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Mom: racism fueled attack
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Repeated racial harassment by members of a white youth gang was the reason that Devon Jett, a black 18-year-old Pleasant Avenue resident, lost control of his emotions, attacked a mailbox and wound up being tasered and arrested by police. That's the assertion made by Jett's mother who's had enough of the name-calling against her family.

"I've never been called n----- so much in my life since coming here," said Missouri Radford, a Los Angeles native whose lived in Ceres since 2000. "This ain't the 1950s, this is 2008. Grow up people."

Jett, who is bipolar, was arrested Oct. 14 after a Ceres police officer spotted him uncontrollably hitting a mailbox near a bus stop in the 3800 block of Central Avenue near his home. The officer believed that Jett might be under the influence of narcotics and stopped near him. Jett then walked past the officer, who yelled for him to come over to her. When Jett came up to the patrol car his fists were clenched and he was walking with rage, the police report said. Because of his demeanor, Jett was asked to back away from the vehicle, then ordered to turn around and place his hands in the air. When he failed to comply with the officer's demands, Jett was tasered to the ground and placed under arrest. He was arrested on charges of vandalism and resisting arrest.

But that's only part of the story. Police later learned that Jett had just been beaten by a suspect. Apparently it was the second scuffle he had with minors from the neighborhood.

According to a police report, Jett had been accosted by a youth who thought Jet stole some marijuana from a friend. Jett fought the youth, who then threatened to send another youth to fight him. That youth spotted Jett at the bus stop on Oct. 14 but Jett decided to walk away rather than confront. Jett was roughed up by the subject and then walked off. Jett goes into a fit of rage and takes out his aggression on the mailbox. That's when the officer saw him.

Radford doesn't fault actions of the officer and admits that her son had stopped taking medications for his condition. She also admits that her son has dabbled with marijuana use. But she said the taunting from the so-called "Peckerwood Gang" over the last few months has been troublesome.

Members of the gang are white, she said, and are about 16- to 17-years of age.

"He won't fight them as they're younger and he's an adult now," she told the Courier.

Radford has made complaints that hate crimes are being committed against her son but they can't do much since Jett won't give police names for fear of retaliation.

"I don't even know who these kids are," she said, "but they're targeting black kids."