COMPTON (CBSLA.com) — Community leaders held a rally against hate crimes outside Compton City Hall Saturday in the wake of a Latino gang’s attack on an African-American teen boy.
They were joined by a passionate crowd of Hispanic and African-American residents who stood together in an act of unity.
“It doesn’t represent the whole 100,000 people that live in Compton. There’s a lot of Hispanics and a lot of blacks and we live together, we know how to live together,” Compton youth minister Eddie Arellano said of the hate crime.
The Los Angeles County sheriff’s Department says the attack occurred on New Year’s Eve in Compton. An African-American teen boy was walking to his house on 153rd Street when a Latino gang confronted him and beat him with rocks and a metal pipe.
“They chased him all the way to the house and said, ‘This is our neighborhood, you don’t belong here,’” said a man who owns the home where the incident took place. He attended Saturday’s rally and only wanted to be identified as Anthony.
Deputies say one of the gang members pointed a gun at the boy’s head and threatened to kill him if he and his family didn’t move out of the neighborhood.
Those two alleged gang members have been arrested.
“The suspects were a long multi-generational Hispanic gang in the city of Compton and they targeted this family specifically in this neighborhood because they are African-American,” said Chief James Lopez of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.
The victims are now in witness protection.
Community members at the rally said they’re sick of the violence.
“We don’t want any retaliation in our streets because in order to stop the violence, in order to do that, people have to feel like something is being done,” said Paulette Simpson-Gipson, of the NAACP’s Compton branch.