Friday, January 16, 2009

DOJ Investigates Hate Crimes Against Latinos


by: Steven D

Wed Jan 14, 2009 at 17:32:13 PM EST

From Booman Tribune

When is a hate crime not a hate crime? Apparently when you are a Latino or Latina living in Suffolk County, Long Island. But that may be about to change. In the last days of the Bush administration suddenly the Department of Justice has decided to investigate the under-reporting of hate crimes against Latinos there, including what role local police played in actively ignoring such crimes.


Steven D :: DOJ Investigates Hate Crimes Against Latinos
The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating allegations of hate crimes on eastern Long Island and is considering a request to open a probe into how police and other authorities responded to reports Hispanics were targeted for attacks.

The Monday announcement by a Department of Justice spokesman follows the Nov. 8, 2008, stabbing death of an Ecuadorean immigrant in Patchogue.

Prosecutors say Marcelo Lucero, 37, was targeted by a marauding gang of teenagers because of his race.

One teen has been charged with murder as a hate crime, and six others are facing assault and other charges; all have pleaded not guilty.

Since Lucero's death, several Hispanics have claimed that they were afraid to report crimes to police because of questions about their immigration statuses or that when they did report attacks nothing was done.

Suffolk County police said after the Department of Justice announcement from Washington, D.C., that their hate crime statistics were "essentially the same" as those of neighboring counties and New York City.

"We welcome the DOJ looking into these incidents, many of which had not been reported until recently," police spokesman Tim Motz said. "Any further evidence that can be garnered to convict suspected wrongdoers would be welcomed."

Note to the curious: When your police spokeperson says his department welcomes an investigation into what that department has been doing (or not doing) rest assured he's lying through his Crest Stripped whitened teeth. No local law enforcement agency ever welcomes a federal investigation. And considering the history in Suffolk county I can understand why they are now in major damage control mode:

Animosity over the influx of thousands of immigrants from Central and South America has been simmering for nearly a decade on Long Island.

In 2001, two Mexican laborers were nearly killed by two men who lured them to a warehouse in Shirley with the promise of work and then beat them with shovels and other landscaping tools.

Two years later, a Mexican family's home in Farmingville was destroyed by teenagers who tossed fireworks through a window on the Fourth of July. [...]

At a community meeting in early December, several other Hispanics came forward to report they had been targeted for similar attacks.

Cesar Perales, president and general counsel of LatinoJustice, an advocacy group that requested Department of Justice intervention in Suffolk County, called Monday's announcement a good "first step."

"I can't overemphasize the importance of this," he said in a telephone interview. "This is akin to the Justice Department going into Mississippi in the civil rights era to investigate murders by the Ku Klux Klan."

He said Hispanic crime victims who have been afraid to go to authorities have instead turned to his organization.

With Bush in office, however, most police departments haven't had to worry that the DOJ would go looking around for failure to defend tyhe civil rights of minoritiy populations, since Bush officials at the DOJ have been too busy insuring that US Attorneys file phony criminal indictments against popular Democratic politicians and liberal voting activists, eroding the integrity of the Civil Rights division and helping ICE conduct mass raids against suspected "illegal aliens."

I guess with a new sheriff in DC all ready to take charge, some of the cases that had been back burnered for the last eight years suddenly are getting green lighted once again. Funny how that works, isn't it?

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