A minority group says the powers that be have systematically discriminated against it, even resorting to police violence, to silence its voice.

But the minority in question might not be what you think it is. Same for the group in charge of City Hall: The self-proclaimed victims here are Latino. The bad guys, they say, are black. And it's all going down in the city of Compton:

While the city is now 65 percent Latino and about 35 percent African American, it has been a long, hard road for Hispanics when it comes to obtaining City Hall power. It was only in June that the Compton elected its first Latino to its City Council.

It is against that backdrop that a lawsuit filed recently in federal court alleges civil rights violations, unlawful arrest, excessive force, racial profiling and discrimination on the part of Compton city law enforcement.

The suit says that the city's Municipal Law Enforcement Services targeted Latinos who protested against the local educational system for “failing” to meet the needs of Hispanic students.

Credit: Joe Wolf / Flickr

Credit: Joe Wolf / Flickr

In particular, it alleges that plaintiff Victor Lopez was pepper sprayed, put in a choke hold, beat with batons and slammed to the ground for filming police during a protest on Sept. 27. The suit claims Lopez was illegally arrested in order to silence him.

The plaintiff was a student photographer at the time, the filing, obtained the Weekly, says. He sustained multiple injuries, the claim says.

The suit says this is part of systematic discrimination and racial profiling by the city against Latinos. Local cops (not including the sheriff's department, which otherwise patrols Compton) used racial and derogatory epithets to describe Hispanics, the suit alleges.

The suit seeks statutory and actual damages against the city, its Municipal Law Enforcement Services department, and that department's manager, Percy Perrodin, Jr.

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