Authorities in Long Beach, California, have arrested an 18-year-old man and two younger teens in connection to the gang-related assault on a special-needs teen last week, the Long Beach Post reported.
The incident, caught on video, was reportedly the latest in a series of racist, gang-related attacks on Black teens in the area.
The teen’s mother, Rasheena Mccord, said her son was headed home from school on May 16 he was approached by a group of teens who demanded to know where he was from — a common challenge among gang bangers. The attack unfolded just blocks from Poly Academy of Achievers and Leaders, where the teen attends school.
“He tried to run, but they caught up to him,” Mccord told the outlet.
Suspect Brian Blancas, 18, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of attempted murder and participating in a criminal street gang, jail records show. His bail was set at more than $1 million.
Long Beach police also arrested a 16-year-old and 17-year-old boy on similar charges, including assault with a deadly weapon that is not a firearm. Both are being held at the Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall.
“Gang detectives, in conjunction with patrol officers, worked through the weekend to identify the suspects involved in this assault,” authorities said in a press release.
Video of the incident posted to YouTube shows a group of teens kicking and punching the helpless teen as he struggles to shield himself from the blows. As he tries to get back up and run, the attackers immediately kick him back down.
The minute-long clip, which has no audio, shows fellow students jumping to the victim’s defense and squaring up with the gang members, who appear to be Latino. Mccord told the Long Beach Post that the person filming was also attacked in the incident.
The assailants were reportedly armed with brass knuckles, but the weapon did not make contact with Mccord’s son. She said the teen suffered multiple bruises, a torn eardrum, and scrapes on both his elbows. He also has muscle soreness and now walks with a limp.
Mccord believes the group who assaulted her son is composed of current and former Poly High School students who targeted the teen because of his race. There were reportedly previous attacks involving other students on Thursday and Friday.
“I’m told it’s being investigated, but I would like to hear more from school and police,” she said.
The frustrated mother was among the group of parents who rallied outside Poly High School on Monday to demand officials take action.
Earlier this week, a spokeswoman for Long Beach Police said the attack was being investigated as “gang-related,” meaning they suspected the crime was committed for the benefit of, or in association with a gang. She said officers responded to a nearby hospital after the May 15 incident to take a battery report.
Local parents like Kim Williams who gathered at the high school Monday also demanded a larger police presence to ensure students stay safe. Department spokeswoman Shaunna Dandoy confirmed that police have reached out to school resource officers employed by Long Beach Unified School District to beef up patrols in the area before and after school.
While authorities are doing their part, Williams has urged the community to come together to stop what she says what were originally thought to be gang-related incidents.
“It’s just about color now,” she told the newspaper, adding that the attacks have been happening for almost three weeks now.
“We need more police presence and some type of community town hall meeting with all minority groups involved,” Williams argued. “We need to all come together and have that dialogue.”
Last week, Long Beach school district officials say there had been no “confirmation that students have perpetrated the off-campus fights” and declined to comment on the reported incidents.