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Notorious Palos Verdes Surfer Gang Gets Sued, Accused Of Sexual Harassment

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Lunada Bay in Palos Verdes (Photo by tiarescott via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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On Tuesday, a coalition of plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the Lunada Bay Boys, the notorious local surfing gang who threatens and intimidates anyone who tries to surf at Lunada Bay in Palos Verdes without being a part of their clique. We've known for a while about the Lunada Bay Boys and their misguided belief that they somehow own the coast. Wanting to keep Lunada Bay all to themselves, the Bay Boys slash tires, crack windshields, verbally abuse, throw rocks, and otherwise just harass would-be visitors of Lunada Bay.

Last year, a Guardian reporter and photographer paid the Bay Boys a visit, and secretly recorded their interactions with, what can only be described as, small, fragile men with frail egos and too much time for leisure.

The Bay Boys might even have a clubhouse.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday is led by an El Segundo Police officer, Cory Spencer, who was reportedly harassed multiple times by the Bay Boys when he tried to surf in Lunada Bay last year. Spencer is joined by other plaintiffs, who are suing not only the Bay Boys and individual members of the gang, but also the city of Palos Verdes Estates itself. They allege that though the Palos Verdes Police Department knows about the gang's harassment, they fail to do anything about it.

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From the lawsuit:

In the water, the Lunada Bay Boys dangerously disregard surfing rules when it comes to visitors, threaten visitors with violence, run over visitors with their surfboards, push visitors, hit visitors, slap visitors, harass visitors by circling them, and hold visitors underwater… The Lunada Bay Boys have posted a discrete municipal-style sign at the top of the bluff that stated "Unlocals will be hassled."

The suit also details the Bay Boys' harassment of Plantiff Diana Reed. Reed visited Lunada Bay with the intention of surfing back in January. When she arrived, she was allegedly met with verbal abuse. From the lawsuit: "While watching across Lunada Beach to the Fort, Lunada Bay Boys called her a 'bitch' and told 'fuck you' and 'you are a liar.'"

Reed's account continued, noting how after she had been on the beach for a couple of hours, a group of the Bay Boys approached her, promising reconciliation with a case of beer. Jalian Johnston, one of the defendants named in the suit, asked Reed to drink with them. When she declined, Johnston allegedly shook up a can of beer and sprayed her as another Bay Boy, Brant Blakeman, filmed her.

Reed asked them to stop, but they "told her they thought she was 'sexy,' and filmed her as they told her she 'excited them.'" Johnston also allegedly made sexual remarks directly at her, supposedly telling her his penis was big enough to "get the job done," and that she made him "hard." Following these remarks, the lawsuit alleges Johnston exposed himself to Reed.

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Reed reported the incident to the Police, however the lawsuit argues the PVEPD did little to expedite an investigation.

As the lawsuit explains:

Palos Verdes Estates has a long history of deliberate indifference in not investigating or otherwise policing acts of violence and vandalism against visiting beachgoers. The response is always the same: City leaders acknowledge the problem, promise to do something, and then do little or nothing.

This is only the latest in an long saga surrounding the Lunada Bay Boys. In February, even the tony California Coastal Commission stepped in last year, pushing for legal action against the Bay Boys' harassment and, fittingly for the Coastal Commission, suggesting that the clubhouse be demolished as it's technically unpermitted coastal development.

Along with compensation for damages, the suit asks for the court to classify the Lunada Bay Boys as a criminal street gang.