The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Former Cops Sentenced in Cover-Up of Immigrant’s Beating Death

By Ryan Lenz on June 2, 2011 - 8:51 am, Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Latino

Two former Pennsylvania police officers convicted of working to cover up the beating death of a Mexican immigrant more than two years ago – a hate crime that turned the nation’s attention to swelling violence against Latinos – have been sentenced to prison.

Former Shenandoah Police Chief Matthew Nestor on Wednesday was handed a prison sentence of 13 months for falsifying police reports, while former Lt. William Moyer, described by defense attorneys as “the Barney Fife of Shenandoah,” received a three-month sentence and 20 hours of community service for lying to the FBI.

“Americans rely on their law enforcement officials to protect public safety and serve justice,” said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. “But these officers chose to obstruct the very investigation they were charged with conducting.”

The charges stemmed from an investigation into the July 12, 2008, beating death of Luis Ramirez. A group of high school football players came across Ramirez, 25, who was walking in a park with a white girl, and started calling Ramirez a “fucking spic” and taunting him with threats. A fight erupted and the teens, some grasping chunks of metal to harden the impact of their punches, ganged up on Ramirez and beat him unconscious. Ramirez died several days later.

Prosecutors said Nestor and Moyer offered special consideration for the town’s favored sons and their parents in the investigation that followed. Moyer, for example, was accused of contacting one of the high school boy’s parents and instructing them to get rid of the sneakers their son wore on the night of the attack.

The Ramirez case was one of the first to draw national attention to hate crimes against Latinos, which rose 40% between 2003 and 2007, according to FBI hate crime statistics. An even more notorious case, the murder of Marcelo Lucero by teenagers in Suffolk County, N.Y., grabbed the attention of the nation four months after Ramirez was killed. The Southern Poverty Law Center later published a major report on the Suffolk murder.

  • cluley

    Go online and google police brutality and cases in which the police beat up on people. It’s rampant in our country today. In my state, Florida, alone, there are numerous accounts every week of old people being tazed, women being kicked while laying down, kids being beaten senseless on school grounds and in one case, an 80 year old man acquired a broken neck simply for being drunk. The police state is in full swing in America and the cops are NEVER wrong even when the crime is egregious. This is more of the same. If the American people do not do something about this NOW it is going to become to difficult to change or eradicate.

  • DLGeorge

    Trashy folks from a trashy crowd. White folks lying to protect their incompetence as parents. When these teenagers grow up (a possibility) and learn to regret the error of their ways, perhaps they can make amends. If they follow in the customary ways of their group, they will defend their practices. Live in shame, you little killers, knowing that our nation despises your actions. Your identities will surface, hopefully, and you will then have to face the consequences. Apologize now, ask for forgiveness, work for redemption, and don’t, please do now, hope that praying to your god or gods will have any effect on what you have done.

  • Sam Molloy

    ADM, you are absolutely right. However, all the different Latinos need to stick together like the different subgroups of the LBGT community against the common enemies of humanity that threaten us all.

  • neal walton

    this is a good police

  • ModerateMike

    This news is probably small solace to the family of Mr. Ramirez. That justice prevailed against the police officers involved in the cover-up is heartening and does the justice system credit, but I have so far not seen any indication that the level of animosity toward Latino immigrants (legal or otherwise) has abated. Luis Ramirez’s death will only be truly vindicated when people of any color can walk in public without fear, but today is not that day.

  • A.D.M.

    I know race isn’t real, Jonas. That’s why I put qoutation marks around the word.

  • Sam Molloy

    I’m betting they already served that time and they’re back wearing badges someplace.

  • Sam Molloy

    I’m encouraged that they got caught in their lies, but I don’t really think they should still be on any police force, anywhere.

  • Tacitus ibn Batutta Zhang

    Everybody (especially Cops) should read former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stampers (also co-founder of – Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) Book, “Breaking Rank”.
    It really touchs on the Issues that people who subscribe to SPLC Newsletters Love – and in a Very Good Way!!!
    Even Al Sharpton liked it.

  • Jonas Rand

    “Latinos are not a “race.” ” – no group is a “race”, but you’re correct that Latin Americans are diverse in origin and ethnicity. It is racist when members of a group (often with superficial characteristics that group them together), considered by racists to be a “race”, are discriminated against based on their supposed membership in this group. I know that sounds like a clumsy definition, so it may not be clear what I mean, but being labeled a “race” is not limited to “White” and “Black” people.

  • A.D.M.

    Latinos are not a “race.” If you visit any country in so-called “Latin America”, you’ll see blacks/African descendants (most Dominicans are of African descent), whites/Caucasians, Arabs, indigenous peoples, and so on. Those countries are just ethnically diverse as the United States.

  • Willie Salas

    This is the same type of racism that was directed towards Blacks in the South, the same hate mentality. The only difference is, this time the bigots are targeting Latinos.
    Some of these same hateful people claim to be Christian. What a joke!
    What would Jesus do?

  • James Hutchings

    Three months? You could get worse for growing marijuana.

  • Jonas Rand

    This rarely ever happens…state justice in the United States, and I’m glad it finally does, once in a while. A more typical case would be for the cops to have covered up the murder and for the participants in the racist coverup to have gotten away with no scrutiny whatsoever. Instead, the people our “justice” system thinks deserve time in prison are poor people, committing nonviolent offenses, and who often get longer sentences than murderer Johannes Mehserle (the BART cop who killed Oscar Grant). The victims of the “war on drugs” are often poor people of color, who get close to no government assistance whatsoever, and whose only safety net is now being eaten away by the wealthy ones at the top. But almost never prosecuted are the people who help make life hell for poor urban minorities.