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Racism drives African American family out of their OC home

City News Service | 11/21/2012, 9:25 a.m.

YORBA LINDA, Calif.--A Black family of four, led by a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy and Inglewood police officer, said they were chased out of Yorba Linda because of repeated acts of racism, prompting the Orange County Human Relations Commission today to pledge new outreach efforts to Blacks in the county.

The father, an Inglewood police officer who requested anonymity for his family's safety before telling City News Service about the family's encounters with racism when they moved to Yorba Linda in May 2011 until they moved to Corona in October.

"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 when he would ride his bike to work at a Home Depot.
"People driving by would say, 'Go home, n-----," the man said.

When Brea police, who also patrol Yorba Linda, responded to the first report of vandalism the officers said they could not chalk it up to a hate crime because there was no evidence it was racially motivated, the man said.

"I said, 'OK, that's cool,' but could you step up some patrol in the area," he said.

Finally, 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 there wasn't any evidence of a hate crime, the man said.

He told them he thought it was 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 when he was 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.

The principal of the boy's school, however, satisfied the parents when he pledged to use the moment to teach racial tolerance in the school, the man said.

The former Yorba Linda resident said his neighbors have been much more welcoming in Corona.

"We had five neighbors come over and welcome us to the neighborhood," he said.

The man said he didn't encounter any racial hostility when he lived in Anaheim or Brea.

Carol Turpen, chairwoman of the Orange County Human Relations Commission, sent a letter to the family today saying in the coming days the organization would do "special outreach to the African American community."

The Orange County Board of Supervisors has been told about the former Yorba Linda family's experiences, Turpen said.

And the commission will also "be telling (the family's story) at an upcoming meeting of the Yorba Linda City Council," Turpen said.

"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 said in the letter to the family.

"We are committed to wipe out hate within the OC."