White supremacists attacked a group of Hispanics in a park outside of Los Angeles on Sunday. The group of three men began beating and assaulting a group of Hispanic teens in an apparently random attack at Stephen Sorensen Park in Lake Los Angeles, a small desert town about an hour north of the city. Witnesses said that the attackers were shouting “Heil Hitler,” yelling racial slurs, and waving a Confederate flag.
Seeing the attack unfolding, another family in the park attempted to intervene, but the attackers pulled out knives threatened to kill them. Describing the attack, the father of the family told NBC LA, “They just started beating them up. They started coming toward us and they pulled out some knives, and they were saying they’d kill us.”
The three attackers quickly fled the scene after one of the victims called 911, but were quickly picked up by the police, who are investigating the attack as a hate crime. Luckily, no one was seriously injured in the assault.
This racial terrorism is only the latest in a string of dramatic of hate crimes in recent days. The day before, a KKK rally in nearby Anaheim descended into violence as three counter-protesters were stabbed by Klansmen, who were later released by the Anaheim Police. Last week, police in Fort Wayne, IN discovered the bodies of three Muslim-American men who had been shot execution-style in an abandoned home and a man outside of Saint Louis yelled racial slurs and pointed a gun at a Muslim-American family house-hunting in the neighborhood, telling them “All Muslims should die!”
Islamophobic attacks have become increasingly common since the Paris and San Bernardino attacks as Donald Trump and other demagogic Republican candidates capitalize on a climate of fear to peddle their racist, xenophobic narrative. And, as yesterday’s Lake Los Angeles attack shows, other minorities singled out for hatred by Trump and other Republicans are increasingly at risk as well.
As shocking as the overt displays of white supremacy both in Lake Los Angeles and Anaheim are, they can hardly be surprising when the leading GOP candidate for president refuses to disavow support from the KKK. No matter how much the Republican candidates will plead innocence, their constant fear-mongering rhetoric tainted with heavy doses of racism and Islamophobia have created a climate in which such regressive attitudes are increasingly normalized, excused by fighting “political correctness.” As a spokesperson for the extreme anti-immigrant nativist sentiments of the racist right-wing, Donald Trump and his rhetoric are certainly complacent in such crimes, if not guilty of incitement.
James DeVinne is a student at American University in Washington, DC majoring in International Service with a focus on the Middle East and South Asia. He is a founding member of Occupy Baltimore and interns at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.