Seventeen people pleaded not guilty Monday to various charges involving an attack on three Black men by members of the Hells Angels biker gang in San Diego this year, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office said.
The victims, ages 19, 20 and 21, were suddenly chased and attacked in San Diego’s Ocean Beach neighborhood on June 6, subjected to a racial epithet and told they didn’t belong there, prosecutors said in a news release.
One escaped injury by running, another was punched, kicked and knocked unconscious, and the third was stabbed in the chest by a Hells Angels leader after being beaten by other bikers but survived, prosecutors said.
On Sept. 13, a grand jury indicted 14 people for allegedly taking part in the assault, including an allegation that it was carried out in association with a criminal street gang. The grand jury included hate crime allegations against 11 of the defendants.
The most serious charge, attempted murder, was brought against the alleged gang leader accused of the stabbing. The grand jury added three more defendants on charges of being accessories after the fact for allegedly helping to drive the leader away from the scene.
“In San Diego County, we cannot, and will not tolerate violence and racism of any nature, much less crimes like this hateful, vicious, and unprovoked attack,” District Attorney Summer Stephan said in a statement.
All 17 defendants were arrested on Sept. 21. They entered pleas Monday during their arraignments on an array of charges that carry possible sentences ranging from three years to life in prison. Trial was set for Nov. 14.