In recent months Los Angeles County has seen a number of hate crimes ranging from destructive vandalism to violent assaults.
NBC Los Angeles reports that a home in the 2000 block of Midwickhill Drive in Alhambra was severely vandalized. Responding to a residential burglary report, police found racial slurs spray painted throughout the home and extensive property damage, including food dumped on floors, cabinets and televisions broken and bleach and vinegar poured out in several place. Four guns were also stolen from the home which had been rented to a black family.
“This is one of the worst things I've seen in 24 years. I've never seen anything worse than what I've seen in that house,” Alhambra Sgt. Jerry Johnson told NBC.
Another recent hate crime occurred in Oakland when a 16-year-old was accused of setting fire to another teen sleeping on a bus. Los Angeles Times reports that Richard Thomas was charged with a hate crime as well as aggravated mayhem and felony assault and will be charged as an adult.
The victim, 18-year-old Luke “Sasha” Fleischman, identifies as non-gender (neither male nor female) according to the Times. Fleischman was wearing a skirt at the time of the attack and will require several surgeries to repair damages from the severe burns.
A statement from an Oakland police officer who interviewed Thomas reports “the suspect stated he did it because he was homophobic.”
In Compton two Latino gang members charged with federal hate crimes recently entered a plea of guilty in a New Year's Eve attack on four black youths, part of a “campaign of terror” aimed at driving African Americans out of the west Compton neighborhood.
Los Angeles Times reports that Jeffrey “Turkey” Aguilar (20) and Efren “Looney” Marquez' (22) guilty pleas are the first Los Angeles-area convictions under the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, passed in October of 2009. According to prosecutors, Aguilar and Marquez beat a black teenager with a metal pipe, and threatened a second with a gun, before hurling racial epithets and more threats at a black household, where the teens had fled.
Hate crimes carry harsh penalties and require the help of a skilled defense lawyer. Vitaly Sigal, a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer, delivers aggressive defense representation for people who have been charged with hate and other violent crime. To discuss the details of your case with Mr. Sigal, contact our office today.