The November 2008 murder of Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero is the best-known recent act of hate-crime violence against a Latino in Suffolk County, N.Y., but it is far from the only one. For at least a decade, as this timeline reflects, Latinos in this populous Long Island county have been the victims of hate crimes and racist harassment. Anti-immigrant groups have disparaged and protested against them. Elected officials, notably current County Executive Steve Levy, have treated them with hostility. Aggravating matters has been a police response that immigrants say is often indifferent or worse. Many of these incidents were reported by The New York Times, the Long Island newspaper Newsday, or the advocacy group Workplace Project; others were unearthed by researchers for the Southern Poverty Law Center. When an attack on Latinos described in the text below is derived from only a single source, that source is identified at the end of the entry.

Feb. 7
The anti-immigrant group Sachem Quality of Life (SQL) holds a meeting attended by two leading officials, Rick Oltman and Jim Staudenraus, of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). (The Southern Poverty Law Center began listing FAIR as a hate group in 2007.) Oltman tells the assembled that if they don’t stop the Mexican immigrants, “Farmingville will start to look like Tijuana.” (SQL President Margaret Bianculli-Dyber, a teacher in the New York City public school system, started the group in 1998; she did so, she said, because her daughter was frightened when five Latino men solicited her for sex in front of the family’s home. SQL will work closely over the years with FAIR and with Glenn Spencer’s American Patrol, a much smaller anti-immigrant hate group.)

April 20
SQL fails in its first effort to gain passage of a bill to prohibit seeking employment on a public street.

A car swerves into a Mexican construction worker bicycling home from his job, knocking him to the ground. Two young men climb out of the car and beat the man with a baseball bat while calling him “spic” and “wetback.” The victim suffers serious injuries. A police report is reportedly filed, but no arrests result. (The Workplace Project)

SQL successfully lobbies the town of Brookhaven to pass a “Neighborhood Preservation Act” that limits the number of people occupying rental homes. The next year, a similar bill sponsored by Suffolk County Legislator Joseph Caracappa is passed for the entire county.

July 24
About 100 Farmingville residents, including members of SQL, protest day laborers.

Aug. 18
SQL protests at a Farmingville house occupied by Mexican men, claiming that 20 people live in the home (authorities put the number at 10). SQL member Talin Menniti gives the Farmingville government a list of 40 other dwellings she claims are dangerously crowded with undocumented immigrants.

Sept. 14
The County Legislature passes a resolution requesting that the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service “aggressively enforce the federal deportation laws.”

A construction worker from Honduras is assaulted by a group of teenagers in Farmingville. The attack is unprovoked and comes from behind. The victim’s nose is broken and he is knocked unconscious. No one is arrested. (The Workplace Project)

A Mexican construction worker is severely beaten by his employer and several of his employers’ friends after the job he is working on is not completed. The victim reportedly files a complaint with the police, but is told that his employer had called and complained that the victim had sexually assaulted his wife. That same month, the Brookhaven Town Council enacts an ordinance aimed at day laborers that limits occupancy rates in rental housing. (The Workplace Project)

A Farmingville home rented to several Mexican day laborers is riddled with bullets. Residents are said to report the make and model of the shooter’s car to police, but no arrests occur. (The Workplace Project)

A group of teens attacks a group of immigrant workers walking on a road in Farmingville, demanding that the workers buy them beer. The workers refuse, and the teens then throw rocks at them while shouting ethnic slurs. The teens follow the men to their home and throw rocks at their house, breaking windows. Seven youths are arrested by the Bias Crimes Bureau of the Suffolk County Police. (The Workplace Project)

Aug. 26
SQL spokesman Ray Wysolmierski, pressing for a plan to have the County Legislature sue the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to force it to remove undocumented immigrants, is quoted saying, “I might as well be in France during the occupation of the Nazis. … It is an invasion followed by an occupation.”

Aug. 31
The County Legislature narrowly rejects the proposal that the county file suit to force the INS to take action. That same day, Wysolmierski is quoted as saying, “We’d rather have 10 tanks on the street than 400 illegals.”

Sept. 16
SQL members protest in front of the home of Paul Tonna, the presiding officer of the Suffolk County Legislature. Carrying signs reading “traitor,” the protesters are angry at Tonna’s Aug. 31 vote against the proposal to have the county sue the INS. Tonna calls the group “misguided.”

Sept. 17
Ryan Wagner and Christopher Slavin lure two Mexican day laborers, Israel Pérez and Magdaleno Estrada Escamilla, to an abandoned building in Shirley with a promise of work. The two white men attack them with a crowbar, shovel and knife, though Perez and Escamilla manage to escape. In a December court hearing, Wagner states that he wanted to beat someone up after a long night of alcohol and drugs left him angry. In January 2002, Wagner is given a 15-year sentence for the attack and Slavin is sentenced to 25 years.

Sept. 19
The SQL’s Wysolmierski comments on the Perez and Estrada attack: “This was inevitably going to happen whether [SQL] existed or not. … As far as I’m concerned, they’re all criminals.”

Sept. 22
A new group, Brookhaven Citizens for Peaceful Solutions (BCPS), holds a press conference to call for reduced tension over immigrant issues in Farmingville. The group hands out fliers advocating tolerance near a site where SQL members routinely protest day laborers. The group was formed by community and church leaders in the wake of the attacks on Pérez and Estrada. SQL’s Wysolmierski comments, “The peace they’re talking about will wind up being capitulation.”

Oct. 14
Glenn Spencer, head of the antiimmigrant hate group American Patrol, speaks at an SQL meeting in Centereach, a community near Farmingville. American Patrol is a racist organization that endorses anti-Latino conspiracy theories.

Oct. 15
Margaret Bianculli-Dyber, president of SQL, is arrested and charged with trespassing and resisting arrest after showing up at a Farmingville location where immigrants had gathered to be bused to a candlelight rally.

Dec. 2
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service, which was established during the civil rights era to help communities suffering from racial strife, intervenes in the wake of the September attack on Perez and Escamilla and tries to help the county government develop solutions for the growing tensions in the community.

Franco Carmero is attacked in Patchogue by about a dozen white teens. They throw him to the ground, hit him with a baseball bat and break two teeth. Carmero reports that when police arrive, they simply tell everyone to go home. (The New York Times, Jan. 9, 2009)

April 4
A bill to create a day laborer community center in Farmingville is vetoed by County Executive Robert Gaffney, a Republican. By 2003, however, members of SQL will be picketing Gaffney’s house most Saturdays after he fails to satisfy their demand that police be given INS-type powers to detain undocumented workers.

July 2-3
A strategy session is held on Long Island by civil rights groups to counter rising anti-immigrant sentiment. As a result, the Long Island Immigrant Alliance is created.

Aug. 3
Seventeen organizations participating in the Immigrant Alliance hold a press conference denouncing a meeting scheduled for that weekend by SQL. The event will bring prominent anti-immigrant hate group leaders to Farmingville.

Aug. 4-5
SQL holds a sympos ium i n Farmingville. A featured speaker is American Patrol’s Glenn Spencer, who tells his audience that the long-term plan of Latino immigrants is “to return the Southwest, especially California, to the jurisdiction of Mexico without firing a single shot. … They will tell you they are here to work, but they are here to recapture what is theirs.” Jim Staudenraus of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) also speaks.

Aug. 28
According to Newsday, at a public hearing on a bill to penalize contractors who hire undocumented workers, County Legislator Michael D’Andre of Smithtown says that if his hometown ever sees an influx of Latino day laborers such as the one in Farmingville, “We’ll be up in arms; we’ll be out with baseball bats.”

Sept. 27
Israel Pérez and Magdaleno Estrada Escamilla, the day laborers attacked in 2000, file a federal civil rights lawsuit seeking $66 million in damages from their attackers, Ryan Wagner and Christopher Slavin. Also named in the suit are SQL and several hate groups.

Dec. 10
SQL files for sanctions against the lawyer representing Pérez and Estrada. SQL says the complaint seeking damages is “based on frivolous accusations accusing it of complicity in violent attacks on the plaintiffs, two Mexican day laborers.”

Sept. 6-8
SQL hosts its Second National Congress on Immigration Reform. Speakers include Jared Taylor, head of the white nationalist group American Renaissance and a man who says blacks are incapable of sustaining civilization; Barbara Coe, leader of the anti-immigrant hate group California Coalition for Immigration Reform (and later member of the racist Council of Conservative Citizens); and Linda Purdue of NumbersUSA, an antiimmigration lobbying group. In a write-up of the conference in her newsletter 9*1*1, Coe talks about a “frightening” visit to see day laborers in Farmingville: “They urinate, defecate, and make sexual overtures to women.”

Sept. 10
SQL is dropped as a defendant in the lawsuit brought on behalf of day laborers Pérez and Estrada.

April 22
Founder Margaret Bianculli-Dyber and hardliner spokesman Ray Wysolmierski quit SQL and refuse to turn over its financial records and membership list, beginning the process of the group’s disintegration. Remaining members elect Ed Person of Babylon president. In the months leading up to SQL’s final collapse, County Executive Robert Gaffney declares that he will no longer meet with them because they are not a legitimate civic group.

May 31
What’s left of SQL holds a conference in Medford featuring conspiracy-mongering Chris Simcox, then head of the border militia Civil Homeland Defense, based in Tombstone, Ariz. Simcox, who would go on to co-found the Minuteman Project in 2005, speaks while wearing a bulletproof vest and tells the audience that the United States “is being held hostage by its neighbor to the South.” The conference is billed as a farewell to SQL founder Bianculli-Dyber, but she does not attend.

July 5
Five teenagers use a Fourth of July fireworks rocket to set fire to a house occupied by a Mexican family in Farmingville. A prosecutor says they attacked the home simply because “Mexicans lived there.” Four of the teens are charged with reckless endangerment as a hate crime and are later found guilty. Ray Wysolmierski, the former SQL spokesman, tells reporters that the Mexican family is at fault for the fire. “The truth is they have invaded,” he says. “The truth is they are terrorists, low-level terrorists, but terrorists nonetheless.”

July 12
Alejandro Castillo, 64, an immigrant from Ecuador, is kicked repeatedly in the head by four teens who demand his green card. Castillo has plates put in his skull after the attack. Castillo says he reports the incident to the police, but no one is charged. (New York Times, Jan. 8, 2009)

Nov. 4
Anti-immigrant hardliner Steve Levy, a Democrat, is elected as Suffolk County’s executive.

June 7
The first screening of the documentary “Farmingville,” about the attacks on Israel Pérez and Magdaleno Estrada Escamilla and featuring SQL founder Margaret Bianculli-Dyber, is held at the Sachem Public Library in Holbrook. An anti-immigrant protest takes place outside.

Nov. 29
Steve Levy, the new county executive, proposes that some county police officers be given the power to detain for possible deportation any undocumented immigrant detained on other charges. Levy’s proposal is met by objections from the police unions, who argue that it would compromise public safety by making immigrants uncooperative and wary of any dealings with police.

April 18

While driving in Montauk, Luis Ochoa, the president of Solidaridad Latino Americana (Latin American Solidarity), an advocacy group, is run off the road by Mark Dombrowski, a former firefighter, who then pulls Ochoa out of the car and beats him while shouting ethnic slurs, according to police reports. In May, Dombrowski is charged with thirddegree assault as a hate crime, a felony carrying a maximum fouryear prison term. The case is later dismissed after prosecutors conclude that the assault did not cause injuries severe enough to warrant a felony prosecution. (Newsday, Nov. 11, 2005)

June 20
Police in Farmingville raid 11 houses and evict about 200 tenants, all of whom are Latino day laborers and their family members. The police cite overcrowding and health and safety code violations. The evicted tenants are locked out and not permitted to collect their possessions, and Suffolk officials do not provide them with resources to find other housing. County Executive Levy warns that 123 other homes in Farmingville face similar raids. After the raids, Levy refuses to meet with immigrant rights activists, saying, “I’m not one who’s going to be intimidated by their antics or marches. Bring it on.” In December 2005, a federal court rules that the town’s actions were illegal.

Summer 2005
Jacinto Jaramillo and his landlord are attacked by a handful of teens who say they “don’t like Spanish guys.” Jaramillo says he did not call the police because they had ignored an earlier anti-Latino attack he had witnessed and reported. Two years later, Jaramillo, while riding a bicycle, is attacked by a group of teens who shout obscenities and ethnic slurs and throw an empty beer bottle at him. He says he does not report this incident either because of his prior experiences. (The New York Times, Jan. 9, 2009)

June 27
County executive Levy derides people demonstrating against him in support of Farmingville’s undocumented workers. “I will not back down to this one percent lunatic fringe,” he says. “They evidently do not like me much because I am one of the few officials who are not intimidated by their politically correct histrionics.” A year later, Levy says in a forum at the Lindenhurst Library that women crossing the border to give birth here “free of charge” are having “anchor babies” and claims that Southampton Hospital is closing its maternity ward because of the births. The maternity ward does not close.

July 12
A 61-year-old Ecuadorian immigrant is badly beaten in Patchogue by three white men as he pushes a shopping cart through the streets collecting cans. Before the attack, the man is asked if he has a green card. “Then they started pummeling him,” Suffolk County Hate Crimes Detective Robert Reecks tells reporters. The man, whose name is not made public, suffers a broken eye socket and facial bruises. (Newsday, July 27, 2005)

July 16
Matthew J. Lindstadt and James Stern are charged with aggravated assault and a hate crime after yelling ethnic slurs and throwing a beer bottle at a Latino man in Farmingville. (The New York Times, July 17, 2005)

Aug. 26
Former SQL spokesman Wysolmierski, now head of the anti-immigrant Greater Farmingville Community Association, endorses Robert DiCarlo of Brookhaven for the office of supervisor. DiCarlo and Wysolmierski appear jointly in front of a Farmingville home that was recently raided by officials and Wysolmierski says, “These are illegal aliens who should not be there.” He adds that DiCarlo has the attitude “needed in this war against this psychological terrorism of political correctness.” DiCarlo is defeated and loses another local race in 2007.

Feb. 27
County Executive Levy co-founds an organization called Mayors and Executives for Immigration Reform. Levy brands critics of his organization extremists, calling one immigrant rights group, the Workplace Project, a den of “Communists” and “anarchists,” according to The New York Times.

March 6
Mayor s and Execut ives for Immigration Reform holds its first conference in Washington, D.C. Invited to speak are representatives of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the Center for Immigration Studies, which started out as a part of FAIR. Levy tells the assembly that the federal government “aids and abets” employers who hire undocumented workers.

April 29
Three Latino teenagers are lured into a shed in East Hampton by a neo-Nazi skinhead teenager and then threatened and terrorized with a chainsaw and a machete. The victims are held for 90 minutes while the skinhead and his friends yell racial slurs, including “White power!” and “Heil Hitler!” “This is how you run across the border,” one of the skinheads shouts as he chases the Latino youths around with the running chainsaw. The skinhead is later charged as a juvenile with reckless endangerment and menacing. (The New York Times, Oct. 23, 2006)

May 4
Jonathan Cedillo, who is of Mexican and Native American ancestry, is attacked while having lunch in Southampton Village by cab driver Robert Rossetti. Rossetti slaps Cedillo’s sandwich from his hand while calling him derogatory racial names. Rossetti then allegedly rams his taxi into Cedillo, whose right knee is injured. “He was cursing at me, telling me I’m an immigrant and to get out of this country,” Cedillo tells reporters. Rossetti is later convicted of misdemeanor aggravated harassment. (The Associated Press, May 6, 2006)

June 12
Two Mexican men fishing at a jetty in Rocky Point are asked for their green cards, then beaten and robbed by four teens. The teens punch and kick the men, take their money and accuse them of stealing jobs from U.S. citizens. All four are charged with felony robbery and assault as hate crimes. Daniel Sturgis eventually pleads guilty to thirddegree assault as a hate crime and second-degree robbery and is sentenced to two years in state prison. Nicholas Provenzano is convicted of charges related to the attack, but his sentencing is deferred. The two others are charged as juveniles. (The Associated Press, June 15, 2006)

Aug. 8
Suffolk County lawmakers pass a bill to penalize businesses that receive funding from the county and employ undocumented workers.

Sept. 10
Thomas Nicotra and Kenneth Porter stab Carlos Rivera, a construction worker from Honduras, multiple times outside a bar in Hampton Bays, yelling racial epithets during the attack. Nicotra and Porter, who witnesses say also yelled racial slurs at patrons a night earlier, are charged with felony robbery and assault with hate crime enhancements. Porter is sentenced to one year in jail after testifying against Nicotra. Nicotra pleads guilty and is sentenced to nine years for assault and robbery.

Feb. 28
At a public hearing on proposed legislation, County Legislator Jack Eddington of Brookhaven singles out two speakers asking for Spanish translators and demands to know if they are legally in the country. According to The New York Times, Eddington also warns undocumented immigrants, “You better beware” and “Suffolk County residents will not be victimized anymore.”

March 6
According to Newsday, County Legislator Elie Mystal of Amityville says of Latino laborers gathering for work, “If I’m living in a neighborhood and people are gathering like that, I would load my gun and start shooting, period. Nobody will say it, but I’m going to say it.”

March 20
A bill that would forbid people to obstruct or loiter along county roads, clearly aimed at the day laborers, is defeated in the county legislature. It was sponsored by legislators Jack Eddington and Joseph T. Caracappa.

April 3
Ecuadorian immigrant Juan Campoverde calls 911 to report that a group of teenage boys on bikes surrounded him and that one hit him hard enough to break his nose. When Campoverde spots one of his attackers a few days later, an officer reportedly tells him that he can’t arrest him because he is a minor. (New York Times, Jan. 8, 2009)

July 14
Four young men ranging in age from 15 to 21 attack Carlos Angamarca, an immigrant from Ecuador who had lived in the U.S. for 13 years, and a friend, Luis Sanango. Both men are hit from behind while walking down a street. Angamarca escapes while the attackers continue to beat his friend. As lights come on in houses on the block, the attackers flee. When Angamarca goes to the police station to report the attack, he says an officer asks him why he didn’t stay in his own country. (The New York Times, Jan. 9, 2009)

Sept. 22
More than a dozen teens throw rocks, sticks and logs at Sergio Yanza’s house in Patchogue as he and others sit on the porch. The teens also shout disparaging remarks about “Spanish” people. Yanza is hit in the back of the head with a rock and suffers a cut requiring eight stitches. (The New York Times, Jan. 9, 2009)

Sept. 23
Kevin Shea, who is later implicated in the 2008 murder of Marcelo Lucero, allegedly attacks a Latino man, Luis Piña Tigre, in Patchogue. (Newsday, Jan. 29, 2009)

Dec. 2
Jeffrey Conroy, Jordan Dasch, and José Pacheco, all later implicated in the Lucero case, allegedly attack a Latino man, José Hernández, in Patchogue. A week later in Patchogue, Hernández is again assaulted, this time allegedly by Conroy, Pacheco and Anthony Hartford. (Newsday, Jan. 29, 2009)


Javier Monroy, 56, is attacked in the parking lot of a pharmacy in Farmingville early one morning. He says he remembers hearing a door slam, then being struck so hard on the head from behind that he is knocked nearly unconscious. He says he is hit at least 10 times by something harder than a fist. The attackers steal his wallet. He spends five days in a hospital. (SPLC)

March 17
Anthony Hartford, later implicated in the Lucero murder, allegedly attacks a Latino man, Javier González, in Patchogue. (Newsday, Jan. 29, 2009)

June 24
Jeffrey Conroy allegedly attacks a Latino man, Robert Zumba, in Patchogue. (Newsday, Jan. 29, 2009)

Two Ecuadorian men, Carlos Bonegas and Carlos Chuchuca, are attacked by a group of teenagers around midnight in Patchogue. Bonegas is punched in the lip and Chuchuca kicked in the face. (The New York Times, Jan. 8, 2009)

July 11
Mauro López, an Ecuadorian immigrant who has lived in the U.S. for eight years, is attacked in Patchogue by six teens while walking home on a dark street. The teens spray his eyes with a stinging chemical and kick him and hit him with bats, breaking his nose and two teeth. They rip off López’ clothes and rob him. (The New York Times, Jan. 8, 2009)

July 14
While walking home in the dark in Patchogue, Carlos Orellana is attacked by about a dozen teenage boys on bikes. They hit him on the back of the head and knock him to the ground while shouting racial slurs. After Lucero’s murder, Conroy and Pacheco are charged in connection with the attack on Orellana. (The New York Times, Jan. 8, 2009)

A group of white teenagers walks by the house of a Latino immigrant in Farmingville while his neighbor’s children, who are also Latino, play outside. The “Americanos” enter his neighbor’s yard and break all of the toys as the children watch. A few nights later, on Halloween, houses occupied by Latinos are egged and dirt is thrown on cars in their driveways. (SPLC)

Oct. 3
Orlando, a 23-year-old immigrant from Guatemala, and a few friends are hold ing a low-key birthday party around a barbecue when a drunken neighbor approaches, complaining about music and smoke from the grill. The man begins yelling racial epithets and hits Orlando and a friend over the head with a flashlight. Orlando says he and his friend both sustain head wounds and need medical treatment. Police ask if he wants to file charges, but Orlando declines, saying he doesn’t want to cause more trouble. (SPLC)

Oct. 8
Conroy and Christopher Overton, another teenager later implicated in the Lucero murder, allegedly attack a Latino man, Joaquín Gutiérrez, in Patchogue. (Newsday, Jan. 29, 2009)

Oct. 29
Queens native Francisco Hernández is confronted while shopping in Patchogue by a man saying, “You better get out of here. You don’t belong in this country.” The man grabs Hernández and cuts his neck slightly with a knife. The shop owner calls the police, who reportedly ask him if Hernández is in the country legally. The police report omits the perpetrator’s alleged ethnic slurs and categorizes the crime as criminal mischief, not a bias crime. On Nov. 16, Hernández experiences a second bias incident. After Marcelo Lucero’s murder, Hernández puts up lawn signs at his home urging unity. The next day he finds them defaced with swastikas. The police officer who responds to the incident reportedly asks Hernández if he is in the country legally and tells him that he provokes people with the signs. Hernández alleges that the officer puts the signs in his car and when Hernández asks to photograph them, he is told, “You can’t take pictures — it’ll be all over the news, and we don’t want that with everything that’s going on.” (The New York Times, Jan. 9, 2009)

Late October
Carlos Gerardo Morales is attacked near the Patchogue train station by four youths spouting ethnic slurs. Morales ignores them, but the boys continue to follow him while displaying belts and chains. Morales hides in a restaurant. (The New York Times, Jan. 8, 2009)

Nov. 3
Jeffrey Conroy, Anthony Hartford, José Pacheco, and Kevin Shea, all later charged in connection with the Lucero murder, allegedly attack a Latino man, Octavio Cordovo, in Patchogue. (Newsday, Jan. 29, 2009)

Nov. 8
Marcelo Lucero, a 37-year-old Ecuadorian immigrant, is stabbed to death, allegedly by a gang of seven teens called the Caucasian Crew in Patchogue. Jeffrey Conroy, who allegedly did the stabbing, is charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime as well as gang assault charges. The other six — Jordan Dasch, Anthony Hartford, Nicholas Hausch, Christopher Overton, Jose Pacheco and Kevin Shea — are charged with gang assault charges. All seven plead not guilty. Hausch and Dasch later say they went “beaner-hopping” earlier in the day; Hausch allegedly aimed a BB gun and hit a Latino man in a driveway in Patchogue. Meanwhile, Dasch, Hartford, and Hausch allegedly attacked Petronila Fuentes Díaz in Patchogue. Also attacked that day, allegedly by some of the same teens, are Angel Luja, Marlon Garcia and Hector Sierra. Sierra tells reporters that he was walking down a street when the teens jumped out of their car and surrounded him.

Nov. 11
County Executive Steve Levy tells reporters that the Lucero case is being blown out of proportion simply because of his hard-line antiimmigrant positions. If Lucero had died in neighboring Nassau County, Levy says, “It would be a one-day story. … You wouldn’t have all of the side stories trying to link motive to county policy.” Levy adds: “There are hate crimes in other areas that don’t get one scintilla of the same kind of coverage in Suffolk County.” The chairman of the county Hispanic Advisory Board, Alexander Gutiérrez disagrees, saying Latinos have “every reason to be scared” because the county is “one of the more racist counties around.”

Nov. 23
Aníbal, a 22-year-old immigrant from Mexico, says he is attacked by his employer when he shows up 30 minutes late for a flooring job. His boss starts punching him as soon as Aníbal steps out of his car at the job site, breaking his nose. (SPLC)

Nov. 25
César A. Perales, president and general counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF, asks the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York to investigate bias incidents in Suffolk County; he also requests that the agencies undertake remedial action. The same day, Carlos Bonegas and Luis Bichu, leaving a Chinese restaurant in Patchogue, are attacked by a group of teenagers who they say told them they wanted “to kill a Hispanic.” (The New York Times, Jan. 8, 2009)

Jan. 13

The Justice Department, the FBI, and the local U.S. Attorney’s office open investigations into allegations of hate crimes on eastern Long Island and consider a request to open a probe into how police and other authorities respond to reports of Latinos being attacked.

Jan. 15
County Legislators Wayne Horsley and DuWayne Gregory propose to increase the maximum fines for hate crimes.

Feb. 15
A Latino immigrant is walking home from work after dark in Southampton when a car pulls up and three black men jump out yelling racial epithets. They beat him with their fists, shattering one of his cheekbones. The injury requires surgery to insert a metal plate into his face. Hospital administrators contact the police, who interview the victim. No suspects are arrested. (SPLC)

Early March
David, an immigrant from Peru, is walking down a street in Brentwood when a man standing at the front door of a house says “Hey!” and points to a second-floor window, where another man stands, pointing a rifle at David. The first man throws rocks at David. David says he just keeps walking, and the rocks miss him. (SPLC)

March 24
County legislators approve a bill dubbed “Marcelo Lucero’s Law” that increases the authorized civil penalties for bias crimes. The money raised from those fined will go to the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission. In the nine years since the county first passed a law imposing such civil penalties, no fines were ever collected.

April 11
Santos, an immigrant from Mexico, says another car hits his as he drives through Brentwood. Two white passengers get out, yelling “Stupid Mexican!” When Santos gets out of his car to talk, he says, they push and kick him until the police come. The police let them go, Santos says, even though he complains about the assault. (SPLC)

Diego, a Mexican immigrant, says he is riding his bike when a car pulls over. A group of teens gets out and starts shooting at him with rubberpellet guns from about 10 feet away. As they keep shooting, Diego holds up his backpack to his face to protect himself, and the youths steal his bike. They then return to their car and chase Diego, who manages to hide safely. (SPLC)

July 27
County Executive Levy, attending an event at a local restaurant, asks a local lawyer originally from Canada if he is a U.S. citizen. When the lawyer says he is, Levy reportedly replies that that is a good thing because otherwise “I’d have to deport you, like the guys back there in the kitchen.” When asked about the statement, Levy’s press officer replies that it was “satire.”

Aug. 14
A Hispanic man is beaten and robbed in Patchogue. He tells investigators that three young white males, including a 16-year-old, called him over and engaged him in conversation as he was walking along a street late at night. One teen then hit him in the face and knocked him to the ground, he says, and the three stole cash and other items while making disparaging remarks about his ancestry. Three men are later arrested and charged with third-degree assault as a hate crime. (The Associated Press, Aug. 15, 2009)