Staten Island Hate Crime Victim Speaks Out
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
In Staten Island, police have made one arrest and are expected to make another shortly for last weekend's assault on an 18-year-old high schooler who was heading home from his job busing tables early last Saturday morning.
The NYPD says that the suspect they've apprehended is 15 and is facing charges of second degree robbery, which includes assault and aggravated harassment as a hate crime. Earlier reports of the incident showed four or five people attacked the victim, beating him, robbing him and yelling anti-Mexican slurs. After the incident, police deployed a 15-person hate crime task force in the area, including two portable SkyWatch towers to conduct surveillance. The NYPD has also sent officers of Mexican descent to the Port Richmond neighborhood where the assault took place.
The brutal hate crime may be the beginning of a trend. Police have described the incident as the tenth hate crime against Hispanics on Staten Island since April.
New York City lawmakers say they'll implement better lighting, more security cameras and an advertising campaign called "I am Staten Island" to address the borough's spike in bias crimes. Council Speaker Christine Quinn has also said that the city council will push for more diversity training in local schools and communities.
In the meantime, some victims are telling their stories, in the hopes that speaking out will help educate the community about the rise in hate crimes so community members can organize against them. WNYC's Soterios Johnson speaks to the victim of last weekend's brutal beating in Staten Island, Hispanic teenager Christian Vazquez, about the assault and how he's recovering. Vazquez, who was treated for injuries and released after the incident, volunteers with the group Eye Openers, which seeks to combat prejudice.