Hate Crime Laws Bring Down Azusa Gang Leader
Violent ethnic street gangs use many of the same tribal supremacist xenophobic philosophies and rationalizations that Nazis and white supremacists do, merely changing which ethnicities are favored and which are the excluded scapegoats.
A novel decision by law enforcement to use hate crime laws along with organized crime statutes to bring down the leader of a brutal Southern California gang has won praise from victims and a promise from law enforcement to do more.
Santiago Rios, 48, was sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison on Monday, after pleading guilty not just to breaking racketeering laws, but to violating the civil rights of African-Americans who lived in the area around Azusa where he operated.
Latino and African-American gangs have long targeted each other in Southern California, just as jailhouse groups have divided themselves along racial lines. But residents of the Azusa neighborhoods where Rios operated say he and his operatives, who were Latino, pointedly targeted African-Americans for beatings and crime.