COMPTON (CBSLA.com) — Civil rights activists and other community leaders called for hate crime charges on Monday against gang members suspected in attacks on a Compton black family and threats against other black residents.
KCAL9’s Joy Benedict reports the attacks sparked a rally at Compton City Hall after two men – reportedly from a Latino gang – were arrested last week for harassing and threatening a family to move out of the neighborhood because of their skin color.
21-year-old Efren Marquez of Riverside County and 19-year-old Jeffrey Aguilar of Compton were arrested after they allegedly would drive by the house on 153rd Street yelling racial slurs and threats.
The men also allegedly struck a teenager with metal pipes just down the street from his home on New Year’s Eve.
Now city leaders say they want to put an end to racial violence in their community.
“We’re gonna stop it, we need to stop it,” said Basil Kinbrew of California Friends of the African American Caucus. “There cannot and will not be a black and brown fight of any kind in any city…the bottom line is we want peace.”
As many as 65 percent of residents in Compton described themselves as Hispanic or Latino – over triple the number of people from 30 years ago, when only 21 percent of the population identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino.
The street where the alleged attack and intimidation occurred is not only predominantly Latino, but is also known for its high levels of poverty and gang activity.
But some community leaders denied that any racial war was brewing in Compton.
“This has not happened here before and we’re gonna nip this in the bud,” said Compton School Trustee Satra Zurita.
Activists were encouraging residents to show up at City Hall on Saturday at noon for a march for peace to stand up against gang violence and intimidation.