Friday, July 19, 2024

Long Island Man Convicted in Hate Crime against Latino Immigrant

As previously reported in La Plaza, Long Island native Jeffery Conroy was on trial for the death of Marcelo Lucero, a 37-year-old native of Ecuador who was fatally stabbed in Patchogue, New York in 2008.

On Monday, Conroy was found guilty of gang assault and conspiracy as well as of assaulting three other Latino men on Long Island.

The victim’s mother Maria Rosario Lucero told reporters, “He will live prisoner in his conscience for what he did. May God forgive him for the acts he committed.”

Conroy and six friends in 2008 targeted Latinos for assaults in a sport that they called “beaner-hopping”.

Ecuadorian government representatives said they would have preferred a conviction for murder in the second degree. Pablo Calle, the New York spokesman for the Ecuadorian National Secretariat of Migrants said, “We are not satisfied with the decision. There is no happy ending in a situation like this.”

Walter Sinche, executive director of the International Ecuadorian Alliance called the verdict “a green light to hate crimes”.

Conroy’s manslaughter in the first degree carries a sentence of eight years to 25 years. Sentencing is set for May 26th and an appeal is planned.

The Southern Poverty Law Center released a recent report that found that Latinos in Suffolk County have lived in an environment of intolerance and violence directed at them. The atmosphere of intolerance was brought on by anti-immigrant groups and some county leaders.

After Lucero’s death the law center researched Suffolk County and conducted interviews with more than 70 Latino immigrants, 30 local religious leaders and other community leaders. The law center said it found a pattern of ethnic intolerance going back 10 years.

The report said that harassment of Latinos in Suffolk County is common. Latino residents riding bikes have been run off the road, and others have been beaten with baseball bats or shot at with BB guns.

The report states “They are regularly taunted, spit upon and pelted with apples, full soda cans, beer bottles and other projectiles.”