De­tec­tives in­ves­ti­gate al­leged hate crime

Woman ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of ter­ror­iz­ing some­one, caus­ing fear at U.S. Ma­rine Corps of­fice

The Signal - - FRONT PAGE - By Jim Holt Sig­nal Se­nior Staff Writer

Lo­cal sher­iff’s de­tec­tives are in­ves­ti­gat­ing what they be­lieve is a hate crime com­mit­ted Tues­day by a woman who was ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of ter­ror­iz­ing some­one and caus­ing fear, a felony.

The in­ci­dent hap­pened late Tues­day morn­ing near the U.S. Ma­rine Corps re­cruit­ing of­fice on Va­len­cia Boule­vard at the West­field Va­len­cia Town Cen­ter mall.

A 45-year-old woman was ar­rested about 11:45 a.m.

“A per­son threat­ened some­one at the Ma­rine Corps Re­cruit­ing of­fice,” said Lt. Leo Bauer of the Santa Clarita Val­ley Sher­iff’s Sta­tion.

“This is con­sid­ered a hate crime since deroga­tory com­ments were di­rected at an African-Amer­i­can re­cruiter,” he said, not­ing the threats were verbal and not phys­i­cal.

Sev­eral peo­ple near the re­cruit­ing sta­tion, which is near the food court en­trance to the mall, wit­nessed the bar­rage of com­ments.

The woman ar­rested was iden­ti­fied by at least two lieu­tenants as Zhoie Perez, of La Mi­rada.

Re­ports of the in­ci­dent cre­ated a buzz on­line when it be­came known that Perez, who refers to her­self as “Furry Potato” on­line, had been ar­rested.

Sev­eral YouTube videos and on­line dis­cus­sions emerged in re­sponse to the ar­rest, ar­gu­ing she had a right to say what she wanted, cit­ing free­dom of speech.

An on­line search of “Zhoie Perez” and “Furry Potato” re­vealed a pro­file of a woman de­scrib­ing her­self as an “in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist.”

Perez is sched­uled to ap­pear in San Fer­nando Su­pe­rior Court July 3.

She was re­leased from cus­tody shortly af­ter mid­night Tues­day.

Austin Dave/The Sig­nal

A woman was ar­rested near the U.S. Ma­rine Corps re­cruit­ing of­fice on Va­len­cia Boule­vard at the West­field Va­len­cia Town Cen­ter on Tues­day.

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