Groups demand upgraded charges in immigrant's death
Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota met Thursday with civil rights activists demanding the suspects in the death of an Ecuadorian immigrant face more serious charges.
Seven teens from Patchogue-Medford High School are charged in the death of Marcelo Lucero. Police say the teens targeted Lucero in Patchogue last weekend and attacked him. Officials are calling it a hate crime. All are charged with aggravated assault, with an additional manslaughter charge for Jeffrey Conroy, who police say stabbed Lucero in the chest with a knife.
?Aggravated assault is not acceptable,? Fernando Mateo, of Hispanics Across America says. ?Aggravated assault is a slap [on] the arm.?
Lucero?s death sparked outrage in Patchogue and throughout Long Island, but it is not the only incident marked by racial tension to happen this week. On Wednesday, KKK fliers were found on cars in Islip and in Mastic, 40 cars were vandalized with racist graffiti.
Members of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) are voicing their concerns as well, particularly about the incident in Mastic. The organization says Suffolk politicians and police must act. ?We are talking three despicable acts,? says NOBLE?s Corey Pegues. ?This is just going to fester and it?s just going to get bigger.? Some are blaming Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy for his stance against illegal immigrants. Levy, however, has denounced the alleged hate crime.
Spota did not offer a comment on whether the suspects would face upgraded charges.