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Seven teens arrested for alleged hate crime beating in Palmdale

City of Palmdale

City of Palmdale

An attack in Palmdale has residents debating whether it was a hate crime.

Seven African-American teens are awaiting arraignment in Palmdale after being arrested in a beating many describe as a hate crime.

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the seven boys, ages 13 to 16, were arrested on suspicion of committing a hate crime when they allegedly attacked a 15-year-old Hispanic boy in Palmdale as he walked home from Cactus Middle School. Police are still seeking three more suspects in the incident.

The March 14 beating was captured on video and posted on YouTube, but has since been removed from the site and retained for evidence. According to this NBC news report (which seems to have been posted on YouTube by someone trying to stir up racial tension), a school deputy watched the video and recognized several students, leading to the arrests.

The video showed as many as 10 boys surrounding the victim and challenging him to a fight. The suspects then began hitting the teen while others watched. Lt. Don Ford told the Associated Press that during the beating, the teens made racially derogatory statements that were captured on the video.

After the victim fell to the ground, the assailants kicked him multiple times in the head, knocked out several teeth and left shoe impressions on his skin, Ford said.

The victim was able to get to his feet and escape the onslaught, and will need to undergo dental surgery. An arraignment date for those arrested has not yet been set.

-- AP and Staff Report

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