SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (FinalCall.com) – Young Black male Jim King was selling his newspapers in front of a popular discount store Dec. 6 when, without provocation, four White teenage boys yelled out racial slurs and began to attack him.
Ventura County’s Senior Deputy District Attorney Stacy Ratner told The Final Call that criminal charges of assault with a hate crime allegation were filed against all four suspects in Juvenile Court Dec. 9; and that the 15 to 17-year-old attackers face a maximum exposure of eight years in jail.
Mr. King, meanwhile, who suffered a dislocated knee and abrasions and swelling to his face, was treated at Simi Valley Hospital and released. Reports indicate that his mother, Sheila Ford, is worried about any long-term effects of the attack, and has hired an attorney.
It all started when the four suspects approached Mr. King and began calling him names. To avoid confrontation, the boy turned and started to walk away, but to no avail. One of the assailants ran up and punched him in the face; and when the victim tried to run away, he tripped over a planter, dislocated his knee, and fell to the ground. The four teenagers caught up with him and began the physical attack.
“He’s a high school student just out there trying to have a job like we teach all of our kids to do. This poor kid was trying to do everything he could to avoid a confrontation,” stated Sergeant Joseph May of the Simi Valley Police Department.
Ms. Ratner stated that she has handled all Ventura County hate crimes over the past five years, including group-style beatings, individual attacks and others, but this latest is a first for Simi Valley.
The incident occurred at 6:45 p.m. in a shopping center that is not very busy because it houses many vacant units. Luckily, Sgt. May stated, a resident passing by stopped and assisted Mr. King. This, he continued, led to a chain reaction ending with the arrests of all four youth.
“The suspects fled, and two of them got into a car, and while leaving the area, an officer saw them driving erratically at a high rate of speed. When he stopped them, he found out they were involved in the incident,” Sgt. May informed. The arresting officer also found skinhead and white power racial paraphernalia in their vehicle.
Simi Valley Mayor Paul Miller, on behalf of the City Council, spoke out against the crime and perpetrators. “Simi Valley absolutely will not tolerate racially motivated crimes as occurred last evening. A small group of bullying thugs made a horrible decision,” he stated.
Because they are minors, the attackers’ identities are being concealed; however, one of the boys’ mothers told reporters that it is not right that her son was arrested for just defending himself, and that the King incident is not the first time he has had a run-in with Blacks and Mexicans.