Yakima City Council to vote on anti-gang ordinance
YAKIMA, Wash -- The City of Yakima is expected to pass a sweeping anti-gang ordinance Friday -- identical to the one passed by the City of Sunnyside last month.
However, two council members are urging restraint because they feel the new law would be unconstitutional and quickly overturned by the courts.
Council members Susan Whitman and Neil McClure both say you can't make loitering illegal as this new ordinance tries to do. McClure says time and time again the courts have struck down anti-loitering laws. Additionally they say you can't make membership in any organization, even a gang, illegal.
According to McClure, if the law is challenged by a gang member after being arrested, he would likely have his arrest thrown out if he challenged it in court.
"I don't think it would be a prolonged court fight," said McClure. "It would be fast. We would lose if we were sued by someone."
McClure points out its not illegal to be in the mafia, its only illegal to commit crimes for them.
He is hoping the council will change their minds tomorrow. Both Whitman and McClure want to go back to the lawyers and write a law that will both work and be legal.