A young man accused of taking part in a group assault of a special-needs student in Long Beach — an attack captured on cell phone video and posted online — was charged Thursday with assault and other counts.
Bryan Blancas, 18, pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of violation of civil rights and single counts of battery and dissuading a witness by force or threat.
He is due back in court June 3 in Long Beach.
Blancas and two teenage boys were arrested Tuesday in connection with the May 15 attack, which occurred near 15th Street and Long Beach Boulevard. Video of the attack was posted on YouTube and then widely shown on local television news stations.
There was no immediate word on the status of the two juvenile suspects, aged 16 and 17.
Blancas faces life in prison if convicted.
Long Beach police said they are still seeking other suspects in the attack on the 17-year-old black victim.
Rasheena Mccord told the Long Beach Post that her son — who she described as a special needs student — was walking home from school when he was asked by some teens where he was from — a common challenge among gang members.
“He tried to run, but they caught up to him,” Mccord said.
She described the video posted to social media showing the group punching and kicking her son near the Poly Academy of Achievers and Leaders. Mccord said the attack lasted about two to three minutes. The video also shows the person filming, a girl, getting attacked afterward, according to Mccord.
She said one of the attackers was wearing brass knuckles, but the weapon did not make contact with her son, who had bruises on his head, a torn eardrum, scrapes on his elbows and muscle soreness.
Mccord said the group involved in the attack was made up of Latino current and former Poly High School students who targeted her son because of the color of his skin. She said the same type of attacks happened to other students on May 9 and 10.
Videos posted on social media recently have shown groups of black and Latino boys or young adults attacking each other. Some of the posts are laced with racial epithets.
The Long Beach Police Department said it would maintain a heightened presence in the area. And police urged people to report any criminal activity directly to authorities.
“Posting a video or status update on social media should not be a substitute for a crime report,” a police statement says. “If an incident is not reported, it hinders our department’s ability to fully investigate the incident to create a safer environment for our students and community.”
Anyone with information on the case was urged to call the Long Beach Police Department’s Gang Detail at 562-570-7370, or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.
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