The Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California announced that two Latino men associated with the Compton 155 street gang were sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr. for their racially-motivated attack on African-American juveniles at a residence in Compton, Calif., on Dec. 31, 2012. Jeffrey Aguilar, also known as Terco, 19, and Efren Marquez Jr., also known as Stretch and Junior, 21, were each sentenced to serve 21 months in prison along with three years of supervised release.
On Oct. 17, 2013, both defendants pleaded guilty to violating the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act after admitting their involvement in the assault.
Aguilar and another individual physically attacked a 17-year-old African-American, who was walking down a street in the city of Compton. Aguilar chased down and struck the victim in the head with a metal pipe. During the incident, Marquez threatened to shoot another African-American juvenile who was present. Both Aguilar and Marquez admitted that the attack on the 17-year-old victim was motivated by the race and color of the victim.
“Despite the substantial progress made, violent acts of hate committed because of someone’s race continue to occur to this day, and the department will continue to use every available tool to identify and prosecute hate crimes whenever and wherever they occur," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
“Hate based crimes have no place in America,” said U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. for the Central District of California. “The defendants’ attempt to rid their neighborhood of African-Americans serves as a sickening reminder that racial intolerance still exists in some segments of our community. For this egregious conduct, the defendants have received well-deserved prison terms.”
“The FBI is committed to the protection of civil rights and will continue to investigate allegations of crime motivated by hate,” said Assistant Director in Charge Bill L. Lewis for the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “I’m hopeful that this sentencing will clarify the serious consequences for anyone contemplating senseless violence against the innocent due to their religion, race, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.”
“Law enforcement is dedicated to protecting the civil rights of all members of our community and the outcome of this case is a great example of the close cooperation between all agencies involved to ensure that goal,” said Interim Sheriff John L. Scott of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Reema El-Amamy of the Violent and Organized Crime Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Trial Attorney Saeed Mody of the Civil Rights Division.