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Thursday, 21 May 2009

Latino street gang has waged a racist campaign to eliminate black people from a Southern California city through attempted murders and other crimes.


20:35 | ,

"(Varrio Hawaiian Gardens) gang members take pride in their racism and often refer to the VHG Gang as the 'Hate Gang,'" the main indictment states. "VHG gang members have expressed a desire to rid the city of Hawaiian Gardens of all African-Americans and have engaged in a systematic effort to achieve that result by perpetrating crimes against African-Americans."Latino street gang has waged a racist campaign to eliminate black people from a Southern California city through attempted murders and other crimes.
Five indictments charged a total of 147 members and associates of the Varrio Hawaiian Gardens gang, and federal and local agencies arrested 63 of them by early Thursday, U.S. Attorney Thomas P. O'Brien told a press conference.O'Brien asserted it was "the largest gang takedown in United States history," but he did not immediately elaborate. The indictments detail attempted murder, kidnapping, firearms, narcotics and other charges related to attacks by the gang, which primarily operates in Hawaiian Gardens, a city of about 15,000 people in southeastern Los Angeles County. The indictment alleges a string of attacks on black residents, including a shooting into a home with eight people inside. The indictment does not say if anyone was hit. In another instance, two gang members allegedly chased a black man, yelled a racist epithet at him and then beat him with a garden rake. The same man was later repeatedly stabbed by two gang members, according to the indictment, which charges them with his attempted murder. In the 2000 Census, the latest data available, Hawaiian Gardens was roughly 73 percent Hispanic and 4 percent black. The city was incorporated in 1964 and, according to local lore, was named after a bamboo snack shack built in 1927. The indictments mark at least the second time in less than two years that federal authorities have alleged that Latino gang members in Southern California attacked black residents because of their race. In 2007, agents arrested dozens of members of the Florencia 13 gang in South Los Angeles and said the gang had, in some instances, killed black people purely because of the color of their skin. The extent to which race is driving the area's gang conflicts last year sparked an argument between the region's two top cops, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton. Baca said racial bias was a significant factor in gang crime while Bratton, pointing to statistics showing cross-racial crime to be rare, downplayed any tension.
The investigation of the Varrio Hawaiian Gardens gang has been under way for almost four years since the June 2005 murder of Los Angeles County sheriff's Deputy Luis Gerardo "Jerry" Ortiz. Jose Luis Orozco, a member of the gang, was sentenced to death in 2007 for the killing. Ortiz, 35, died as he searched for Orozco, who had shot and wounded a man while he did yard work. Orozco was later found guilty of attempted murder in that case. "Following the murder of Deputy Ortiz, the Sheriff's Department sought federal and local assistance to help destroy the Hawaiian Gardens gang," the U.S. attorney said. Florencia 13 and Varrio Hawaiian Gardens aren't the only Latino gangs linked to racial attacks. In 2007, four members of The Avenues, a gang from the Highland Park area northeast of downtown Los Angeles, were convicted of hate crimes for killing a black man in what prosecutors called a campaign to drive blacks from that neighborhood. Authorities have also announced a crackdown on the 204th Street gang following the killing of a 14-year-old black girl. Earl Ofari Hutchinson, an author and racial commentator, said racial bias among gang members is high in transitioning neighborhoods where black residents are moving out and Latinos are moving in. "There is a deep-seated animosity between some Latino gangs and African-Americans," he said. "There is no way around it, it is driven by racial animus."


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