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Angeles County | Community News File / Venice

Man Gets 3-Year Term in Attacks on Beach

September 23, 1998

A man believed to be a member of a white supremacist prison gang was sentenced to nearly three years in jail for attacking several people on Venice Beach, including an African American police officer.

Thomas Allen Preston Jr., 40, of Venice pleaded no contest to the charges stemming from two incidents.

On June 27 near Ocean Front Walk, Preston hit a 59-year-old man in the forehead with 3-foot wooden stick, Deputy City Atty. Mitchell Fox said. He then hit the victim's friend in the face, knocked him down and kicked him in the stomach.

On July 6, also on Ocean Front Walk, police approached Preston after a woman told beach patrol officers that he had shoved her.

Preston became combative and began shouting racial slurs at one of the officers. He then removed a weight-lifting belt from his waist and swung it at the officer.

Joseph S. Biderman, West Los Angeles Municipal Court Commissioner, ordered that Preston serve his full sentence with no possibility of early release or work furlough, Fox said. Preston also must stay more than 300 yards from Venice Beach during three years of probation.

Preston was convicted of robbery in 1988 and sentenced to 10 years in prison, Fox said. He is believed to a member of Aryan Brotherhood, a prison gang.

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