Recently in Hate Crimes Category

Remember Marcelo Lucero

| | Comments (1)


Nearly one year ago, on November 8, 2008, Long Island resident Marcelo Lucero was beaten and stabbed to death by a group of local teens who had decided to go "beaner hopping." They had already assaulted other Latinos earlier that day. The group appears to me to have viewed racial attacks as a way to stave off boredom, regularly going after those they viewed as the most vulnerable and despised in their community: Latino immigrants.

Long Island Wins is sponsoring a campaign to remember Marcelo. Remembering Marcelo's life and his death is important to me because there have been too many racial attacks in Philadelphia as well. Some incidents date back years, like the attack against Julio Maldonado and Denis Calderon in 1996, where law enforcement sided with the persecutors instead of the victims. Immigrants are still being attacked today in our community, and for the same reasons that Marcelo was killed: they are viewed as enemies or threats by many in the community and also seen as easy targets. Local law enforcement here facilitates those kinds of crimes by targeting immigrants themselves, usually for minor traffic violations, and turning them over to ICE, ensuring that immigrant victims of crimes will be less willing to call the police for protection. This problem is not limited to Philly--Luis Ramirez was killed in Pottsville, PA, just months before Marcelo's death.

Long Island Wins and Marcelo's family have very effectively pushed back against the hate in their community, and I hope that other communities around the country can follow their example.

And as Ted Hesson of Long Island Wins pointed out, Congress could do a lot to solve the problem of hate crimes by passing immigration reform to bring people out of the shadows and into the scope of the protections that others in the community enjoy. Right now, too many people are invisible to all but those who wish them harm.

Seth Williams.jpg

Cross-posted at Young Philly Politics.

Julio Maldonado was deported to Peru on Thursday, October 22, 2009, after arriving in the U.S. 38 years ago at the age of 3.

He and his cousin, Denis Calderon, had been victims of an attack based on their ethnicity in 1996. Julio was wrongfully convicted of aggravated assault, incarcerated for a total of 8 years, and then deported.

His family's pleas for justice were ignored by local, state, and federal decisionmakers--except for the convicting judge, Judge Gregory Smith, who actually vacated his own verdict after an evidentiary rehearing. That decision was appealed by the District Attorney's office and overturned. A jury of Julio's peers also found him not guilty of the murder of one of his attackers. So how then was Julio locked up for so long and deported, when the convicting judge (in the aggravated assault trial) and the jury (in the murder trial) both decided he was not culpable?

When it came to wrongfully convicting, imprisoning, and deporting Julio, prosecutors and the Department of Homeland Security zealously worked to prevent a just result. When it came to acknowledging that a mistake had been made and families would be torn apart, everyone's hands were tied, from prosecutor Seth Williams to Governor Rendell (mayor of Philadelphia in 1996, now with the power to pardon an egregious error that occurred on his watch) to Thomas Decker, director of Immigration Customs and Enforcement in Philadelphia, to Janet Napolitano, head of DHS.

The case has broader significance, as Seth Williams will likely be Philadelphia's new District Attorney. He will have to decide, along with the mayor and police commissioner, whether to continue along Philadelphia's current track of close cooperation with ICE to target immigrant communities. Currently, Philly PD is routinely arresting Latin@ immigrants for minor traffic stops and turning them directly over to ICE, or actually joining ICE on home raids. This is in direct contravention of Mayor Nutter's expressed desire to make Philly an immigrant-friendly city. It is hard to be friendly when the immigrant community is terrified of the police, which is working hand in glove with the local ICE contingent to deport every last one of them.

Seth Williams didn't lift a finger to undo the damage he had done to Julio Maldonado and his family, despite repeated promises to the family. At least, we have no evidence he took any favorable action.

Will Philadelphia's elected officials side with the immigrant community, or with Lou Dobbs and others who want to see immigrants chased out of the U.S.? Right now, they are saying one thing and doing another.

[Image: Democratic candidate for District Attorney of Philadelphia, Seth Williams.]

The room erupted in cheers after all verdicts were read and deputy sheriffs had to restrain members of the defendants' families from rushing to them until after the jury had been dismissed.Stan Standard Speaker article

What would make one cheer when a man was murdered?  In the case of Luis Ramirez those that caused his death, and their families, seem to have little remorse for their actions.  It is one thing to be glad you are not going to jail and an entirely different thing to celebrate in front of those people who loved the man you helped kill.

People in Shenandoah celebrated, went out into the streets and rejoiced after an all-white jury found Brandon J. Piekarsky, 17, and Derrick M. Donchak, 19, guilty of lesser charges and acquitted them of criminal homicide and aggravated assault. from Vivir Latino

No matter how you slice it Luis Ramirez was provoked and beaten to death by a group of young men in Shenandoah, PA. However, anti-migrant agitators, more specifically those in and around Shenandoah, made it clear that they would not view this death from the eyes of those who loved him. Instead this incident became reason to protest against undocumented migrants and to support a group of white young adults who seem to bring little value to this world. This is a classic "protect our own" story and protect their own this town surely did.

On Monday, a 53-year-old San Jose man was having a personal conversation on his cell phone, speaking in Spanish, minding his own business, when he was suddenly attacked, punched in the face, as the racist suspect, Scott Pontzious, 28, of San Jose, screamed "Speak English!!"
Imagine, walking down the street, having a private conversation with your friend on a cell phone, then, out of the blue, some young maniac comes up to you and punches you in the face and runs away!
Of course this is not surprising news, given the rhetoric going on daily on any ANTI Immigration Reform website or newspaper comment section discussing "Official English."
A recent article in "The Oklahoman" is a perfect example. The article titled "Bills to make English the official language in Oklahoma trouble Oklahoma Capitol panel" provides both the for/against arguments. Yet the comments by the ANTI Immigration Reform zealots go to the extreme.
Comments include:
. Richard: "who really cares what the hispanics want as they are mostly (by statistic standards) mainly illegals (criminals). put the thing to a vote and let's see how it comes out."
. Charles: "The "outstanding amigo award" should be renamed traitor of the year.The pockmarked slime--Chad Smith and roof pimp HarryTturnCoates qualify as dual slime of the year.Multicuturalist,gaseous,stooges--that aptly describes the Chadster and the pimp."
. Jim: "Speak American."
Or Consider the ANTI Immigration Reform website Alipac, discussing "Nasville votes against English only." (Ironically misspelling the word Nashville).
Here are some of their comments:
. dman1200: "Dumbarse morons, have fun having your city overrun by a bunch of illegal alien degenerate thug gangbanger types. Have any of you morons seen or been to LA or CA in general lately? Well enjoy because that is your future. Hope you morons brushed up on your Espanol if you actually hope to compete with these family value loving job thieves in the not so distant future. That is if you can tolerate having your neighborhoods turned into a war zone."
. GA Patriot: "Tennessee is no where near a border state. The fact that they even brought up such an initiative as English only is astounding and an example of how pervasive the illegal population has infiltrated every part of our country. Legal immigrants speak English - period. "
. miguelina:Is it true that only 10% of Nashville voters turned out for this? Wonder how many were illegal aliens. This is a disgraceful slap in the face for unity!"
What is clear is, the ANTI Immigration Reformers equate the sound of the Spanish language to illegal immigration. To them, "Official English" is not about stopping the printing of government forms in Spanish. It is about STOPPING THE USE OF ANYONE, Citizen or Not, From Ever Uttering one word in Spanish in the USA again. Or Else!!
It is clear that if a National "Official English" bill passes, the ANTI Immigration Reformer extremists, like Pontzious, will declare OPEN SEASON to ASSAULT anyone speaking Spanish in public again! These laws should NOT be passed!
Hate Crimes like this are reprehensible and Pontzious should be charged to the FULLEST Extent of the Law!!
 
Dee

Apathy

| | Comments (1)
I've read the stories about hate crimes committed against undocumented residents. The anger is sometimes so overwhelming that I can taste it in my mouth. The vile, rancid taste of hate because you know the people attacked didn't deserve to be victims of ignorance. Those feelings are magnified when you see it happen right on front of your eyes. When you see the act itself being committed and not doing anything about it. The other day I was at a lunch truck eating with my friends around 1:30 a.m. As we sat and huddled for warmth after eating, I noticed from the corner of my eye commotion in the street. I see a car with two people in the front and and two other men getting out to assault a man who was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. The men immediately begin to man handle him after taking him by surprise. As one holds his hands behind his back, the other searches him for valuable possessions to steal. My friends begin to notice what's going on and I tell them, "the guy is getting robbed." "We should go help him," said one friend. "Yeah we gotta do something," said my other friend. Both of them are women and they wanted to go help while me and my other friend just sat there and kept an eye out to make sure things didn't take a turn for the worse. Before we could decide what to do the guys go back in the car and drive away. Immediately the girls go and ask the man if he was OK ? We follow and begin to talk to the man and ask him what they stole from him, his wallet with his I.D. from work and the Mexican Consulate. One of my other friends flags down a sheriffs officer and the officer tries to give chase to the car, but with no luck. He comes back and begins to take a report of what happened, asking us to describe what we saw, the make of the vehicle, what the attackers looked liked etc. The men were Mexican, just like the person they robbed. Part of me hates that very concept. It's hard enough in the world as it is and the people who are suppose to be looking out for us are the ones stabbing us in the back. The lack community unity hurts everyone because divided we fall, but united we stand. I myself grew up with that kind of ignorance around my community for far too long and while I decided to devote my life to stop crimes like the one I saw, at times it feels like I'm chipping away at a glacier with an ice pick. Having been a victim of robbery, I knew that I couldn't involve myself in what was going. What if they had guns ? knifes ? what if they decided to go after my friends ? The safety of my friends and the victim are too high for something as petty as money or a wallet. I would much rather give them what they want than to risk becoming another two minute news story on the evening news. "A young man was killed late in the evening last night as he tried to fight off his attacker. El Random Hero was 2? years old and was attending ???? college as a journalism major. Police say that during their struggle, the attacker, who was identified as ????, was carrying a hand gun and shot Hero in the chest repeatedly leaving him for dead. No word yet on the location of his attacker."
It appears that there might be another incident of a hate crime, according to the New York Times.  Two Ecuadorian brothers, Jose and Romel Sucuzhanay, were attacked by three men as they spouted anti-gay and anti-Latino slurs.  How it is that people don't see the connection between these hate crimes and nativist sentiment is beyond me. 

This is just as Lisa Votino-Tarrant has written an excellent piece about the aftermath of Marcelo Lucero's murder, over at Long Island Wins.  I've asked her to cross-post it here on Citizen Orange.  I hope she agrees. 

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the Hate Crimes category.

Harvard is the previous category.

Health is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.




XOLAGRAFIK Designs