>I get so tired of people who say that anti-gay crime is not a hate crime, that all crimes are hate crimes. But here we have a case of what seems to be double hate crime. Men who were brutally beaten, one of whom the police say is brain dead and they are now pursuing the crime as a homicide, because they were assumed to be gay, because they were Hispanic. Who were attacked because of simple hatred of who they were, or who there were presumed to be.
A few days ago I heard the story of an elderly woman robbed in the elevator of her building. I get it that it’s a terrible thing, it’s horrible. But it was a robbery. Sure she may have been singled out because she was elderly, but it was all about getting her purse, her cash, her credit cards.
These two brothers were attacked and beaten because these thugs thought they were gay. God forbid two men walk down a street and appear close; beat those fags. There were also beaten because they were Hispanic. Hispanic AND gay? Two strikes. Hand me my bat.
These men weren’t beaten in a robbery attempt. They were beaten because of assumptions; because of skin color, or accent, or affectation.
The elderly woman beaten in the elevator? A hateful crime.
But not a Hate Crime.
from the New York Times
Attack on Ecuadorean Brothers Investigated as Hate Crime
The two brothers from Ecuador had attended a church party and had stopped at a bar afterward. They may have been a bit tipsy as they walked home in the dead of night, arm-in-arm, leaning close to each other, a common tableau of men in Latino cultures, but one easily misinterpreted by the biased mind.
Suddenly a car drew up. It was 3:30 a.m. Sunday, and the intersection of Bushwick Avenue and Kossuth Place in Bushwick, Brooklyn, a half-block from the brothers’ apartment, was nearly deserted — but not quite. Witnesses, the police said, heard some of what happened next.
Three men came out of the car shouting at the brothers, Jose and Romel Sucuzhanay — something ugly, anti-gay and anti-Latino. Vulgarisms against Hispanics and gay men were heard by witnesses, the police said. One man approached Jose Sucuzhanay, 31, the owner of a real estate agency who has been in New York a decade, and broke a beer bottle over the back of his head. He went down hard.
Romel Sucuzhanay, 38, who is visiting from Ecuador on a two-month visa, bounded over a parked car and ran as the man with the broken bottle came at him. A distance away, he looked back and saw a second assailant beating his prone brother with an aluminum baseball bat, striking him repeatedly on the head and body. The man with the broken bottle turned back and joined the beating and kicking.
“They used a baseball bat,” said Diego Sucuzhanay, another brother. “I guess the goal was to kill him.”
At least five calls were made to 911. As police sirens wailed in the distance, the assailants, described only as black men by the police, jumped into their maroon or red-orange Honda sport utility vehicle and sped away. Jose Sucuzhanay was listed on Monday in very critical condition at Elmhurst Hospital Center, where he was on life support systems and in a coma after an operation for skull fractures and extensive brain damage.
As word of the ferocious attack spread on Monday, an outpouring of anger and protest swept the city, from members of the City Council, the State Legislature and Congress; from religious, labor and civil rights organizations; from Latino and gay groups; and from the Ecuadorean and Hispanic communities.
“This won’t be tolerated,” Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, said at a news conference on the steps of City Hall that drew dozens of public officials and leaders of civil rights groups. “We cannot and we will not let hate go unchecked in our city.”
The condemnations were amplified by Council members Diana Reyna, Rosie Mendez, Merlissa Mark-Viverito, G. Oliver Koppell, David Yasky, Miguel Martinez, Gale A. Brewer, Daniel R. Garodnick, David I. Weprin and Letitia James; by Representative Nydia M. Valazquez, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Senator Tom Duane, Assemblywoman Carmen E. Arroyo, officials of the New York City Central Labor Council, the NYC Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, and by Jewish, Catholic and Protestant leaders.
A spokesman for Charles J. Hynes, the Brooklyn district attorney, said the prosecutor was “shocked and appalled by this senseless, bigoted, brutal act,” and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice. Because of the antigay and anti-Latino epithets shouted by the assailants, the police said they were investigating the case as a hate crime.
“Once more, we hear hate crimes,” said Carlos Zamora, president of the Ecuadorean Civil Center of New York. He recalled the fatal stabbing of Marcello Lucero, a 37-year-old Ecuadorean, in Patchogue, N.Y., on Nov. 8, in an attack by seven teenage boys who said they had driven around looking for Latinos to beat up. Seven youths have been arrested in that case and have pleaded not guilty to various charges.
The victim, Jose Osvaldo Sucuzhanay, the co-owner of Open Realty International, a real estate agency in Bushwick, was described by family members as a gentle, generous man, a father of two children who live with his parents in Azogues, Ecuador, his native town. He lives on Kossuth Place, in a building that is also home to his brother Diego and a sister, Blanca Naranjo. The victim’s girlfriend, Amada, arrived about six months ago and has been staying with Mr. Sucuzhanay.
Diego Sucuzhanay said that his brother, one of 12 siblings, came to New York 10 years ago “because there were job opportunities.” He said Jose worked as a restaurant waiter for seven years, and founded his real estate agency several years ago. “He helped this community,” he said. “He loved Bushwick.”
On Saturday night, Diego Sucuzhanay said, Jose and Romel, who had been staying with Jose, went to a party at St. Brigid’s Roman Catholic Church on Linden Street at St. Nicholas Avenue in Bushwick, a neighborhood with a large Ecuadorean community, and later had dinner at a restaurant and then drinks at La Vega, a bar at 1260 Myrtle Avenue, near Cedar Street, five blocks from the victim’s home.
They left the bar before 3:30 a.m., said Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, and were walking arm-in-arm. Despite the cold, the men were dressed lightly: Romel wore a tank top and Jose was wearing a T-shirt. One or both may have had a jacket slung over their shoulders, officials said.
They reached the intersection of Bushwick and Kossuth as the assailant’s car drew up at a stoplight. As the driver and two other men got out, Romel Sucuzhanay and another witness heard the shouted slurs. Romel Sucuzhanay, who was not seriously injured, had a cellphone but did not know the number for calling the police. He shouted to the attackers that he was calling the police.
One of those who called 911, Hiram Nieves, a retired store owner, said that he and his wife heard loud noises in the street.
“We heard bang, bang, bang,” as Mr. Sucuzhanay was being pounded with the bat, “and people were running from one side to the other,” he said. After the attack, he said, he saw one of the men throw something into the S.U.V. and get in with the others. The victim, he said, “was laying there, he wasn’t moving.”
Then a lot of people emerged from their homes on Kossuth Place, Mr. Nieves said, moving around the man lying in the street.
Reporting was contributed by Al Baker, David W. Chen, Kareem Fahim, Ann Farmer, Karen Zraick.