Crime & Justice

Court levies fine against 2 men charged in race-based beating

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Two Orange County men convicted of harassing a man with ethnic slurs and beating him will also have to pay him. California’s attorney general ordered the $50,000 fine.

It’s the first time the state’s top prosecutor has imposed fines under a civil rights law called the Ralph Act. That law allows crime victims to pursue civil penalties in addition to criminal convictions. In this case, a jury convicted James Kelly III of California City and Justin Mullins of Garden Grove of assaulting Felipe Alvarado.

One August night three years ago, the men pulled up alongside Alvarado at a stoplight and shouted at him. When he ignored them, they pulled into the parking lot at his nearby job, forced him out of the car and severely beat him. Alvarado said his assailants shouted ethnic slurs.

He survived the beating with permanent back pain and hearing loss. The men convicted of the assault served varying sentences.

A court ordered each to pay Alvarado $25,000. State attorney general Jerry Brown, who’s running for governor, said he pursued the civil case after Kelly’s and Mullins’ release because the assault was so brutal.