Family of Lakeside stabbing victim asks for support
It's been over three months since a 16-year-old Black girl was stabbed in Lakeside, allegedly by a white boy of the same age who is also accused of shouting racial slurs at the girl and members of her family.
On Monday, a relative of the wounded girl was joined by community activists in a news conference at the juvenile court in Kearny Mesa, where they asked the community to join them in asking District Attorney Summer Stephan for justice.
"My family and I are pleading for the community to join us and pushing for the district attorney to hold accountable the teenagers and the father for the suffering that they [the victim's family] have endured," Nichole Streater said through tears.
The father Streater mentioned is the boy's parent, who sheriff's deputies have said was present during the attack. Community activists have been demanding that he be charged as well.
Monday's news conference was held before a hearing for the boy and a 15-year-old girl, also white, who is also accused in the attack. Both are charged with hate crimes. The boy is also charged with attempted murder. They have pleaded not guilty.
Streater said her family has been told the teenagers will get a maximum of 500 days in jail, no matter the outcome. "That 500 days that they were given — that slap on the wrist — that shouldn’t be acceptable," Streater said, adding it sends the wrong message to others in the community. "They’re going to think that it’s okay to walk around and harm innocent Black women."
KPBS has not been able to confirm that there would be a sentence of 500 days. We reached out to the D.A.'s office and received this statement: "The investigation of this incident is ongoing as to other potential responsible parties. We acknowledge the pain and trauma the victim and her family have suffered and continue to seek justice on their behalf in juvenile court. The law limits what we can discuss publicly as this case is currently in progress."
From the beginning, advocacy groups and community members have been outraged over what they have called the unequal treatment of the white teens and their family members, who they say also hurled racial slurs at the Black family during the April attack but were never arrested. The activists say that would never happen to Black or Brown people, who they say are often rounded up and charged when crimes happen for simply being bystanders.
Tasha Williamson, the founder and CEO of Exhaling Injustice, said a 500-day sentence is a blow to the community that has been demanding justice to heal. "Justice is blind," she said. "For this case we believe that justice isn’t served 500 days is not enough time, it is definitely not time for the victim to heal she has permanent scarring," she said, adding that doesn't even take into account the emotional trauma the victim and her family will have to deal with for the rest of their lives.
Williamson said the District Attorney needs to weigh her actions in this case carefully, because it's sending a message that could have harmful consequences for the Black community that's already under threat. Williamson said, "I believe that her message will make it acceptable for more people to commit hate crimes against Black men, women and children."