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The City Attorney’s Office filed a nuisance abatement suit Tuesday against the owners of a South Los Angeles shopping center about a half-dozen blocks west of the flash point of the 1992 riots, alleging gang members freely congregate there and commit crimes.

Mahmood and Rosa Harati have owned the property in the 2000 block of West Florence Avenue since 2004, according to the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit. The suit seeks an injunction against the Haratis and an order compensating the city for the costs of abating the nuisance.

The couple could not be immediately reached for comment.

“In recent years, members of (a street gang) and their associates have freely engaged in criminal and violent behavior at or immediately around the property, in addition to loitering in the property’s parking lot on a daily basis,” the suit states.

Properties that fall under the grip of a gang “become toxic to the people in their vicinity,” the suit states.

Six businesses are located at the center, including Mahmood Harati’s prosthetics store and a medical marijuana business that is operating there illegally, the suits states.

“The property is located near several sensitive sites, including two middle schools, an elementary school and numerous churches,” the suit states. “The property’s physical appearance is unkempt and sends the distinct message that no one, with the possible exception of the gang, is in charge.”

The intersection of Florence and Normandie avenues, a short distance east of the shopping center, is generally considered to be the starting point of the 1992 riots after the acquittal of four LAPD officers accused of the beating of Altadena resident Rodney King.

–City News Service

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