Najee Ali, director of the civil rights group Project Islamic HOPE, has filed a second federal civil rights complaint with United States Attorney Andre Birotte’s central district office concerning the racially motivated attack and taunting with a noose of a Black teen at Santa Monica High School.
Principal Hugo Pedroza, Superintendent Tim Cuneo, and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School district are named in the complaint.
“Superintendent Tim Cuneo, along with the principal of Santa Monica High School and other school officials, had knowledge of the hate crime that was committed. Superintendent Cuneo, and Principal Pedroza’s delay in reporting the hate crime, and not notifying Victoria Gray, mother of the victim, was part of a shameless coverup of a vicious racist attack and hate crime. Without question, a hate crime was committed. We now know that police were never called by district officials, (who) had collected student cell phones and deleted photos of the incident.
“Not reporting the crime aside, destroying photos (or evidence) is an obstruction of justice and can lead to criminal prosecution. So, we are calling for the U.S. attorney’s office to conduct a swift and complete investigation and hold accountable Superintendent Cuneo, Principal Pedroza, and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District for the coverup of a hate crime,” said Ali in a statement.
While the Santa Monica Police are handling the criminal behavior in the incident, the investigation into whether or not school administration inappropriately handled the situation has been directed to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
According to the Sgt. Richard Lewis of the Santa Monica Police, the department is still in the middle of investigating the incident, but has not yet made substantial progress due to the difficulty of contacting possible witnesses who may be on vacation for the summer.