SAN CLEMENTE, CA -- The Orange County Human Relations Commission pledged new efforts to reach out to black people throughout the county following allegations of racism.
A family of four, led by a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy and Inglewood police officer, said it moved out of Yorba Linda last month because of repeated acts of racism.
The father, an Inglewood policeman, requested anonymity for his family's safety before telling City News Service about encountering problems after the family moved to Yorba Linda in May 2011.
"A few months after we moved in, someone threw rocks through the front window of our home and punctured the tires on both of our vehicles,'' he said.
His adult son was the target of racial epithets while riding his bike to work at a Home Depot.
``People driving by would say, `Go home, n-----,'' the man said.
Carol Turpen, chairwoman of the Orange County Human Relations Commission, sent a letter to the family Tuesday saying her organization would do "special outreach to the African American community.''
"We plan to share your story with others in order to make the good people of Orange County understand that some people in our community are being harassed due to their race or other inherent aspect of their being and that we are not comfortable when this happens, nor will we avert our eyes to avoid hate in our community when we see it,'' Turpen wrote. “We are committed to wipe out hate within the OC.''
The Orange County Board of Supervisors has also been told about the family's experiences, Turpen added. And the commission will relay the family's story at an upcoming meeting of the Yorba Linda City Council, Turpen said.
No Evidence of Hate Crime
When Brea police, who also patrol Yorba Linda, responded to the family's first report of vandalism, officers said they could not label it a hate crime because there was no evidence it was racially motivated, the father said.
"I said, `OK, that's cool,' but could you step up some patrol in the area,'' he recalled.
In October, as the father was pulling his car into the driveway, someone shot or threw pellets of acid at the vehicle, he said.
``That really got me kind of messed up,'' he said. ``Either they had to be hiding in the bushes or one of my neighbors did it because we lived in a cul de sac.''
Again, Brea police told him they found no evidence of a hate crime, the man said.
He told officers it seemed unlikely someone with a grudge from his beat in Inglewood would follow him all the way home and vandalize his car.
``If they wanted to get me they'd do it while I was on duty,'' the man said.
Because he worked a night shift, he often worried about his family while on duty, he said. "I kept expecting to get a call,'' he said.
``What really got me was when my 6-year-old asked me, `Daddy, why does a guy at school say he can't play with me because I'm black?' '' the man said. But the principal of the boy's school satisfied the parents by pledging to use the incident to teach racial tolerance in the school, the man said.
In October, the family moved to Corona, which seemed much more welcoming, the man said. "We had five neighbors come over and welcome us to the neighborhood.''
The man said he didn't encounter any racial hostility when he lived in Anaheim or Brea.
OC Human Relations has done work in communities throughout the county, sometimes in the wake of gang violence, other times in neighborhoods identified as in-need by city governments or non-profits, as in the case of San Clemente in the wake of the District Attorney's gang injunction in areas of the town. OC Human Relations organizers were instrumental in
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