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Have we really become this hateful?

Immigrant's killing shows tensions on Long Island.

PATCHOGUE, N.Y. – The flowers have wilted and the candles are burned out at a makeshift memorial where an immigrant from Ecuador was stabbed to death in what police say was a hate crime carried out by marauding teenagers.

Marcelo Lucero's death Nov. 8 has drawn the attention of officials in Ecuador and forced the Suffolk County executive, the co-founder of a national group against illegal immigration, to apologize for belittling the importance of the case.

Seven Patchogue-Medford High School students have been charged, one of them with murder. And the case has once again highlighted the extraordinary amount of tension between white Long Island residents and the booming Hispanic population.


Asked by Anonymous at 7:21 PM on Nov. 22, 2008 in Politics & Current Events

This question is closed.
Answers (12)
  • Quinn, I seriously don't think that they meant that "we" as in the posters, condone this violence. I would hope that none of us identify with these monsters. It is however a sad thing that people (some people) need nothing more than a thinly veiled nudge to initiate violent attacks against someone who is different in one way or another. It is a cycle that occurs over and over in history, simply hint or outright state that a certain minority is to blame for the economic downfall or moral decay of a country and all the loons pick up their sticks and attack whatever moves.


    Answer by hibicent at 12:16 AM on Nov. 24, 2008

  • Ecuador's ambassador to the United States, Luis Gallegos, described it as a lynching.

    A grand jury indictment and comments by police and prosecutors paint a picture of a group of bored high school students who regularly found enjoyment in what they called "beaner-jumping," a derogatory euphemism for attacking Hispanics.

    "To them, it was a sport," Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota said.

    The 37-year-old Lucero, who came to the U.S. 16 years ago and worked at a dry-cleaners, was with a friend Nov. 8 when they were surrounded near the Patchogue train station.

    Lucero's friend escaped but Lucero tried desperately to fight back, smacking one of the teens with his belt, authorities said. One of the boys, 17-year-old Jeffrey Conroy, is accused of plunging a knife into Lucero's chest before running away. The prosecutor says the other six were unaware of the stabbing until Conroy told them.


    Answer by Anonymous at 7:22 PM on Nov. 22, 2008

  • Conroy is scheduled to be arraigned Monday on second-degree murder as a hate crime, manslaughter and other charges. The others entered not guilty pleas Thursday to gang assault, conspiracy and attempted assault. Conroy faces 25 years to life and the others five to 25 years if convicted of the most serious charges.

    Attorneys for the seven insist their clients are innocent and several have denied suggestions the teens are bigots. But prosecutors said that a half-hour before Lucero's killing, the group attempted to accost another Hispanic man, and that two of the seven had attacked another man 18 hours earlier.

    According to Spota, one of the seven allegedly told police: "I don't go out doing this very often, maybe once a week."


    Answer by Anonymous at 7:23 PM on Nov. 22, 2008

  • Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy is a co-founder of Mayors and Executives for Immigration Reform, a national group against illegal immigration. He signed a local law requiring county contractors to prove that their employees are in the country legally, and after Lucero was killed, he initially suggested the media had blown the killing out of proportion because of his own view on immigration.

    He later apologized for his claim, saying: "It was the wrong thing to say because there could have been an appearance that we were indifferent to that terrible crime and that is the last thing in the world that I would want to do."

    Advocates say that harsh anti-immigration rhetoric by Levy and others created a climate that led to attacks on Hispanics. But Levy cited statistics claiming hate crimes in Suffolk County had gone down during his five years in office.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:24 PM on Nov. 22, 2008

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

    Two local men are serving long prison terms for attempted murder after luring two Mexican laborers to a warehouse in 2000 with the promise of work, only to beat them with shovels.

    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.

    Bonilla, the store owner, said some positive things have emerged from the killing. He said a community meeting with police, Patchogue village officials and others held in the wake of the killing helped clarify the situation.


    Answer by Anonymous at 7:24 PM on Nov. 22, 2008

  • It's despicable that this is going on. I have heard so much about this type of violence against Hispanics and it's sickening!


    Answer by hibicent at 7:46 PM on Nov. 22, 2008

  • It is a shame. I used to live 20 minutes from that town. i guess it has become more hateful than before. I think when elected officials spread this hateful messages it encourages some people to act on it. There are alot of racist ignorant people out there just waiting for someone to ignite the hate flame. It's disgusting.

    Answer by ny.chica at 1:07 AM on Nov. 23, 2008

  • Yes, we have.
    And right you are, NY.CHICA.

    Answer by CluelessCarrie at 9:53 AM on Nov. 23, 2008

  • I don't know who this 'WE' is that you speak of, but I don't condone physical violence toward anyone (with exception of death penalty of violent offenders). I do not identify with people that would commit this type of crime.


    Answer by QuinnMae at 11:11 AM on Nov. 23, 2008

  • It is sad that this country is in such a state and I feel for the family of the victim. We have lost old saying "do unto others as you would have done unto you". It is pretty scary actually. I think victims should be remembered. I just do not think that people should put up memorials on public property such as streets and highways. That is what Cemeteries are for. We shouldn't be forced to have morbid thoughts because someone has put a memorial along side the road or in a public place. I understand the need to grieve. Most people have lost loved ones. Can you imagine what it would look like if everyone put a memorial in the spot their loved one passed away?

    Answer by Goodthings at 12:49 AM on Nov. 24, 2008