Police Slow To Respond To Alleged Hate Beating

CBS, Feb. 3, 2007

The sister of one of three Hispanic teens who were allegedly attacked Wednesday by a mob of African-American youths yelling racial epithets criticized Inglewood police Saturday for an inadequate response to the beatings.

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“The evidence was never looked for, they didn’t accompany them to the hospital, they didn’t ask for witnesses, they didn’t ask the people if they saw anything, no questions, nothing was asked,” Marisol said.

She said police did not begin gathering evidence—including earrings and hair clips at the scene—until Saturday, several days later.

Sgt. Gabriela Garcia, a spokeswoman for the Inglewood Police Department, which responded to the attack, said standard procedure was followed, but acknowledged that evidence was not collected until Saturday.

“We did take a report that day,” said Sgt. Gabriela Garcia of the Inglewood Police Department. “We did interview the victims and the report was filed. There are no witness statements in the report, however. It’s an ongoing investigation,” she said, adding a detective would be assigned to the case.

The initial police report did not lead officers to believe the attack may have been racially motivated.

Police said they discovered this Saturday when the victims spoke out about the incident during the news conference, she said.

The teen girls, all students at Morningside High, 10500 Yukon Ave, were walking home from school when a group of about 15 black youngsters yelled racial slurs and attacked them as they passed Inglewood High School, Marisol said.

She charged that the three teens were held down by the black boys in the group as three or four girls kicked and punched each of them until they lay bleeding on the ground.

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The unprovoked attack continued in broad daylight until a passing woman threatened to call police and the assailants scattered, Marisol said.

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Stephanie, 18, had to get stitches inside her mouth, which was badly swollen, Marisol said.

Laura, 17, had bruises on her arms, back and ribcage, she said.

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