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NYPD Makes Arrest in Hate Crime Killing of Ecuadorean Man


Police say they have made an arrest in the murder of Jose Sucuzhañay, the Ecuadorean immigrant whose life was taken in a brutal anti-gay, anti-Hispanic attack in Brooklyn in early December:

 WCBS reports:

"The NYPD had been searching for three suspects in the attack, which drew outrage from the City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other political leaders. The NYPD's Hate Crime Task Force was investigating what prosecutors called an appalling eruption of bigotry.  Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Wednesday night that police had arrested Hakeem Scott, 25, of the Bronx and were looking for a second suspect."

Phoenix There is a $22,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the second suspect, Keith Phoenix, who police say was behind the wheel of the van.

The NYT reports: "Mr. Scott was led from the 90th Precinct station house in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to be booked about 9:30 on Wednesday night He kept his head down and his eyes closed and ignored questions from reporters. The night of the killing, several people reported the attack by calling 911, and as the attackers fled, a taxi driver wrote the license plate number of their vehicle on a napkin. It belonged to a woman who was later determined to be Mr. Phoenix’s companion, the police said. But detectives were unable to link Mr. Phoenix to the vehicle until they found that he had been involved in a crash with the vehicle on Oct. 20. Investigators then obtained background information on Mr. Phoenix, who fit the description given by witnesses, and learned that he had a criminal record. Detectives mapped “the most likely route of flight from the crime scene to the Bronx,” [Police commissioner Raymond] Kelly said, and surmised that Mr. Phoenix and Mr. Scott fled over the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. Surveillance cameras from the bridge, formerly the Triborough, had video records of Mr. Phoenix driving the vehicle through a cash-only lane at 3:47 a.m., 19 minutes after the attack, officials said. The police then learned of Mr. Phoenix’s association with Mr. Scott. In fact, he had used Mr. Scott’s name as an alias in the past, they said. Investigators located Mr. Scott on Tuesday on East 161st Street in the Bronx near his home at 3204 Park Avenue...[Brookyln DA Charles] Hynes said a grand jury had been convened in the case and would decide the charges. 'The sad part of this case for me is that these two brothers were apparently caressing each other because they were cold on the way home and the cretins that were charged with the attack mistook them for gay people,' Mr. Hynes said."

Vigil Held In Brooklyn for Ecuadoran Hate Crime Victim [tr]
Brooklyn Man Dies as Result of Anti-Gay, Anti-Hispanic Assault [tr]

(top right image, NYT)

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  1. what makes this story truly ugly, if i read correctly,is that he felt bad... ONCE HE FOUND OUT THEY WEREN'T GAY.

    is there any hope the main stream press will pick up that angle... if we SCREAM loud enough!


    Posted by: jack | Feb 26, 2009 2:11:28 AM

  2. Yes, Charlie, its the "sad part" for all of us caressing gay people as well.

    Posted by: JohnInManhattan | Feb 26, 2009 7:55:48 AM

  3. I see. So this is a sad case because a straight person died? Or because he was mistaken for gay? But it wouldn't be sad if he actually were gay and murdered?

    Posted by: mrmnyc | Feb 26, 2009 8:04:59 AM

  4. I hope he enjoys being some guys bitch for the rest of his life.

    Posted by: hank | Feb 26, 2009 8:26:10 AM

  5. by any imagination, this is a despicable crime. whether the impetus was anti-hispanic or anti-gay makes no nevermind. what makes thugs think that they can prey on people for the percieved, yet deluded notion, that people who are different than they deserve violence? fuck them!

    Posted by: nic | Feb 26, 2009 8:37:29 AM

  6. I think it's great that the authorities did not drop the ball on this and pursued justice.

    Posted by: mak | Feb 26, 2009 9:17:38 AM

  7. I am glad it's not just me that took issue with the comments by Hynes that make it seem he really was sad only because the brothers SEEMED gay... as if he would not have cared a flying fuck that they were attacked for BEING gay. If that is not what he intended, it was bad choice of words, but if you think about it, a man in his position is trained to choose his words carefully, so it does not reflect kindly on him.

    At least they are looking for Phoenix and have arrested Scott, but I think Hynes needs a dressing down for his unfortunate word choice/stance!

    Posted by: CK | Feb 26, 2009 9:49:47 AM

  8. I've got nothing to state, it's been written already. Truly a tragic story.

    Posted by: CJ | Feb 26, 2009 10:31:31 AM

  9. I've seen this reported on CNN several times, when it actually happened and even just this morning, and they have never mentioned the "perceived gay" aspect. They have only ever said it was based on anti-hispanic sentiment that he was killed.

    Posted by: Jersey | Feb 26, 2009 12:00:17 PM

  10. Jersey, I don't know how you could have seen that man articles without any reference to the gay stuff. Everything I've seen from the beginning has mentioned the attackers were yelling anti-gay slurs. I would advise you to get news from a REAL in, not CNN lol.

    Posted by: Ugh | Feb 26, 2009 12:14:31 PM

  11. It needs to be pointed out -- the basher shown (Phoenix) plucks his eyebrows. Just sayin'...

    Posted by: TikiHead | Feb 26, 2009 1:01:26 PM

  12. Ugh, I was pointing out that CNN has white-washed out the gay-bashing aspect of it.

    Posted by: Jersey | Feb 26, 2009 2:32:47 PM

  13. Violent crime such as this is so utterly random and senseless that attempting to find a rational motive is a wasted effort. This and other vicious crimes demonstrate the absurd notion of "Hate Crime" legislation which designate some people as more special than others and allow for enhanced criminal penalties for selected crimes of violence. These efforts are fostered by well-meaning but misguided people who fail to recognize that "Hate Crime" legislation undermines the basic premise of equality under the law.

    Posted by: Bob | Feb 26, 2009 6:17:09 PM

  14. Last time I checked, whether a motive was rational or not doesn't matter to one's guilt unless you're suggesting that the perps were insane...are you saying that?

    Second, hate crimes are perpetrated against traits, not individuals. They are meant to send a terroristic message, and thus their victims are more than the people who are assaulted. Thus, sentencing enhancements for hate crimes do not treat people differently for committing the same crime, for they haven't committed the same crime.

    Third, it doesn't undermine equality under the law because some people are more at risk to be victimized than others, and the law addresses that fact.

    Posted by: TANK | Feb 26, 2009 7:06:23 PM

  15. There's little point in looking at the underlying philosophy anymore. It has been done to death.

    Bottom line. Hate crimes are stare decisis.

    In 1993, the Supreme Court - including Scalia and Thomas - ruled unanimously that such laws are constitutional. Since criminals were never considered a "suspect class," this decision was made based on the rational-basis test. Which means the government only had to prove it had a legitimate state interest in locking up hate crime offenders longer than others.

    Does the state have a right to combat violence against minorities?

    The answer is, of course, "yes." Under rational-basis, it does not matter whether the Supreme Court actually agrees with the manner in which the state chooses to exercise that right. That's upto lawmakers to decide. They had options. And they chose the hate crimes route.

    So, with the courts basically settled on the matter, the only possible avenue for repeal would be through Congress itself. But we all know the Republicans and Democrats won't scrap a statute that enjoys popular support from upwards of 80%. That would be politically insane. Ron Paul and his band of ostracized misfits, excuse me, "libertarians" notwithstanding, there's simply no way that's happening.

    Posted by: John in CA | Feb 27, 2009 12:52:35 AM

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