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February 3, 2010 > Calls for end to racist violence

Calls for end to racist violence

Submitted By Pamela Y. Price

Community leaders in Union City and Hayward called on Union City Police, on January 27, to protect African-American youth in Union City in the wake of a racially motivated shooting that closed Hayward's Southland Mall and I-880 on Saturday, January 23, 2010. The gunmen, who remain at large, shot at eight Union City African-American teenagers at the crowded shopping mall.

A class action lawsuit is being brought, on behalf of African-American students in Union City, against the police department and school district for failing to protect African-American students.

The families are represented by Oakland civil rights attorneys Pamela Y. Price of Price and Associates and John L. Burris, who have sued Union City Police Department and the New Haven Unified School District in state and federal court under Federal and State civil rights laws.

One of the targeted youths at Southland Mall was wearing a sweatshirt featuring Vernon Eddins, a 14-year old African-American student shot and killed in broad daylight outside Union City's Barnard White Middle School in December 2007. Union City Police Department has not identified or captured the culprit.

Eddins' murder and the shootings at Southland Mall are part of a series of racially motivated attacks against African-American youth by the Decotos, a Latino gang operating in Union City. The attacks, which began even before Eddins' murder, appear to be randomly targeted at African-Americans living in Union City.

Numerous African-American youth have been shot, stabbed, beaten and assaulted by gang members in and around Union City schools.

"These children live under virtual house arrest," said Price. "They're afraid to use public transit, so their parents must drive them everywhere. Several have transferred to other schools and many families have been forced to relocate. The kids who were targeted on January 23 went to Hayward to escape the danger but even that wasn't enough. The violence against African-American youth in Union City has been going on for years and it has to stop now."

The families, their attorneys and community leaders are planning a Town Hall Meeting at which concerned Union City residents can organize to protect the city's youth and push the police department and school district to take immediate steps to stop the attacks.

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