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A national Latino organization comes to aid of alleged King City victims

By Jake Reiner, Reporter, JakeReiner@kionrightnow.com
Published On: Mar 07 2014 12:05:40 AM CST

LULAC wants to help protect Latinos

KING CITY, Calif. -

Thursday was a day of passionate speeches in King City.

The League of United Latin American Citizens, city council members and a state assemblyman all had one common message: Look out for members of the Latino community who may not be able to stand up for themselves.

"There's a reason why things start and it starts in our own backyard," said LULAC representative Carlos Ramos.

In a press conference, LULAC came to the defense of King City Latinos who say the've been victimized by the police department for years. This has its roots in an alleged towing scheme that targeted low-income or undocumented immigrants, according to the Monterey County district attorney.

"Maybe they're afraid you know some of them they don't have documents to be here," said Rufina Recendic, an alleged victim.

She believes her son was targeted for having tinted windows in his car. When he couldn't produce a valid driver's license, she says, police officers impounded his vehicle.

"We don't have money to save in the bank so I lose my car," she said.

LULAC said the challenge will be to get undocumented workers who have been victimized to come forward. Something current King City police officers want, too.

"I work for the citizens, so I want them to come forward if they have any information. That will be the only way we can close this investigation and move forward," said Sgt. Alejandrina Tirado with King City police.

"You are not by yourself," Ramos said at the podium. "Together, one for all and all for one."

State Assemblyman Luis Alejo said he is pushing the state to make changes. Gov. Jerry Brown has already signed into law Alejo's AB 60, allowing undocumented citizens to obtain a driver's license.

But Alejo and LULAC say immigration laws still have a long way to go to protect immigrants and their human rights.

"Every law is there for a reason, but those laws can also change," Ramos said.

Alejo has asked State Attorney General Kamala Harris to conduct her own investigation.

The King City Police Officers Association is expected to release a statement Friday afternoon.