Three Highland Park gang members convicted of deadly hate-crime attacks against African Americans were sentenced to life in prison without parole Monday.
The members of the Latino gang the Avenues had been prosecuted for breaking federal hate-crime laws—statutes typically used against white supremacist groups.
They were convicted of carrying out a conspiracy that violated their victims’ rights to live and walk in Highland Park. The conspiracy included several killings.
“Hate crimes are some of the most disturbing offenses prosecuted by this office,” said acting U.S. Atty. George S. Cardona. “These defendants will now spend the rest of their lives in federal prison for the despicable act of trying to rid their neighborhood of African Americans.”
As members of the Avenues gang, the men targeted African Americans without gang ties, including women and children. From 1995 to 2001, according to trial testimony, the gang members shot a 15-year-old boy riding a bicycle, hit a jogger in the head with a pistol, knocked a woman off her bike and threatened her husband with a box cutter.