Seven African-American boys were arrested in connection with the beating of a Latino boy near Cactus Middle School in the 3200 block of East Avenue in Palmdale, Calif., on March 14, 2012. A video of the incident was posted on YouTube and subsequently taken down for evidence. KNBC4's Beverly White talks with Lt. Don Ford, of the Palmdale Sheriff's Station and concerned parents about the hate crime allegation.
Most of the suspects believed to be involved in a suspected Palmdale hate crime have been detained, according to police.
Seven suspects, ranging in age from 13 to 16, were identified as the attackers involved in a March 14 attack on a 15-year-old Latino boy as he was walking home from Cactus Intermediate School in the 3200 block of East Avenue. His wounds were not life-threatening.
Detectives discovered a video of the scene posted on YouTube, said Lt. Don Ford with Palmdale Sheriff's Station. The video has since been taken down and a copy is being used as evidence.
A group of up to 10 African-American boys challenged the boy to a fight, surrounded him and then punched him while several others watched, police said.
The victim fell to the ground and the suspects continued punching and kicking him in the face and head before he was able to get on his feet and escape, police said.
Shoe impressions were left on the victim’s skin, police said. He was treated at a hospital for swelling caused by multiple kicks to the head and faces surgery to repair several teeth kicked out during the fight.
The suspects, all Palmdale residents, face felony charges of committing a hate crime and assault with force likely to cause great bodily harm, police said.
"There’s a lot of it going around here in Palmdale - blacks and Mexicans," said one Palmdale teen. "It’s too much."
Palmdale is one the cities that participates in the SHARE Tolerance program, which stands of Stop Hate and Respect Everyone.
Schools host presentations by sheriff's deputies on mitigating the hate and intolerance at the "root of many problems in Los Angeles County today," according to the program's website.
"Obviously, we will be redoubling those efforts to provide a safe environment for all the children here," Ford said.