Seven black California teens charged with beating Hispanic youth

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 01, 2012 5:58 PM

(Reuters) - Seven black teenagers are facing assault and hate crime charges for an attack on a 15-year-old Hispanic student who was punched and kicked repeatedly on his way home from a Southern California school, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

The suspects in the beating range from ages 13 to 16 and were part of a group of up to 10 teens who challenged the student to a fight on March 14 that was recorded on video and displayed on a public website, the sheriff's department said in a statement.

The statement did not provide details on why a hate crime was suspected in the assault.

The beating happened just over two weeks after unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, 17, was shot dead in Sanford, Florida, by a neighborhood watch volunteer, a case that has stirred racial tensions because the white Hispanic shooter has not been charged.

The attack near Cactus Middle School in Palmdale, California started with the victim encircled and continued with punches and kicks to the face and head after he fell to the ground and until he was able to get up and flee, the department said.

The teen was treated at a local hospital for injuries from multiple kicks to the head that left shoe impressions and knocked out several teeth, the department said.

The seven suspects were detained on Wednesday after being identified through the video, the department said.

(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Colleen Jenkins)