Hispanics call for action after stabbing

November 11, 2008 3:26:08 PM PST
There are new calls for action Tuesday to protect minorities in one community on Long Island.It comes just days after Marcello Lucero was attacked and killed, apparently targeted because he was Hispanic.

About 75 members of the Hispanic community joined the Lucero family Tuesday, saying Marcello died from racial hatred. They say Suffolk County leaders need to know that hunting season on human beings will not be tolerated.

"I can't tell you how much I miss him already," brother Joselo Lucero said.

He says the entire community, no matter what color, lost his brother Marcello, a hard-working honest immigrant from Ecuador who moved here for a better life.

Seven high school kids are accused of attacking him and stabbing him in the chest Saturday night just because they wanted to harass a Hispanic.

Jeffrey Conroy is charged with first-degree manslaughter. The other six face gang assault charges.

"It could've happened to any of us," said Fernando Mateo, president of Hispanics Across America. "We could've been the one."

The Hispanic community blames not only the seven high school boys, but also their parents.

"Those that hate us allow us to cut their lawns, build their homes, paint their homes, cook for them, serve their children," Mateo said. "Yet they teach them hate."

Ramirez also points his finger at Suffolk County leaders, saying there's a history of some being anti-immigrant, and at a strained relationship with Hispanics community-wide.

But Suffolk County police denounce that allegation, saying hate crimes are investigated aggressively and the numbers back that up.

In 2004, they say there were 16 hate crimes against Hispanics reported in Suffolk County. In 2005, they say that number went down to six. In 2006, they say remained the same, then dropped to one in 2007. They say the incident Saturday was the second in 2008.

But even with a dramatic decline in such hate crimes, those rallying for justice say the numbers only show people are more afraid to ask for help and are made to feel immigration is a crime.

The mayor of Patchogue announced a news conference to be held Wednesday morning with other community leaders regarding this alleged hate crime.


STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Emily Smith

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