Suspect held in hate crime slaying of girl, 14

December 23, 2006
By Jill Leovy
Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles police detectives have arrested a Latino suspect in the killing of a 14-year-old African American girl in what police say was a hate crime.

The girl, Cheryl Greene, was among four people struck in a shooting the afternoon of Dec. 15 in the 20600 block of South Harvard Boulevard. Two young Latino men approached the group, and one pulled a gun and fired several times before the pair fled. Two women and a man were wounded in the attack.

Los Angeles police have said graffiti in the area bearing the letters “NK” suggested that a local Latino gang with a reputation for racism had targeted blacks. Because of this, police have classified the case as a hate crime, although the circumstances are under investigation, said LAPD spokesman Lt. Paul Vernon.

Community activists plan a march in Cheryl Greene’s memory next Saturday, said Najee Ali of Project Islamic Hope. The shooting angered some in the neighborhood, he added, and marchers plan to call for peace and an end to violence.

The killing does not represent a trend, Vernon said. “There is nothing to support that there’s a wave of these,” he said. “This is one case.”

Citywide, hate crimes were down 10% in 2005, and are expected to have dropped by 8% this year, according to preliminary figures, he said.

Police didn’t release information about the suspect, who was arrested Thursday

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