Guardian Angels patrolling Patchogue

December 8, 2008 8:23:42 PM PST
The controversial Guardian Angels are jumping into the fray on Long Island Monday. The group is patrolling the streets of Patchogue following a rash of racially-motivated attacks, including one that left an Ecuadorian man dead and seven high school students charged in his murder. A spokesman for the group promised the volunteer patrols will be on the lookout for potentially violent situations. The Angels were invited to Patchogue by the activist group Hispanics Across America.

Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa spoke at a news conference Monday, saying the the patrols will serve as a "visual deterrence" to criminals, quelling conflicts and making citizen arrests.

Sliwa said he was alarmed by the murder of Marcelo Lucero in November and wanted to ensure the safety of all residents.

Hispanics across America president Fernando Mateo said the Guardian Angels will be a "defense mechanism" against attacks.

According to Newsday, residents had mixed feelings about the Angels presence. Some said they welcomed the additional eyes and ears on the streets, but others shook their heads skeptically at what appeared to be a display intended for television cameras.

"We could always use the extra safety, and there is a lot of prejudice in Patchogue," retired postal worker Manuel Roman told the newspaper.

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