Event honors Martin Luther King Jr. at Lunada Bay, once home to discrimination and harassment

Dozens of people flocked to Palos Verdes Estates on Monday to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day and protest the localism that long has kept outsiders away from a popular surf spot there.

For decades, surfers who have made the trek to Lunada Bay have complained they were harassed and their vehicles vandalized by a group known as the Bay Boys, who were determined to keep the public beach and its waves to themselves.

But on Monday, the rock and sand shore and the bluffs above were filled with a steady stream of surfers and beach-goers from across Southern California, under the watchful eye of local police officers.

The rocky reef and outcroppings of land on both sides of Lunada Bay help create waves in long, unbroken ribbons that are among the best in Southern California.

“It’s a pretty good turnout,” said Christopher Taloa, a former professional body boarder and actor who organized the event. “I didn’t think it would take all this effort to get to this beach.”

Three years ago, Taloa planned a similar paddle-out to honor Martin Luther King Jr. But as he took to the ocean, he said, members of the Bay Boys kicked him and forced him underwater.

One Bay Boy wore blackface and an Afro wig, Taloa said, and told him: “You don’t pay enough taxes to be here.”

Complaints about the Bay Boys have become well-known over the last few decades, with beach-goers and witnesses recounting incidents of slashed tires and assaults in the water — sometimes coordinated by walkie-talkies.

One woman said she was sexually harassed and doused with beer in retaliation for appearing in a news article about the bay.

“I was forbidden from surfing here when I was growing up,” Dave Leuck of San Diego, who was raised in Redondo Beach, said as he prepared to surf Monday. “This is a necessary exercise.

That kind of harassment “shouldn’t happen anymore,” Taloa said Monday. “A guy should be able to have fun without an issue.”

In a lawsuit filed in state and federal court last year against Palos Verdes Estates and 10 people alleged to be members of the Bay Boys, a group of petitioners said the surfers have intimidated and accosted outsiders for years and that the city has done little to stop it.

A court hearing scheduled for next month will determine whether the federal case will became a class-action lawsuit, which would allow more people to join the claims against the defendants.

“This is the safest day to surf here in 35 years,” said El Segundo Police Officer Cory Spencer, who jointly filed the lawsuit. He knows many of the so-called Bay Boys by sight, and didn’t see any of them Monday, he said.

Last month, wrecking crews dismantled the stone “fort” that the surfers had built without permits at the base of the steep cliffs.

“I heard it was open today, so we had to come,” said Maki Namikawa of Torrance, after climbing back up the cliff, carrying a pink surf board with white polka dots. “This is amazing.”

Christopher Taloa carries surfboards for Maki Namikawa, center, and Mim Miller down a path at Lunada Bay during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day surf event held to protest the localism. (Michael Owen Baker / For The Times)


Multiple people shot during Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration in Miami

Three people were transported by emergency personnel to a hospital, and others brought themselves in for treatment after a shooting during a Miami Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, CBS Miami reported.

Police said a total of eight people were injured, five of whom were juveniles, including an 11-year-old and a13-year-old.

A source told the station two of the wounded were in critical condition after the incident, which occurred at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park. Celebrants had gathered at the park following the city’s annual parade to honor the civil rights icon.

Two individuals have been detained, and two weapons have been recovered, Miami-Dade police said via Twitter.  

It is unknown if additional subjects are at large as this investigation continues to be very active. 

Police have not said if a motive in the incident is known.

In a tweet, Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez called the incident “shameful.”

“Certainly not what the followers of Dr. King Jr. want out of our community,” he wrote.


3 shot, 5 others injured at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park in Miami on MLK Day

Police and fire rescue crews are on the scene after three people were shot and five others were injured at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park.

Miami-Dade Police was among the multiple agencies that responded to the scene of the shooting at 6011 N.W. 32nd Avenue, in Northwest Miami-Dade, Monday just before 4 p.m.

At around 5:20 p.m., Miami-Dade Police tweeted out that they had detained two people and recovered two weapons from the scene.

All three shooting victims were transported to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital. One of these victims was transported as a trauma alert.

7News reporter Ann Keil and photographers were about 100 feet away from the scene of the shooting, along Northwest 32nd Avenue and Northwest 62nd Street. They heard between four and six shots.

Moments later, the news crew saw displaced children crying after losing their parents when a stampede of attendees ran away from the scene in search of safety. Many police officers were seen carrying small children away from the scene.

As all of this was going on, parade-goers were seen ducking for cover underneath vendor tables and behind walls.

Around 4 p.m., several law enforcement agencies and fire rescue vehicles were seen flooding the area. At one moment, MDPD officers were seen at a nearby house with their guns drawn. It is unclear if this is related to the shooting at the park.

According to Keil, at least two women looked like they had been shot in the leg. Officers were seen picking up these victims by hand and carrying them away to safety.

Moments later, a man was seen on the floor in handcuffs.

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