Fobbs v. Union City Police Department and the New Haven Unified School District arises out of a cauldron of racial hatred and gang violence brewing in Union City, California. Plaintiffs represented six (6) families, including twelve individual students or former students, and a class of African-American students attending school in Union City. For many many years, Plaintiffs and/or their predecessors were targeted and subjected to violence, threats of violence and intimidation by Latino gangs operating freely in Union City. The violence involved in this case has been linked primarily to the Decoto gang, a distinctive criminal organization which is easily identified and well known to the police as well as its African-American victims. The pattern of acts attested to by Plaintiffs and numerous other class members reveals a climate of fear and hostility for African-American students which persists even until today.
On December 21, 2007, fourteen (14) year old Vernon Eddins was shot and killed on the steps of Bernard White Middle School in Union City, California. Vernon was a victim of the rampant gang violence. Before his murder, Vernon and his friends, several of whom are Plaintiffs in the case, had been repeatedly chased and beaten by the Decoto gang. In the month before his death, Vernon expressed to his Mother that he knew that the Union City Police did not care and were not going to do anything.
In Union City, the bus stop is a dangerous place for African-American students. Jasmine Johnson was shot four (4) times while waiting for a bus. Walking to and from school is filled with the risk of life-threatening encounters with the Decotos. Going to the movies at Union Landing is akin to walking into “Tales from the Hood.” Despite notice of an intolerable life-threatening situation for African-American youth, UCPD appears to be, at best horribly ineffectual, and at worst, deliberately indifferent.
On April 6, 2012, Alameda County prosecutors charged six men with Eddins’ murder with gang enhancements. The accused are allegedly affiliated with the Decotos.
Anyone with information about the murder of Vernon Eddins or violence against young people in Union City should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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