A teen is facing possible life in prison after being charged Thursday in connection with a brutal beating recorded on cellphone video outside a Long Beach high school last week, prosecutors said.
Bryan Blancas, 18, is accused of six counts including assault and violation of civil rights in the May 15 attack outside the Poly Academy of Achievers and Leaders at 1545 Long Beach Blvd., the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
The victim’s mother, Rasheena McCord, told KTLA her son is a 16-year-old special needs student.
Video of the incident shows the boy was outnumbered, apparently jumped by a group of at least five who threw him to the ground before repeatedly punching and kicking him.
Officials allege that Blancas dealt several blows to the victim’s head, face and torso after the boy had tried to run.
McCord said her son was left with cuts, bruises and a torn eardrum.
Prosecutors did not specify why Blancas is accused of violating the victim’s civil rights, though they did say the victim is black.
Asked why her son was targeted, McCord replied, “I’m not sure.” He’s not a gang member, she said, but she believes the assailants were group of young Latino men who asked her son, “Where are you from?”
“It has something to do, maybe, with some type of initiation thing,” she told KTLA.
McCord said she heard other young black males got jumped recently, and the issue has prompted a group of parents and volunteers to begin physically monitoring the campus each day.
Rakeem Addison, who is one of those volunteers, said they’re working with students in an attempt to stop violence before it breaks out.
“What we’re trying to do is show individuals the street stuff cannot come to the kids,” Addison said.
Blancas, who was arrested Tuesday in Long Beach, is not the only person in custody in connection with the assault.
Two other teens, ages 16 and 17, were taken into custody that same day. Their names are not being released due to their status as juveniles.
Both were booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon that is not a firearm and are being held at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall, police said in a news release.
A search warrant was also served at a residence, and additional suspects are still being sought, investigators said Wednesday.
On Thursday, Blancas pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of violation of civil rights, one count of dissuading a witness by force or threat and one count of battery, the DA’s office said.
If convicted as charged, he would face a maximum possible sentence of life plus 17 years in state prison, officials said.
The defendant is scheduled to return to court June 3 for a pre-hearing conference.
He was being held on $1.04 million bail.