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Both Brutal, Both Anti-Latino: Two Hate Crime Trials Underway in NY

Both Brutal, Both Anti-Latino: Two Hate Crime Trials Underway in NY

In November 2008, Marcelo Lucero of Ecuador was attacked by a group of seven teenagers going “beaner-jumping,” or looking for Latinos to attack. When Lucero fought back with his belt, eighteen year-old Jeffrey Conroy stabbed him to death.

Last week the trial concluded with Conroy being convicted of manslaughter as a hate crime, making him eligible to serve anywhere from 8 to 25 years in prison. He was also found guilty of gang assault and attempted assault on three other Latinos. However he avoided the more serious charge of second-degree murder as a hate crime, which would have given him up to life in prison.

Conroy, who initially confessed to the police only to later plead innocent at the trial, was the only one of the seven convicted. Four have plead guilty to second-degree attempted assault as a hate crime and are cooperating with police, while two others have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial. The victim’s family in turn has established a scholarship in Marcelo Lucero’s name at the high school attended by the seven teenagers.

Meanwhile, a trial has commenced for the murder of another Ecuadorian immigrant in New York. In December 2008, Jose Sucuzha˝ay was walking in Brooklyn with his brother when both were attacked and taunted with racial and homophobic slurs. While his brother was not seriously injured, Sucuzha˝ay was knocked unconscious with a broken bottle, and then repeatedly attacked with an aluminum baseball bat. He died soon after being declared brain-dead.

Soon after the news of the two men’s deaths broke, many Latinos in eastern Long Island and Brooklyn came forward saying that they too had been victims of assault or abuse. In Long Island, immigrant advocates decried the Suffolk Police Department for not addressing Latinos’ reports of assault. The federal government has announced plans to investigate the police department’s handling of the reports.

While the brutal deaths are a harsh reminder of the fatal consequences of extreme racism and xenophobia, nonviolent forms of hate, such as slurs or intimidation, are serious as well. And when the stories of Lucero and Sucuzhu˝ay disappear from the headlines, will the government and people’s awareness of hate disappear as well?

After Lucero’s trial concluded, his brother Joselo commented, “The hunting season is over, at least for now.”

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69 comments

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12:58PM PDT on Sep 3, 2010

This disgusts me. How is it that this type of volatile action happens in a nation that I'd like to believe has come so far? As many more cases of racial injustice are resurfacing in our nation, it makes me wonder if we're going backwards rather than progressing forwards.

5:14PM PDT on May 4, 2010

I think it's so sad that these two people lost their lives and it's also very sad for the many more who are also being victimized and killed due to hatred.
Hate crimes for many different reasons are one of the most dangerous types of crimes.
First of all people who participate in hate crimes seem to be able to brainwash certain types of people to gang up on the person or group who is being targetted.
Personally I feel that people who participate in any form of hate crime is basically a terrorist, whether they be from another country or home grown it doesn't matter, they are terrorizing and putting fear into another person with their only reason being hatred.

7:59AM PDT on May 4, 2010

thanks for sharing.....

3:30PM PDT on May 3, 2010

We have a long way to go. Hate is not inherited but is a learned trait. How long will it take to understand we are all the same beneath the color and the accents?

2:20PM PDT on May 3, 2010

This happens everywhere... even in small acts, and this is sad. We all need to become aware of this and learn more, so that we really become a community.~

10:28AM PDT on May 3, 2010

I become outraged at attacks made by those in the racial majority who feel it necessary to demean, harrass and in many cases kill many people of color. Again as I have always expressed, until Europeans across this country deal with their deep seeded racism/white racial privilege on the institutional, societal and personal levels, events like this will continue. It is time for dealing with the root and the various expressions of racism and end the denial and deflections that is all to common. To those few who are conscious and proactively work towards it's irradication I applaude you. I encourage everyone to looking onYoutube and listen to Tim Wise on the subject of racism. One of the most outspoken person of european heritage that has spoken around the country. It is well worth understanding how this debilitating and harmful issue is destroying what many people here regard as home. What can you or better yet, what are you willing to do to bring people together, start discussion groups, join organizations or start your own to manifest a better country, world and planet.

1:14PM PDT on May 2, 2010

Gracias!

12:39PM PDT on May 2, 2010

Read

3:15PM PDT on May 1, 2010

Will you people get over yourselves and start learning to get along if your going to make it as a nation. The world is watching.

4:26PM PDT on Apr 30, 2010

I wonder how many of the attackers had ancestors who were attacked for being immigrants? Every generation it's a new ethnicity who becomes the target — often at the hands of those who come from families that were once the maligned...

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