Reputed gang members indicted in hate crimes against black family
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Two Latino gang members have been indicted for hate crimes in Compton after a violent attack targeting four African Americans there.
A federal grand jury Thursday indicted Jeffrey Aguilar and Efren Marquez Jr. on five felony counts. The indictment alleges they are members of Compton Varrio 155, a gang that seeks to drive blacks out of West Compton.
Prosecutors contend the pair conspired to violate the civil rights of a family and a friend of the family by committing hate crimes.
‘Hate-fueled crimes have no place in our society,’ U.S. Atty. Andre Birotte said Friday. ‘No one should have to look over their shoulder in fear because of who they are.’
‘They specifically spewed hate words during the attacks,’ he said. ‘Compton 155 has a specific credo of ridding African Americans from this neighborhood.’
On New Year’s Eve, the two alleged gang members confronted a young African American man walking down the street and confronted him, asking if he was a gang member.
They then they began yelling ‘NK over here’ at the man -- the N referring to a racial epithet and the K to killer--a phrase the gang uses in its effort to drive blacks from the area, prosecutors say. The pair and two others then chased the victim down the street, yelling ‘155.’ Aguilar and another suspect then hit the young man repeatedly in the head and body with a metal pipe, prosecutors said. The 17-year-old man ran to his girlfriend’s home, where members of her family were located.
Aguilar and Marquez allegedly followed the victim. Once the victim went inside, 14 or 15 members of the Latino gang gathered outside, yelling racial slurs, prosecutors said.
-- Richard Winton