LADERA RANCH (CBSLA) — A family that was being harassed for months by some local teens is getting overwhelming support from the community, but the leader of the Good Samaritan effort is now being threatened with a possible defamation lawsuit.
People were signing up in shifts to guard the home against vandalism, attacks and anti-Asian American slurs.
Now, even more neighbors are stepping up to help out and monitor Haijun Si’s home.
“Since the initial airing of the news story, we’ve had a lot more volunteers. We’ve had large groups come out, which has been unbelievable,” said the woman who organized the effort to protect the Si family. She wanted to remain anonymous.
The family has finally gotten to have some peaceful nights with the outpouring of support from neighbors, but now some parents of the teens are threatening to sue the organizer for posting one of the alleged harassment incidents on social media as captured on home surveillance video.
They’re warning for her to “take down the Facebook post in its entirety” or else face a defamation lawsuit.
“You can’t scare me into not doing what’s right, and if that means I have to deal with a lawsuit in order to protect an innocent family, that’s okay with me,” the organizer said.
Several lawyers have volunteered to represent the woman pro bono following the threat of legal action against her.
Despite that backlash, the neighbors continue to receive overwhelming support and appreciation for their good deeds.
“These neighbors are so nice. So, so good people,” Si said.
As sheriff’s investigators try to determine who the teens are, Brian Levin with the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism gave the community group an award for protecting their neighbors.
He says the harassment could be a federal offense or a hate crime, and if they are charged and convicted, could put the teens behind bars.
“The more they do it, the more evidence they leave,” Levin said. “The big question is what is the intent? But I’ll tell you something, whoever’s doing this is on very thin ice.”