Posted on July 20, 2005

Are Freeway Shootings Racially Motivated?

Betty Pleasant, Los Angeles Wave, July 13

LOS ANGELES — As an 18-year-old black woman lies in critical condition from the latest freeway shooting, activist Najee Ali termed the spate of roadway violence racially motivated and called upon the FBI to investigate the attacks in the same manner that the agency probed the killings of blacks in the Jim Crow era of the South.

Ali called a news conference Monday after two weekend freeway shootings left a teenage El Monte woman hospitalized in Lynwood’s St. Francis Medical Center in critical condition. Police, who would not identify the woman, said she had been shot three times while riding in a Nissan Altima on the Foothill (210) Freeway near Irwindale at about 10 p.m. Saturday. Two others in the vehicle were unhurt.

In an earlier Saturday morning shooting, the right front window of a tow truck carrying an adult and a child was shot out as it drove south on the Ventura (101) Freeway near Camarillo, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department reported. No one was hurt in the tow truck shooting.

The victims of both shootings described their assailants as bald Latino men riding in dark-colored Hondas. Ali described the victims of both shootings as African Americans.

“Something is definitely going on with respect to black and Latino relations, and everybody knows it and everybody’s talking about it,” Ali said. “There’s been a rash of murders and shootings of blacks by Latinos resembling gang members. And that’s troubling, because you don’t see a rash of Latino shootings by black people.”