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Brutal Attack Spurs Worries of Racial Backlash

OC Human Relations urges whites and Hispanics to unite against violence after a brawl that left a San Clemente man in a coma.

Amid rumblings of possible racial overtones to a Jan. 6 , a county group is urging calm and unity.

"This is not a brown-white issue," said Rusty Kennedy, executive director of OC Human Relations, which works to prevent racial violence and foster ethnic understanding and tolerance. "It's an issue of violent gangsters."

Three Hispanic men -- including two allegedly affiliated with the Varrio Chico criminal gang in San Clemente -- have been charged with attempted murder and assault for allegedly beating three white men, one of whom was fighting for his life late Tuesday after being bashed in the head with a brick.

The motives behind the attack remain unclear, but racially charged rumblings in some parts of the white community have already begun in comments posted on Patch and other media outlets. Some in the city's Hispanic community----fear a possible backlash.

OC Human Relations is a nonprofit that works closely with community groups and the Orange County Sheriff's Department to defuse tensions among the county's varied ethnic groups. It has a strong presence in San Clemente, largely through .

Rose Velasquez--no relation to the Gilberto Velazquez accused in the crime--is a community organizer for OC Human Relations. She runs a youth group and other civic programs in the largely Hispanic Las Palmas neighborhood where she also lives.

"I spoke with a group of youth that I work with [about the crime]," she said. "They said other kids were going to tease them and hold them responsible. These are seventh-graders. I told them, 'You just do your best, you work hard and make the right choices.'

"Our whole plan is to have these kids get along with the Caucasian kids, and for them not to be racist either--like, 'Oh, those white kids...' We want to integrate the Hispanic community."

A History of Gangs

More than four years ago, the D.A.'s office persuaded a judge to impose gang injunctions over large swaths of central San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano. The legal designation means gang members identified on a Sheriff's Department list face curfews and restrictions on clothing, association with others on the list and other rules.

Velasquez said many of San Clemente's Hispanic residents welcomed the injunction, although there was some backlash in San Juan Capistrano.

"When we did one-on-one interviews with [Las Palmas] parents three years ago--started knocking on doors--the No. 1 concern was 'How do I help my child so they don't become involved with gangs,' " Velasquez said.

Thanks to the injunction, combined with work by the sheriff's Gang Reduction and Intervention Program, OC Human Relations and the city of San Clemente, gang-related crime in town has drastically dropped over the past three years, officials said.

The idea behind all these organizations working together is to provide a community that faces language and socioeconomic barriers with tools to help get rid of crime in their area. The consensus among law enforcement professionals is that in neighborhoods with gang problems, it's often a small minority of criminals who end up terrorizing the majority of law-abiding residents.

Still Simmering

Despite the injunction, community meetings with law enforcement, community councils, youth groups, tutoring and extracirricular activites, the gang problem in San Clemente never went completely underground.

Just last year, as outlined in , nuisance crimes involving Varrio Chico and a local white power gang have continued.

"Members of the Varrio Chico San Clemente (VCSC) street gang, San Clemente Boys (SCB), a group loosely affiliated with white pride groups, a large population of narcotics users and a large population of subjects on active probation and parole frequent The Triangle [downtown bar district]," the grant application states.

"These bars attract the sales of narcotics, which primarily consist of heroin and methamphetamine. Narcotics sales cause altercations between VCSC and SCB gang members."

Stopping the Cycle

The trick to stamping out these problems is to offer other options to children when they're young--before high school, Velasquez said.

When OC Human relations received its first grant to work in San Clemente, organizers tried to start youth groups in San Clemente High School. They found limited success there. But once Velasquez started working with seventh-graders at Shorecliffs Middle School, her .

The Capistrano Unified School District, church groups and local businesses have also helped to make a concerted effort to stamp out kids' desire to join gangs.

Those who allegedly perpetrated the Jan. 6 attack ranged in age from 23 to 29--and two already have violent criminal backgrounds--are beyond the reach of schools or most community groups.

"They're full-grown men," Velasquez said. "You can't help everyone...[but] the kids don't want to be involved in this. They're actually taking the opportunities."

Lindsey Hanson January 15, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Making broad generalizations about race I about as intelligent as thinking the Earth is flat. It will always be the uninformed uneducated like yourself starting all the problems.
iwitness January 15, 2012 at 08:12 PM
I witnessed the drive-by shooting on Victoria Street Friday night (actually approximately 3 am technically Saturday morning) and it did happen. You can still see the blood on the pavement. A drive-by shooting happened with two persons shot, one person was shot in the head and one person in the elbow. A car of hispanics reportedly drove by and shot the victims who were standing outside. One white male who was at the scene with the victims was arrested for a weapons violation. The suspects in the shooting sped away and supposedly were not apprehended.
Eastside January 15, 2012 at 08:30 PM
There's a good reason for the headline and story angle "worries of racial backlash". Like "journalism" in the old Soviet Union, Adam Townsend and his editors are more concerned with telling us how to think than reporting facts. They wouldn't want those evil white people noticing the high levels of crime from Mexican and Central American immigrants.
BeachMomma January 15, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Ellen Smith-The boys were not Jews. Learn true facts. Your ignorance is frightening-
Ellen Smith January 15, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Yes, Beach Momma, your ignorance is indeed frightening. Obviously, you never read the article. It said, "Jacobson, who pulled away some of the attacters, said he dragged his son - who had been knocked unconscious". Jacobson is a Jewish Rabbi, so that makes his son a Jew, does it not? Even Lindsey Hanson in her above post said that Jacobson is the father of one of the victims. Yes, ignorance is indeed frighening.
Ellen Smith January 15, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Ken, I think white europeans should defend ONLY other white europeans. We shouldn't take on every fight that comes along. I've learned to research and find out who is fighting who. For instance, I hear about blacks killing other blacks. That's their business. I will not defend them. Same for the Jews or mexicans. If they want to kill each other, that's their business. I will not defend them. I will only come to the defense of White Europeans. I am not a white supremacist. I am a white separatist and a racist. They can call me Nazi or anything they want. Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me. I'm proud to be a White European.
BeachMomma January 15, 2012 at 09:21 PM
I did read the article. But actually didn't need too because I know these boys. This was not a Jew Crime. Only you White Supremist go after the Jews. So sad you live a life of hate.
Ellen Smith January 15, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Beach Momma, somehow I don't believe you. You don't know these boys at all. You must be a Jew, the way you lie. Actually, I live a life of Love. Love of my own race. I love my own race. That bothers you doesn't it? I'm surrounded by people of my own race and I love it. I don't associate with other races at all. I don't go after Jews, as you put it. I just don't want to be around them. Goodby and may Thor (my God), forgive you your transgressions.
Mr Salty January 15, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Thor? Not Mighty Odin? HA HA! You will suffer the consequences for your folly!. Your grandchildren's children will most certainly be mixed race homosexual humanists.
BeachMomma January 15, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Ellen-of course you don't believe me. You live in a world of distrust and hate. I have known these boys for many years. Glad you have moved.And pray to Thor to give you intelligence. You need it.
BeachMomma January 15, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Your right Mr. Salty and they will love their Jewish lovers proudly
Adam Townsend January 15, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Actually, two of the three suspects are charged with "street terrorism" enhancements that, if convicted, will make the sentence more severe. This has become a common enhancement added when prosecuting gang cases.
Peter Schelden (Editor) January 15, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Hey CMiles, thanks for bringing this to our attention. I'll get a story up shortly.
Peter Schelden (Editor) January 15, 2012 at 11:37 PM
We have a story about this here: http://patch.com/A-qkf6
Peter Schelden (Editor) January 15, 2012 at 11:40 PM
OK, thanks to CMiles we now have a story on the Saturday morning attack. You can find it here: http://patch.com/A-qkf6
c January 15, 2012 at 11:58 PM
I am so confused??? Was Phil Whitman with the men that were shot or was he one of the shooters?
Peter Schelden (Editor) January 16, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Hi Phil, police haven't made that clear yet. One commenter said he was arrested for separate weapon charges, though.
San Fernando Curt January 16, 2012 at 01:13 AM
So... let me get this straight. From your headline and reports of those sinister "rumblings in the white community" issue here is no longer the attack and near-murder, but fear of backlash from those rumbling white people. When, exactly, was the last time whites rampaged through Hispanic neighborhoods, in violent "backlash"? Anyone can post anything to a blog. Actually, there's no proof these "rumblings" actually reverberated from white people. Enough with the phony hand-wringing. These days "racism" is defined as one or more white people waking up in the morning.
KenH January 16, 2012 at 03:39 AM
Some people think whites and non-whites attack each other at a roughly equal rate. But the fact remains that non-whites attack whites at a far higher rate and this is proven by police stats and by the FBI uniform crime report. Blacks, for instance, commit somewhere around 80% of hate crimes, mostly against whites. This is why white people should and do go ballistic over stories like this because it occurs far more than liberals wish to admit.
PK January 16, 2012 at 04:05 AM
SC would be a much better place without all the trashy low income/ slum lord run apartment building that dominate more than half of the beachside of the 5 freeway. Tear them down. Re-build, and send the scums who live in them back to where they belong. I am fed up with litter everywhere, car break-in's and now this type of street violence. WAKE UP! This is supposed to be "The Village by the Sea" Not Santa Ana, not Tiajuana, and caertainly not in the headlines for gang shootings. When will this city counsel and mayor actually really address the ghetto that is being allowed to continue here?
Adam Townsend January 16, 2012 at 06:14 AM
I wrote this story because, as the editor of this community news publication, I've received a lot of emails and comments on this issue from many segments of San Clemente, so I thought I should address the concerns. Furthermore, a witness to the crime specifically asked me whether OC Human Relations was going to get involved--a legitimate question, considering this is that organization's area of expertise, and they were anxious to talk to me. I let them say their piece and tried to provide a little background. I don't think any assertions of violence or even racism were implied. I alluded to "racially charged" comments; very specifically avoiding accusations of racism.
San Fernando Curt January 16, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Mr. Townsend, it's epitome of disingenuousness to point out you didn't mention violence or racism. Just what is this fearsome "racial backlash" supposed to be? Intemperate critique at a country-club luncheon? Because that's as far as it will go. There is a myth in media that non-whites are forever besieged by phantom Klansmen, that lynching still is prevalent, that racism is as virulent as ever. You've never witnessed a lynching, Mr. Townsend; you've never encountered a Klan member. ...Neither have I. Look. Nobody but partisan squeaky wheels will accuse you of racism for simply telling the truth: Three white teenagers were set upon and beaten senseless by Hispanic gangsters. There. Now, look out your window. Do you see honkie nightriders prowling the streets, spoiling for vengeance? ...You won't
Carl ashworthoc January 18, 2012 at 05:24 AM
rusty Kennedy and his orange county human relations commission overlook hate crimes if they are committed against white males. He is a very odd person who seems to sadistically enjoy it when white males being abused.
Avlank January 18, 2012 at 06:15 AM
To clarify. This was two 18 year old kids who were beaten nearly to death and the father of one came to help and got beaten as well.
Priscilla January 18, 2012 at 05:55 PM
This was a good article that hopefully got the attention of some SC citizens that maybe want to take action, NOT just complain. These hispanic families don't want their children gang affiliated, what parent would? They are (legally) working 2+ jobs, you know the ones that make SC luxury lives possible. Without, economy would suffer. You wouldn't be able to eat out, and I could go on but pretty much it's undeniable that they hold our OC towns together. I went to HS here, the white supremacy groups "skin heads" sure make themselves known, and it's a fact they still exist. Their parents didn't all want them like that either. I'm NOT backing up Mexicans or Whites. Who hasn't regretted something in their life and guidance was all you needed, not everyone grows up with family greeting them on their doorstep. @Diane Don't generalize, some maybe don't respect Americans, but I know many that more than respect Americans, they idolize and want to be us @Rufus Really? "Our town is a white town with waves and sunsets" Come back when do some research Throw your statistics away. HS boys and older get in fights more than is accounted for, they ALL need help. The point of journalism is to grab your attention... Done. SO...stop complaining & find a way to Take Action.
Wow January 18, 2012 at 06:30 PM
This is absolute garbage. "Oh, I'm so sorry we misinterpreted the racism in the Hispanic community! Of course, us racist white folks just don't understand. " You can't lead a community if all you do is contribute turning things into an us vs. them issue, and not having any understanding of how the Caucasians in America view the situation is bound to be a serious impediment. This article is nothing more than another example that white people are expected to be utterly defenseless against the Hispanic community thanks to the ability to play the race card. Instead of ordering us around on how to feel about people illegally entering the country, playing the race card to stay, and then contributing to a trend that now shows Caucasians singled out as the overwhelming victims of violence, maybe you should make a feeble attempt to understand the community you are trying to communicate with. White democrates used to be so common the state was actually well known for them. Congratulations, Rasmussen, Ipsos and other polls show over and over again that people like you have ended that trend permanently, and can read an article like this and see clearly what is really going on.
Wow January 18, 2012 at 06:45 PM
What you said is untrue, and no one is buying it anymore. The Hispanic community has a problem with racism. Whites used to have a massive problem with it, but now we're called "racist" even if we just want to live in our own communities without permitting anyone that wants to move in with us. Only a tiny, minute portion of the white population falls for the 90's style snarky liberal crap. We've seen that this community has a problem with racism, with violence, and with how it views and interacts with the world, and blaming white people for it isn't just stupid, it's counter productive. Everyone knows that white power crime groups are less than 1% of the prison population and harping on such a small, no longer respected group does not lend your racist, extremely ethnically insecure garbage any credence. We just want to be left alone.
Wow January 18, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Mr. Townsend, it's epitome of disingenuousness to point out you didn't mention violence or racism. Just what is this fearsome "racial backlash" supposed to be? Intemperate critique at a country-club luncheon? Because that's as far as it will go. There is a myth in media that non-whites are forever besieged by phantom Klansmen, that lynching still is prevalent, that racism is as virulent as ever. You've never witnessed a lynching, Mr. Townsend; you've never encountered a Klan member. ...Neither have I. Look. Nobody but partisan squeaky wheels will accuse you of racism for simply telling the truth: Three white teenagers were set upon and beaten senseless by Hispanic gangsters. There. Now, look out your window. Do you see honkie nightriders prowling the streets, spoiling for vengeance? ...You won't This one statement counters the article utterly. You can't walk out of your front door in my community without being called a cracker. Children are picked on in public and "Magnet Schools" that are designed to attract mixed ethnic groups become prisons for white students, who are constantly barraged with garbage like this. Please stop writing this crap. When only one ethnic group (hispanics) show any support for this viewpoint and you actually have the gall to point out minute white pride organizations that even whites dislike, all you are doing is encouraging whites to tune you out.
Joe April 12, 2012 at 03:02 AM
About 0.00000000000000000001% of white people are in a street or prison gang. about 99.9999999999999999999999% of non-white people seem to want to be in a non-white street or prison gang or associate with one imo. Seems to be a clear cut difference in values to me. This is why whites don't want to be around non-whites.
SAM July 27, 2012 at 06:18 AM
SAN CLEMENTE IS ALL FULL OF TWEEKERS!!!! WHITE OR MEXICAN THEY ALL ARE DRUGIES!

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