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Community Leaders Call for Probe of Tire Slashings

August 30, 2003|Jose Cardenas | Times Staff Writer

Leaders of two Southeast Los Angeles County community groups called for an investigation Friday into two incidents of tire slashing that they suspect may be retaliation for their success in temporarily ending police checkpoints in Maywood.

Speaking outside the Bell Police Department, about 10 members of L.A. Metro Organizing Strategy and Comite Pro Uno said the incidents happened two days after a meeting at which the victims had been prominent speakers.

Hundreds of people met Aug. 20 at St. Rose of Lima Church in Maywood with two council members to discuss the checkpoints, which have been criticized for mainly catching suspected illegal immigrants unable to get driver's licenses.

The council members agreed to temporarily stop the checkpoints.

On Aug. 22, Jesus Carrera, 38, told police that one of his tires had been punctured outside his Cudahy home. About 4 p.m. the same day, Luz Estrada, 44, found her four tires punctured outside a Huntington Park clinic.

Within half an hour, a woman called Estrada's church and told the secretary that Estrada's tires had been punctured and that Estrada would be targeted again unless she stopped her activities, the pastor, William Delaney, said Friday.

The community groups have asked the district attorney's office and city officials in Maywood and Bell to investigate.

"The only thing I get is more anger," said Estrada, a nurse. "If that's the price you have to pay for it, well, I guess I have to pay it."

The community groups also said they will continue to lobby against the police checkpoints and to urge passage of SB 60, which would allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver licenses.

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