LOS ANGELES : Civil Rights Probe Urged After Acquittal in Slaying

The Los Angeles-based spokesman for the Japanese American Citizens League said Monday that the group has called for a federal investigation into the shooting of a Japanese exchange student by a Louisiana man who was acquitted of the slaying.

A Baton Rouge jury Sunday found Rodney Peairs not guilty of manslaughter because he fired in self-defense against Yoshihiro Hattori, who knocked on the wrong door looking for a Halloween party.

The League, based in San Francisco, sent a letter to Atty. Gen. Janet Reno asking her to investigate whether Hattori's civil rights were violated.

Jimmy Tokeshi, who works out of Los Angeles as the league's Pacific Southwest regional director, said the case had racist undertones that need examination.

"First of all, you have a woman who screamed at the sight of a Japanese person because of his race, and then her husband reacting by pulling a gun and shooting the 16-year-old," Tokeshi said.

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