June 8th, 2011
Latino Gang Profiled African Americans In LA

The Azusa 13 gang in the San Gabriel Valley, east of LA, systematically targeted African-Americans in that community with the aim of running them out of town, according to a federal grand jury indictment released yesterday. The Latino gang had been promoting this kind of racist violence since 1992. SPCR reported:

“The indictment alleges that nearly 20 years ago, the Azusa 13 adopted a racist principle to harass and use violence in an effort to drive African-Americans out of the city of Azusa,” [U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte] said.

Azusa is a city of about 50,000 people at the base of the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley, just off the 210 Freeway. More than two-thirds of its people are Latino. About 3 percent are black.

Police Chief Robert Garcia said Azusa 13’s attacks included scrawling racial epithets on African-Americans’ homes and street violence that last year targeted a high school student walking home from a track meet.

Fifty-one of the gang members were named in a 24-count indictment that included drugs and weapons charges, but also that the gang systematically targeted African-Americans in that community with violence, The LA Times reported that gang members held:

…numerous alleged meetings at which gang members discussed targeting blacks in the area, and incidents in which blacks were beaten and robbed.

According to the indictment, the gang also allegedly taxes drug dealers in the Azusa area, passing some of the proceeds on to members of the Mexican Mafia prison gang, a practice common among many Latino street gangs in Southern California.

I grew up in the San Gabriel Valley and I clearly remember two things that are pertinent here: there were a ton of Latinos and there were a ton of gangs. Perhaps it’s just my selective memory, but I don’t remember this kind of racial hatred growing up, and even now when one of my best friends lives in Azusa, I can’t recall having seen anything that would lead me to believe this was going on.

Of course I would be wrong. There’s really nothing else to say about this other than it’s beyond stupid.

Follow Sara Inés Calderón on Twitter @SaraChicaD

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