IRVINE — Three San Fernando Valley men and two juveniles attending an Iranian new year's picnic in a park were arrested on suspicion of kicking and punching several other park users after telling them that they "didn't belong there because they were white," police said Monday.
Police are asking prosecutors to file civil rights violation charges against the suspects "due to the statement regarding the victims' skin color as well as the seriousness of the injuries," said Sgt. Brian Clifton, who responded to the call Sunday.
Arrested were Jahad Afridi, 26, and Said Afridi, 23, brothers from Reseda, and Abedi Mohammed, 20, of Woodland Hills. All three were booked into the Orange County Jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and threat to terrorize, police said.
Two juveniles, 15 and 16, of Los Angeles County, also were arrested and were being held at Juvenile Hall.
As the sun set Sunday on the Iranian new year's festival at William R. Mason Regional Park, a group of men, believed to be of Middle Eastern descent, attacked a group of non-Iranian revelers who were at the park with their Persian friends, said Irvine Police Lt. Tom Hume.
"It doesn't appear that [the victims] provoked the attack," Hume said. "They were just walking through the park and were jumped from behind."
One witness turned a video camera on the fracas, and the footage was "pretty graphic," Hume said. Police did not release the tape, but said it showed one victim on the ground as he was being kicked in the head by two people.
"One of the suspects broke his hand punching one of the victims," Hume said.
Two of the five victims, who ranged in age from 19 to 22, suffered multiple contusions and head swelling after being kicked, possibly with steel-tipped boots, Hume said. None of the injuries was life-threatening, he said. The victims, who were treated at the scene and released, were not identified.