The Lucero Murder--Hate Lingers

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[Speaking Truth To Power]

This past Monday, Long Islander Jeffrey Conroy was convicted of manslaughter in the vicious beating death of Ecuadorian immigrant, Marcelo Lucero.

Given the festering racism against Latinos on Long Island are we to believe there’s now nothing to worry about?

Conroy, was convicted for the Nov. 8, 2008 stabbing death of the 37-year-old Lucero near the Patchogue Railroad Station. Conroy attacked Lucero with six of his friends: Kevin Shea, Jordan Dasch, Nicholas Hausch, Jose Pacheco, Anthony Hartford and Christopher Overton. 

Lucero was attacked in an incident of “Beane-Hopping,” by these teenage terrorists, as he and Angel Loja, were walking to the house of their friend, Elder Fernandez. “Beaner-Hopping” is term used by those who attack “illegal” immigrants or Latinos. These attacks are prevalent in the eastern Long Island area that incorporates the neighborhoods of Patchogue, Medford and Farmingville. Farmingville is the epicenter of xenophobic racism against Latinos on Long Island.

All have pleaded guilty for their roles in this heinous attack, except Anthony Hartford and Christopher Overton. Both await trials. Conroy will be sentenced May 26. Given Conroy’s penchant for attacking Latinos a severe sentence is warranted. In fact, less that a week before Lucero’s killing, Conroy was implicated in another assault.

During the Lucero trial, Mexican immigrant, and prosecution witness, Octavio Cordova testified about being beaten on Nov. 3, 2008, five days before the death of Lucero. Cordova testified he was knocked unconscious at a Medford gas station by a white teen in a white shirt. Other witnesses verified that Conroy was that white teen. Witness Vincent Martino, of Medford, said he was getting gas when he saw two teens standing over Cordova. The other teen was Jose Pacheco—ironically a Puerto Rican—with dark skin. Martino testified when he approached the teens fled. 

When Cordova regained consciousness, his arm was sore and blood was flowing from his mouth. He sought treatment at Brookhaven Hospital Medical Center, in East Patchogue. However, Cordova stated he didn’t report the attack to police because “I didn’t want any problems.” He said “I didn’t know if they lived in the area--I didn’t want to run into them later on.”

During the final days, of the trial, Conroy claimed co-defendant, Christopher Overton stabbed Lucero. Conroy’s aim, in pointing the finger, at Overton was, perhaps, realizing that Overton was already awaiting sentencing for a home invasion that left the homeowner dead. In 2007, Overton was involved in the home invasion of 38-year-old Jamaican Carlton Shaw. One afternoon Shaw, who worked three jobs to pay for his home, was busy tiling his bathroom when he discovered Overton and friends entering his residence. Shaw was then shot to death by one of Overton’s accomplices in that crime: Terrain Slide, who is Black. Shaw’s body was found by a neighbor with his three-year-old son sleeping on him. Apparently, the nursery school got worried when Shaw failed to pick up his five-year old daughter.

Given Overton’s involvement in the heinous murder of Shaw why wasn’t there a tighter leash applied to Overton while he was awaiting sentencing?  Why aren’t any politicians lambasting the “wilding” of these White hooligans involved in “Beaner-Hopping? Several top personalities were calling for the death sentence when five young Black males were accused --as it later turned out falsely-- in the Central Park jogging case. Donald Trump even took out a full page ad in four New York dailies in part, obnoxiously saying, "I want to hate these muggers and murderers. They should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed..."

Conroy and Overton deserve the maximum punishment the law allows. Still, they are reflections of the ugliness in their communities. And, although they are the ones who killed Lucero, his blood is also on the hands of pundit provocateurs like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs who reflect and promote the bigotry they hear and see in their segregated communities. 

Before Dobbs was removed—by the pressure of fed-up Latino activist groups—he was the primary voice of hatred against Latinos. Of course he claimed “illegal” immigration is what he’s against. If these people are so offended by illegality, where were they when the Bush White House was busy shitting all over the Constitution?

Some politicians are also guilty of encouraging murder and the type of lynch-mob behavior that took the life of Lucero. Here I’m thinking of County Executive Steve Levy, of Suffolk County. As the chief executive of Suffolk County Levy has done much to engender hatred for Latinos.

He proposed using police to stop Latinos suspected of being undocumented. With his blessings many Latino homes were raided, with little regard for the innocence of some of those targeted. He’s called immigration rights activists “anarchists” and “communists.”

And he said Latino women cross the border to give birth “free of charge” to “anchor babies.” Moreover, in a tellingly insensitive remark, Levy stated if Lucero was killed elsewhere it would’ve been a “one-day story.” He’s currently a gubernatorial candidate.

But this isn’t just about opportunists like Steve Levy, Glenn Beck or Lou Dobbs. This is about white America’s fears of a rising tide of non-white residents. If this hatred can happen here in “enlightened” New York, what does this portend for the rest of America?

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