Hate Crime Stabbing Victim’s Estate Sues L.I. Authorities

New York Post, November 22, 2010

The estate of an Ecuadorean immigrant filed a $40 million civil rights lawsuit Monday that blames police inaction over prior violence for the man’s stabbing death during a confrontation with a mob of teens who had made a sport of targeting Hispanics.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn against county and municipal governments and numerous officials who work for them.

Marcelo Lucero, a 37-year-old dry cleaning worker, was walking with a friend near the Patchogue Long Island Rail Road station around midnight in November 2008 when a group of seven teenagers confronted them. During the ensuing brawl, Lucero and his friend were peppered with ethnic slurs and one of the teens fatally stabbed Lucero in the chest.

The killing focused attention on Suffolk County, which has seen an influx of immigrants from Central and South America in the past decade, and prompted a U.S. Justice Department investigation into the way police respond to bias attacks in the community. {snip}

The seven teens were convicted of hate crime-related charges. The teen who actually stabbed Lucero was convicted of manslaughter and was given a 25-year sentence; the others are serving lesser sentences. Most of the seven also admitted participating in prior attacks on Hispanics, including two earlier on the day Lucero was killed.

Fernando Mateo, leader of Hispanics Across America and a spokesman for the Lucero family, said police and political inaction contributed to an atmosphere where the teens felt they could attack immigrants with impunity.

{snip}

Advocates also have claimed harsh anti-immigration rhetoric by Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy and others created an inflammatory climate.

{snip}

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