African-American Family in Compton Met With Racist Threats

An African-American family, a mother and her four children, are bullied ever since they moved into Compton, and it seems to be getting worse because when a friend came to visit, four men in a black SUV pulled up and made a racist comment.

The family said the men jumped out, drew a gun on their friend, and beat him with metal pipes, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies.

It was just the beginning of what detectives said was a campaign by a Latino street gang to force an African-American family to leave.

The attacks on the family are the latest in a series of violent incidents in which Latino gangs targeted blacks in parts of greater Los Angeles over the last decade.

Compton, with a population of about 97,000, was predominantly black for many years. It is now 65% Latino and 33% black, according to the 2010 U.S. census. But it’s not only historically black areas that have been targeted.

Federal authorities have alleged in several indictments in the last decade that the Mexican Mafia prison gang has ordered street gangs under its control to attack African Americans. Leaders of the Azusa 13 gang were sentenced to lengthy prison terms earlier this month for leading a policy of attacking African American residents and expelling them from the town.

“This family has no gang ties whatsoever,” Sheriff’s Lt. Richard Westin said. “They are complete innocent victims here.”

The 19-year-old family friend managed to break free that first day and run into the house, where the children were the only ones at home.

The attackers left, but a half-hour later a crowd of as many as 20 people stood on the lawn yelling threats and epithets. A beer bottle crashed through the living room window as the youngsters watched in horror.

“They were scared if they called the sheriff they’d be killed,” Westin said. “So they called their mom, who called the Sheriff’s Department.”

Compton Councilwoman Yvonne Arceneaux said she was deeply troubled by the incident.

“I’m floored,” she said. “That’s blatant to tell a family you can’t live in this area because you are black. That’s just shocking.”

Arceneaux said she plans to reach out to the family and get the City Council involved.

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