Hispanic hate crime victims coaxed out of the shadows

Hispanic groups encouraged residents who have been victims of hate crimes to come forward at a special meeting in Patchogue Wednesday. Hispanics Across America opened space at the Congregational Church

News 12 Staff

Dec 4, 2008, 4:00 AM

Updated 5,706 days ago

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Hispanic groups encouraged residents who have been victims of hate crimes to come forward at a special meeting in Patchogue Wednesday.
Hispanics Across America opened space at the Congregational Church for victims to report crimes without fear of being asked about their immigration status. The group says Suffolk County has been under-reporting hate crimes against Hispanics and doesn?t do enough to encourage victims to come forward.
Cristobal Arriola says at least a dozen of his customers at the Patchogue restaurant Lempa have talked about being victims of a hate crime. Moreover, he says after the stabbing death of Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero in November, Hispanics in the area are even more afraid.
Dozens of Hispanics attended the meeting. Suffolk Police and the district attorney?s office interviewed anyone who was willing to file a report about past hate crimes.
Arriola says many victims do not report crimes because they don?t trust police. ?They got to make Spanish people trust them first, but church is a good place,? he says.
Marcelo Lucero?s brother, Joselo, attended the meeting to show his support for the Hispanic community.
?It's not only my brother?s life, it?s about many people?s,? Lucero says. ?It?s about stopping the hate and stopping the crimes.?
Following the meeting, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer issued a statement saying, ?Any information that comes forth tonight from anyone claiming to be the victim of a hate crime will be thoroughly and immediately investigated with the goal of ensuring that justice be served.?


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