LatinoJustice PRLDEF Calls Upon US Attorney to Investigate the Killing of Marcello Lucero
November 9, 2008
Contact: John Garcia, Director of Communications (212) 739-7513
LatinoJustice PRLDEF has called upon the Department of Justice to commence an independent investigation into the killing of Marcello Lucero on November 8. Lucero was killed in Patchogue, Long Island after being attacked by seven men.
LatinoJustice PRLDEF has asked the United States Attorney for Eastern New York to determine whether Lucero’s civil rights were violated and to ensure that the perpetrators are fully prosecuted.
LatinoJustice PRLDEF is concerned that the charges currently lodged against the seven perpetrators - first-degree gang assault charges with one person being charged with first-degree manslaughter as a hate crime - are not commensurate with the severity of the attack and what led up to it. More serious charges, presumably murder in the second degree, would seem appropriate.
The failure to pursue the most serious charges against those involved in the killing of Marcello Lucero appears to be consistent with Suffolk County’s recent history with regard to the protection of its immigrant population.
“We are not confident that this crime will be prosecuted by local law enforcement officials in a manner we believe will bring justice to the victim and his family,” said Cesar Perales, President and General Counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF. “We ask that the US Attorney bring federal charges where appropriate and ensure local law enforcement prosecution.”
Perales pointed out that the attack against Lucero occurred only a few miles from Farmingville which first gained attention when two men abducted a pair of Mexican day laborers and tried to beat them to death. Five students later burned down the house of another Latino family, whose sleeping occupants barely escaped.
Hate crimes against Latinos are on the rise across the United States.
In 2007, local police reported to the FBI that there were 830 victims of anti-Hispanic crimes in 595 incidents around the nation. Both of these numbers represent increases over the previous year and surpass previous highs dating back to when annual reports were first mandated by the Hate Crimes Statistics Act. In 2007, Hispanics comprised 61.7 percent of victims of crimes motivated by a bias toward the victims’ ethnicity or national origin. In 2004, the comparable figure was 51.5 percent.