18-year-old pleads not guilty to assault, violation of civil rights in beating of black teenager

A Long Beach teen pleaded not guilty to a slew of charges stemming from a May 15 attack on a special-education student from Poly High School, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office announced today.

The DA’s office today charged Bryan Blancas with one count of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily harm, two counts of violation of civil rights, one count of dissuading a witness by force or threat and one count of battery.

The charges include an allegation that the assaults were committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, an in association with a criminal street gang, the DA’s office said.

Police believe Blancas and his friends confronted the victim, an African American 17-year-old boy, on May 15.

Rasheena Mccord, the mother of the victim, said her son was walking home from school when several teenagers asked him where he was from, which is a common gang challenge.

“When the victim attempted to flee, Blancas is accused of knocking the victim to the ground and punching and kicking him multiple times in the head, face and torso,” the DA’s statement said.

Police arrested Blancas and two other teens on Tuesday after serving a search warrant.

If convicted as charged, he faces a possible maximum sentence of life plus 17 years in state prison, according to the DA.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with more information from the DA’s office.

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Valerie Osier is the Social Media & Newsletter Manager for the Long Beach Post. She started at the Post in 2018 as a breaking news reporter. She’s a Riverside native who found her love for journalism while at community college. She graduated from the Cal State Long Beach journalism program in 2017 and covered the Palos Verdes Peninsula for the Daily Breeze prior to coming to the Post. She lives in Long Beach with her husband and two cats.
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