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Friday, December 4, 2009

Kick a Ginger Day

A red-headed 12-year-old boy was assaulted in Los Angeles on November 20th because of a Facebook message declaring Friday as "Kick a Ginger Day." A "ginger" is a label for someone with red hair, fair skin, and freckles. A group of seventh and eighth graders at A.E. Wright Middle School in Calabasas beat up the red-headed student on two occasions in the same day. A "South Park" episode that focused on prejudice against "gingers" is said to have ignited the Facebook message. Lieutenant Richard Erickson said the boy was "accosted by seventh- and then eighth-graders" and was "kicked and hit with fists in various areas of the body." Fortunately, the 12-year-old did not suffer any serious injuries.

Detectives are investigating the incident as a possible assault with a deadly weapon. California Penal Code Section 245(a) (1) defines this serious crime. The law states: "Any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm or by any means of force likely to produce great bodily injury shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment." Notably, a vehicle and almost any instrument that can be held in the hand and even a person's foot can be deemed a "weapon" for the purposes of this law.

Penal Code Section 245(a) (1) is applicable to adults as well as children pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code Section 602. Under Welfare and Institutions Code Section 602 anyone under the age of 18 can be declared a ward of the court if they are alleged to have violated a penal code section. They are then prosecuted in the juvenile court.

View an Associated Press video on this incident.

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