You may recall the case of Marcelo Lucero, who was beaten to death in Patchogue, NY, by a group of teens out “beaner hopping” – slang they used for hunting down and assaulting Latino residents. The brutal murder of Marcelo Lucero in 2008 sent shock waves through Long Island and across the country.
But Marcelo’s murder was hardly an isolated incident in Suffolk County.
The U.S. Justice Department and Sothern Poverty Law Center later uncovered a toxic environment in Suffolk County. Latinos were being beaten with baseball bats, run off the road, pepper-sprayed, and even shot with BB guns.
Still, County Executive Steve Levy consistently denied the connection between Marcelo’s attack and the the anti-immigrant atmosphere in Suffolk.
Thousands of people spoke out to demand justice, and Suffolk Country was compelled to create a special task force to provide the public information about hate crimes and Lucero’s case.