Lompoc stabbing victim sues school district over racial hostility

April 24, 2013


The victim of a brutal stabbing carried out by gang members at Lompoc High School has filed suit against the Lompoc Unified School District over its alleged indifference to a hostile racial climate.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court, alleges that members of the Hispanic Lompoc gang, Westside VLP, racially intimidated and physically attacked Brandon Moorman, an African American, on a regular basis before stabbing the 17-year-old student in a school bathroom on March 28, 2011. Moorman’s suit, which is scheduled to go to trial April 30, claims that school officials chose to ignore numerous reports of racially motivated attacks prior to the stabbing.

“Moorman alleges that the fight resulted from a racially ‘hostile education environment’ and that the district acted with ‘deliberate indifference’ toward Moorman’s safety,” the suit says.

On the day of the stabbing, Westside VLP affiliate Marco Dominguez, 18, pressured Moorman into fighting. Moorman eventually obliged and chose an English building bathroom as the fight location. Three other Westside VLP gang members, Saul Rivera, 16, Christian Ortiz, 17, and Ruben Garcia, 15, then joined Dominguez in the bathroom and participated in the beating, kicking and stabbing of Moorman.

Though juveniles at the time, Dominguez, Rivera and were triad as adults for assault with deadly weapons convictions with gang enhancements.

In March 2012, Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Patricia Kelly sentenced Rivera to seven years in prison, which he must serve 85 percent of before he is eligible for parole. Dominguez and Ortiz were each sentenced to four years in prison and are required to serve half the sentence before they are eligible for parole.

Moorman’s suit states that during his first two and half years on campus, Westside VLP gang members jumped him, chased him around the school, pressured him to fight, harassed him for talking to girls and called him a “nigger.” It also alleges that the affiliates jumped Moorman’s brother and another African American student, Billy Williams.

Moorman’s parents reported incidents of racial intimidation and violence to school officials during their son’s freshman, sophomore and junior years on campus. The victim’s parents contacted the principal, assistant principal, school counselor, school safety liaison and school safety officer, yet Lompoc Unified remained indifferent to the escalating racial tension, the suit alleges.

The complaint also states that Westside VLP affiliates targeted Moorman for wearing the color red to school, accusing him of associating with the Bloods gang. Moorman’s parents reported the issue, and both the school safety officer and liaison responded by advising that their son not wear red to school.

When the stabbing occurred, a staff member responsible for monitoring bathroom activity happened to be absent, Moorman stated in a court declaration.

“When I returned to school, an English teacher, Ms. Arcuni, apologized to me because she said she was supposed to be monitoring the bathroom on the day I was stabbed,” Moorman stated. “In the three years I attended Lompoc High School, I always saw a monitor supervising the bathrooms.”

In addition to the stab wounds, Moorman suffered a busted lip, a split eyebrow and a right knee sprain in the bathroom fight. At Lompoc High, Moorman played on the football team, and he aspired to play the sport collegiately. But, the stabbing victim claims that his wounds, as well as his knee sprain he suffered from getting kicked by the gang members, have hindered his ability to compete, and he has chosen to give up the sport.

“It feels really embarrassing just being the one to be stabbed and just known at the high school,” Moorman said. “Instead of like being something you’re known for like playing a sport or something, just being known like you got stabbed and everything.”

Midway through his senior year, Moorman transferred out of Lompoc High School. Moorman’s friend, Williams, too, transferred schools.

“It is well-known that the Westside VLP gang controls the neighborhood surrounding Lompoc High School and blacks cannot go walk down some of the streets in that neighborhood,” Williams testified.

Lompoc Unified School District officials declined to comment on the case.


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PHRS needs bathroom monitors, too. Male or female–I would NOT want my kids using the restrooms without adult supervision. Sad but true.

Gangs have become a HUGE problem in most of the schools and communities in California. This has been common in Paso, Arroyo, Nipomo, Santa Maria and keeps getting worst as you head south. I use to go to Central Valley on business but gave that up years ago because of their issues and safety concerns. And then we can go to Kings City. Soledad, the mecca of Salinas and just keep going north. We will eventually get more of it SLO County, it just takes time and it is rapidly gearing up, lol, wonder why???

…and why not? Have not most schools become prisons? They sure seem to be run like one…

I know this does not excuse it, but I cannot help but draw out the comparison. Prisons are rife with gangs and unsympathetic, unionized employees watching over and controlling groups of people, as well.

Atascadero doesn’t have a gang problem. Just as any police officer. We are clean and clear. We can even walk through the park or around it with no problems. Blessed aren’t we?

God Bless

I do have to agree that California has a big problem with Latino gang members intimidating other students in the school system. My friends daughter who went to school in Santa Rosa (a nice area) used to come home from school crying nearly everyday. She was a very pretty blonde haired blue eyed 14 year old who was an excellent student and a mommy’s girl (wasn’t interested in boys). The Latino girls used to call her names like sl*t and push her around and even tried to hold her down and cut her hair. At 15 she quit school because she was too afraid to attend high school and deal with the Latino female bullies. Erica actually finished high school by home schooling herself. This occurred over 13 years ago and it hasn’t gotten any better in fact thanks to LaRaza it’s worse than ever.

I wouldn’t have put up with that crap. If my kids were still school aged…they would be in private schools in California. The public schools keep lowering the bar to cater to all our Spanish speaking friends. Enough is enough.

Please! Public School’s bar is so low, our kids trip over it on the way in!

“Westside VLP affiliate Marco Dominguez, 18, pressured Moorman into fighting. Moorman eventually obliged and chose an English building bathroom as the fight location.”

So Moorman chose a bathroom where no monitor was stationed that day? I find it interesting that they all agreed to use this bathroom for the fight considering that a monitor was usually on guard. They including Moorman must have known there was no monitor that day. Why didn’t he just go to the principals office or to the student safety liaison rather than to the bathroom to fight? Moorman contributed to his own circumstances in my opinion when he agreed to fight and named the secluded location.

Looks like Moorman is looking for some free public money in his pocket. He has no one to blame for this stabbing except himself and the perps who have been punished are now incarcerated, as they should be.

Blame the victim? If we read the same article he claims to have officially advised the school several times but nothing was done. It appears that he finally got fed up and tried to deal with it himself. But, as is typical of cowardly hispanic gangs, he got jumped by a group of them.

Cindy, your comment is like saying Erica deserved what she got because she was blonde with blue eyes. Just does not make sense. The level of intimidation and violence from this gang gave Moorman no choice but to try to stand up for himself. I am shocked you find that so hard to see.

I don’t understand why he agreed to fight and even picked the place and time when he knew that there would be no monitor in that area. He got stabbed and now he wants to sue for it. If he had just got jumped without agreeing to the fight in the first place, I would be in his court 100% but he played the ‘tough guy” right back with them. Why didn’t he go to the school authorities rather than to the bathroom that day?

You are talking about a high school kid. Can you imagine him not being “tough” and ready to fight back? the harassment would have been much much worse for him. Him playing “tough guy” was all about his own survival. And BTW he DID go to the authorities, nothing was done, thus the lawsuit.

Hello Cindy, did you read the article? I dont think so. The school didnt do anything for him over all those years he tried to tell them. Do you think they would have done something then? NO, He probably just realized he was on his own, and had no one to go to since everyone he has gone to did nothing. This is not acceptable in any way. He was faced with no where to go, no one will listen but his parents. I think on this one you are way off base and out of line. JMO

OK, I have reconsidered and changed my mind. I was picturing a big strapping football player but you’re right, he is still just a kid. LAH also made his/her point about having to fight or it would have gotten worse. Parents just aren’t raising their children properly any more and I guess it’s now left to the school system and the authorities. One thing I’m certain of is that all LaRaza studies need to be banned.

I’m not an expert but I did raise 4+ kids.( I say + because over the years I had several other kids besides my own live with me.) The pressures of high school/jr high life can be treacherous for kids that aren’t the popular kids. The bullies can be unrelenting on kids that are not naturally aggressive. Then you put a “gang” together and its even worse.) Remember the boys that raped that girl? I bet that never would have happened if they acted as individuals instead of a group.)

I do completely understand why he agreed to fight. IMO he had no choice but to stand up for himself.

I respect your willingness to reconsider Cindy! The great sadness is that these kids feel they need a gang at all. I understand their own need for acceptance (especially at that age) and for survival. You know the one kid not in the gang will be the target of the gang! I think the Gang’ thing is not at all about Race. Situations have proven, just like the rape case, its about the actions of being in a Group that seem to provide the acceptance of bad behaviors.

and the pretty girl wears a tight dress and just asks to be sexually assaulted???? Open your eyes.

Typical blame the victum bs. I hope this kid kicks the crap out of the school board and anyone else taking care of the money. Hope he gets rich over this. Maybe then something will be done about this on going problem.