to the Norteños, La eMe became known as the Sureños.

One day, I meet a young man I call Ponytail Boy. He tells me to go away, because he is drinking with his friends near the corner at 24th and Shotwell. We end up comparing the Aztec tattoo on his leg with the Mayan butterfly tattoo on my back. He asks me to tell him more about Aztecs and Mayans. I ask him to explain Norteños.

"Norteños are about Latin American pride, about the workers, about Northern Mexicans. The Norteños originated as the bodyguards of Cesar Chavez." He explains that they started out as protectors of immigrant workers. "The Originals worked on farms; we respect his cause, believe in his cause. That's how we connect. When you go to prison, you'll be asked, 'Are you with the Cause?' It's 'family over everything.' . . .

"In jail, it's like a military regime; we are all soldiers. The upper ranks insist that we represent our culture well: educate ourselves, do exercise, read and learn about the Aztecs and the workers, represent for those who don't know about our culture. When the gang goes negative, the higher ranks expect you to be positive."

In the 1970s, with the rise of the cocaine and heroin trade in Mexico, La eMe took its profitable jail business to the streets by working through parolees. La eMe negotiated with existing street gangs--such as the 11th Street Gang (browns) and the 18th Street Gang--to join in an extended tax system, whereby street gangs were given monopoly rights over their territory in exchange for fairly priced and steady drug supplies. La eMe received a kickback from sales. The novelty is the reach of gang generals from the prison cell to the street corner to across the border, an amazing triple feat of intrepid capitalism, military discipline, and identity construction. Today, the prison system has spilled over, and now San Quentin and Pelican Bay inmates control franchises on a street corner near you.

The tremendous flow of young people into the juvenile justice system in California also means that juvie jails are training grounds for gang life. Public schools are the site for first initiations. In neighborhoods such as the Mission, a kid will be 'checked' on the street as early as elementary school and asked to claim a gang. Children have died on Mission streets as a result of mistaken identity. Carlos, now nineteen years old, witnessed his best friend gunned down next to him at the age of eleven for wearing the wrong color clothes, in a little alley near 19th and Valencia.

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