Two men and a teen aged boy have been arrested by local police after allegedly committing hate crimes. According to reports, a group of Latino males repeatedly harassed and even physically attacked an African American family that had recently moved into a Compton home in an effort to drive the family from the area. The victims, whose names have not been released to the public, include a family with four children. Efren Marquez, who is 21 years old, allegedly pointed a gun at an African American man and threatened to shoot him while the victim was being beaten with a metal pipe by a second suspect, 19-year-old Jeffrey Aguilar. Marquez and Aguilar left the scene of the attack in a black sport utility vehicle, only to return about 30 minutes later with as many as 20 young men, all thought to be local gang members. The group proceeded to surround the victims' home and shout racial epithets as well as shouting that the victims were not allowed to live in the neighborhood. One unidentified member of the group went so far as to throw a beer bottle through a window of the home. Officials claim that the suspects continued to drive by the victims' home several times a day, shouting racial slurs and ordering the family to leave the neighborhood. Aguilar, Marquez and a minor, whose name was not released to the public, were arrested by Sheriff's Deputies on Thursday and are facing hate crime charges.
Hate crimes, though committed locally, and in many cases with instances of violence or intimidation more akin to violent crimes, are actually considered a federal criminal offense. Statistics involving the commission of hate crimes have been monitored by the Department of Justice since the passing of the 1990 Hate Crimes Statistics Act. Since this act was passed, a number of other laws have been enacted by the federal government concerning the prosecution and punishment of what are perceived as hate crimes. Defining a crime such as assault, vandalism or harassment as a hate crime is all about perception. If a crime can be proven to be motivated by person's bias towards the victim's race, ethnicity or country of origin, religious beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, group affiliation or even disability, then it is labeled a hate crime and instead of being prosecuted at a local or county level, is instead handed over to a federal court. Being convicted of committing a hate crime carries very serious punishments such as fines, imprisonment and court-ordered counseling or rehabilitative therapy.
Categorised in: Federal Crimes