Wednesday, March 30, 2011

California town calls in FBI to help investigate cross-burning

California town calls in FBI to help investigate cross-burning -

First, an 11-foot wooden cross was stolen from Saint John's Lutheran Church in Arroyo Grande, California.

Then, weeks later, the cross was discovered set aflame in the middle of the night outside the bedroom window of a 19-year-old woman of mixed race.

Police Chief Steven Annibali told CNN Tuesday that a cross-burning is unheard of for his community of 17,000, and that only three hate crimes have been reported in his town the past 15 years, mostly for uttering slurs. That figure is the lowest for San Luis Obispo County, he said.

"The family is trying to go about daily business, but they have ongoing concerns about their security and the direction of the investigation," attorney Louis Koory told CNN on Tuesday.

"For example, if there are known racist elements in the community, it is not clear that the police are looking at these groups.

The police chief described his community as "one of the best secret places in California to be."

"It's not what I would describe as a heavily multicultural community. It's heavily white, but we do have a number of other cultures represented in the community," Annibali said.

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