Los Angeles – The three white supremacist men arrested last week for allegedly attacking Hispanic men and women in a public park, have been charged with hate crime on Tuesday. Reports from officials noted that the attackers were screaming “Heil Hitler, AV Skins” at the moment of the incident.
Ian Plankey, Richard Daulton and Kevin Stewart pleaded not guilty to two felony counts, each of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of assault with force likely to cause injury, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
The alleged attackers were also charged with battery assault with prosecutors contending that a hate crime was committed due to the victims’ race or ethnicity, which is the main definition of a crime of this type, as reported by Los Angeles Times.
L.A. officials said that besides the shouted racial slurs, at the moment of the arrest one of the suspected assailants had a wallet with a Confederate flag on it, which adds evidence to the hate crime charge.
The five victims were playing soccer while speaking in Spanish when they were attacked, prosecutors said. The attackers assaulted two of the victims with a knife, according to the criminal complaint.
“They just started beating them up. They started coming towards us, and they pulled out some knives, and they were saying they would kill us,” said the father of a family that tried to stop the beating to NBC Los Angeles.
The young three men, Plankey, 20, and Daulton, 19, were being held in lieu of $185,000 bail. Stewart, 25, was being held in lieu of $245,000 bail. They are scheduled to appear in a Lancaster courtroom on March 11 for a preliminary hearing.
A crime with not much attention and a polemic opinion
The possibly hate crime has not received as much attention as other similar incidents even though it has been reported by some prominent media outlet. Besides the lack of interest, there have been a debate over if the incident should be referred as terrorist one.
According to the FBI definition of the T word, it is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.
The missing use of the terrorist act while describing the incident has also been shied away when describing a recent event where three counter-protesters were stabbed at a KKK rally in Anaheim the previous week, according to Indy 100.
It opened further the debate over the definition of the word when a Muslim-American author, Dalia Mogahed, noted on MSNBC that the majority of terrorist attacks in the U.S, according to the FBI, are actually committed by white, male Christians.
“The only time the word terrorism or terrorist is used is when the perpetrator happens to be an Arab or a Muslim,” pointed out Abed Ayoub, the legal and policy director for Washington DC-based think tank, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
Source: Los Angeles Times