Organizer Of Good Samaritan Effort To Protect Asian American Family Is Threatened With Possible Defamation Lawsuit

The family has finally gotten to have some peaceful nights with the outpouring of support from neighbors, but now some parents of the teens are threatening to sue the organizer for posting one of the alleged harassment incidents on social media as captured on home surveillance video. Stacey Butler reports.

Video Transcript

- Only on KCAL9, a story about a community stepping up their neighborhood watch duties to protect an Asian-American family constantly harassed since they moved in is picking up speed. Waves of volunteers are joining in to watch over them.

- KCAL9 Orange County reporter Stacy Butler has a story you'll only see here on KCAL9.

- Everybody is on the chat, right?

STACEY BUTLER: Tonight this community organizer who wants to remain anonymous can hardly keep up with the volunteers now flooding in to watch over the family home of [INAUDIBLE]. On Friday, we reported how neighborhood teenagers have harassed his family for months.


Ringing his doorbell, screaming racial slurs and obscenities every night, at all hours.

- Since the initial airing of the news story, we've had a lot more volunteers. And we've had large groups come out, which has been unbelievable.

STACEY BUTLER: Volunteers now protect his front door and stand watch throughout the neighborhood, shining a light on anyone who tries to harass him.

HUIJUN SI: These neighbors are so nice. I now meet so, so good people.

STACEY BUTLER: But the organizer who first posted the home security videos of the teens harassing the Si family was handed a cease and desist order by an attorney for some of the teens' families, saying her statements "have caused my clients to suffer shame and mortification for which they are entitled damages." They warned, "take down your Facebook post in its entirety or we will initiate a defamation lawsuit against you."

The organizer says, no way. Now, six attorneys have offered to represent her pro bono.

- You can't scare me into not doing what's right. And you know, if that means that I have to deal with a lawsuit in order to protect an innocent family, that's OK with me.


STACEY BUTLER: As Sheriff's investigators try to determine who the teens are and what, if any, crimes were committed, Brian Levin with the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism handed the community group an award for protecting their neighbors. He says the harassment could be a federal offense, or even a hate crime.

BRIAN LEVIN: The more they do it, the more evidence they leave, the big question is, what is the intent. But I'll tell you something-- whoever's doing this is on very thin ice.

STACEY BUTLER: Organizers say they've had such an incredible response from the community that they're booked with volunteers to protect this home for the next week and a half solid. In [INAUDIBLE] Ranch, Stacy Butler, KCAL9 News.