Police arrested a Boyle Heights man on suspicion of assaulting a reporter from a radio station that has criticized an El Sereno charter school for allegedly promoting racial separatism for Latinos.
Ramon Flores, 31, was arrested about 8:15 a.m. Thursday near the Academia Semillas del Pueblo Charter School, Los Angeles Police Lt. Paul Vernon said. Flores was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and robbery, he said.
Flores is suspected of trying to run down Sandy Wells of KABC-AM (790) radio June 1 after the reporter finished interviewing parents, students and administrators at the school.
Wells was across the street from the school in the 4700 block of Huntington Drive when a silver sedan sped toward him and jumped the curb onto the sidewalk, Vernon said.
"Wells jumped out of the way to keep from being hit," he said. The driver then got out of the car, began hitting Wells and tried to take his equipment but only managed to grab an audiotape, Vernon said.
Before the incident, KABC talk show host Doug McIntyre had reported that the school's curriculum was racist and emphasized separatism. School officials dismiss the accusations.
Flores' driver's license picture was placed in a photo lineup, and Wells identified him as the attacker, Vernon said.
"Detectives got a break this week when they re-canvassed the area where the assault occurred," he said. "They noticed a car fitting the description of the one used in the assault and traced it to the owner."
The school held an open house in an effort to dispel criticism. Supporters contend that the school, which opened in 2002, has been unfairly scrutinized.
At a news conference in June, parents extolled the school's curriculum and its emphasis on multicultural values. They said its demographics reflect the community, which is predominantly Latino.