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Home / News / Crime / Car vandalized with racial slurs in San Pedro; family fears for safety

Car vandalized with racial slurs in San Pedro; family fears for safety

by City News Service
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An investigation was continuing Friday after a Black San Pedro family’s car was vandalized with a racial slur and swastikas sometime after Christmas — an incident that left the family in fear for its safety and local elected officials “horrified” and “outraged.”

“I was horrified to learn of the disgusting, vile vandalism that occurred in San Pedro over the holidays,” Los Angeles City Councilman Tim McOsker, whose 15th District includes San Pedro, said in a statement Thursday.

KTLA-TV reported that Reginald Scott’s red Ford Mustang had the message “Merry Christmas,” followed by the n-word, spray-painted on one side. The other side was painted with indiscernible lettering, while the bumper was sprayed-painted with swastikas, and the vehicle’s tires were slashed.

“I have spoken to LAPD’s Harbor Division leadership and we are very clear that whoever defaced Mr. Scott’s car is to be found and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, specifically as a hate crime,” McOsker said.

LA Mayor Karen Bass issued a statement Friday, saying, “These harmful acts of vandalism and hatred in San Pedro are unacceptable in our city. Hate crimes are on the rise and African Americans continue to be the most common victims in Los Angeles County, like in this case.”

She added, “We will continue our work with the Civil and Human Rights and Equity Department as well as with the Los Angeles Police Department to work to hold individuals responsible for these actions accountable.”

In a message posted on a GoFundMe page, the Scott family said it first became aware of the vandalism on Dec. 29, after neighbors notified police.

An LAPD Harbor Division spokeswoman told City News Service that the vehicle was discovered vandalized near 10th Street and Patton Avenue around 10 a.m. on Dec. 29. Detectives responded around 1 p.m., and believe the crime occurred sometime in the evening of Dec. 28 going into the 29th, the spokeswoman said.

The GoFundMe page says it is aimed at raising money to help the family move from the apartment it’s occupied for 20 years. As of Friday, it had raised $2,465 toward a $30,000 goal.

“The words and symbols spray-painted on the car cause real, tangible terror and harm to our neighbors and our community,” McOsker said. “I do not take this lightly. I have spoken to Mr. and Mrs. Scott to offer my support as they go through this unimaginable pain that their family is dealing with at this time. This crime is hateful, deplorable and has no place here in the 15th Council District or anywhere.”

Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn also released a statement Thursday regarding the incident, saying, “Few of us can imagine the fear and anger that Mr. Scott and his family are feeling after this most recent attack.

“Both as supervisor and as a resident of this community, I am outraged and saddened that one of our neighbors could be targeted in such a vile way. My thoughts are with the Scott family.

“In San Pedro and in all of L.A. County, everyone belongs and everyone deserves to live in peace. I understand the LAPD Harbor Division is working hard to identify the perpetrator of this hate crime so that they can be held accountable.”

According to KTLA, Scott said that his wife is concerned for her family’s safety.

“She doesn’t want the door to be unlocked,” Scott told KTLA. “She’s pretty much on high alert.”

Scott told the station he believes the vandalism might have come in retaliation for parking in front of someone’s house.

“Even if you’re parked where you’re not supposed to be, I don’t think that gives you the right to spray-paint somebody’s car and call them a racial slur,” Scott’s 12-year-old son told the station. “That’s hurtful.”

KTLA also reported that Scott had been targeted similarly at least two times, which included his truck being set on fire about two years ago and his truck tires cut and further vandalized with a substance sprayed on them during Halloween.

According to the family GoFundMe page, “We … no longer feel safe. It would be so wonderful to have the community support us through this difficult time, and help us move and recreate the peace our household once had.”

Updated Jan. 5, 2024, 12:04 p.m.

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