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Street Named for NYC Hate Crime Murder Victim José Sucuzhañay


You may remember the December 2008 murder of José Sucuzhañay on the streets of Brooklyn, by two men who yelled anti-Hispanic and anti-gay epithets as Sucuzhañay walked home from a night out drinking with his brother. Keith Phoenix and Hakim Scott were charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and assault, all as hate crimes, for the attack.

On Saturday, the corner where the attack took place, at Kossuth Place and Bushwick Avenue, was given another name, José Sucuzhañay Place.

Watch the unveiling, and remarks from City Council Speaker Christine Quinn,

Continue reading "Street Named for NYC Hate Crime Murder Victim José Sucuzhañay " »

Attackers in Brooklyn Hate Crime Face 78 Years to Life


Two men accused of beating Romel Sucuzhañay (above, with brother Diego) and killing his brother Jose in December while yelling anti-Hispanic and anti-gay epithets were indicted yesterday, the NYT reports:

"The two suspects, Keith Phoenix, 28, and Hakim Scott, 25, are charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and assault, all as hate crimes, for the Dec. 7 attack on the immigrant, Jose O. Sucuzhañay, and his brother Romel, who survived. At a news conference in Brooklyn announcing the charges, the Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, said that if the men are convicted, his office would push for the sentences to run consecutively. 'The acts which we charge this morning,' he said, 'are no less despicable because the victims Jose and Romel Sucuzhañay were not gay.' Mr. Hynes also issued the latest denial by a city law enforcement official of Mr. Phoenix’s claim that he acted in self-defense because he thought Mr. Sucuzhañay was reaching for a weapon in his waistband."

WNYC has audio excerpts of statements from Hynes and José Arrufat, an attorney for the Sucuzhanay family. (photo above via WNYC)

2 Indicted in Fatal Beating of Ecuadorean Immigrant [nyt]

Killer in Brooklyn Attack Says He's Not Anti-Gay, Acted in Self-Defense

Keith Phoenix, the 28-year-old man who was arrested last week in the brutal killing of Ecuadorean immigrant Jose Sucuzhanay in December, says he was pissed because Sucuzhanay and his brother walked in front of his SUV and kicked it after Phoenix blew the horn at them, according to the New York Daily News. He claims he was acting in self-defense because he thought Sucuzhanay had a gun:

Phoenix33 "So he grabbed a bat from the SUV and struck Jose four times, he said, and hit him twice more when he thought he was reaching for the gun again. Phoenix, a paroled robber, swore he had no idea he killed a man until cops told him. 'Dead? Dead? If I knew he was dead I would have been going crazy,' he said. 'I have remorse for the death.' He denied police accounts that he callously blurted, 'So I killed someone - that makes me a bad guy?' when nabbed. Police and the Sucuzhanay family scoffed at the account. What he said is 'insulting to the victims,' railed family lawyer Jose Arrufat Gracia.' His statements are contrary to the facts. Neither brother had a weapon,' Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said. Cops say he got out of his SUV spewing anti-gay and anti-Hispanic epithets. Phoenix, whose lawyer also claimed his client was acting in self-defense, said he was stung by allegations he targeted the brothers because he thought they were gay. 'I'm not a hateful person,' he said. 'I have nothing against gay people.' He also said he is part Hispanic. Asked about surveillance video that shows him laughing 20 minutes after the attack, he said he was bantering with a toll clerk"

Phoenix's lawyer told the court: "The deceased was the aggressor." He later told reporters: "To me, it is not a gay bashing or gay hate crime."

The NYPD and mayor's press conference from late last week, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Killer in Brooklyn Attack Says He's Not Anti-Gay, Acted in Self-Defense" »

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)

News: Rick Warren, Hung, Ecuador, PETA, Mickey Rourke, Tangier

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Thomas_janeroad.jpg Hung: HBO series about man who uses massive piece to get ahead gets the go-ahead.

road.jpg Ecuadoran president Rafael Correa vows to fight homophobia in wake of NYC anti-gay murder: We will fight together ... to forever uproot these aberrations of certain maladjusted [individuals], uproot them from the face of the earth, from humanity: Xenophobia, homophobia and all kinds of discrimination, all kinds of violence."

road.jpg Portia de Rossi loves her wife.

road.jpg Arizona marriage equality activists look to 2010: "A man who champions equality for gays in the United Kingdom has traveled here to launch a drive for a ballot initiative that would establish civil partnerships, which since 2005 have allowed British same-sex couples to legally register their relationships."

road.jpg Mickey Rourke's face: a history.

Mercuryroad.jpg Queen guitarist Brian May says he didn't know Freddie Mercury was gay: "No, I didn't know. I don't think even he was fully cognizant in the beginning. You're talking to someone who shared rooms with Fred on the first couple of tours, so I knew him pretty well. I knew a lot of his girlfriends and he certainly didn't have boyfriends, that's for sure. I think there was a slight suspicion, but it never occurred to me that he was gay."

road.jpg Britain's Christmas drag-fest.

road.jpg Religious right wing stirred up over Campbell's Soup ads in the Advocate.

road.jpg 70's New York art figure John Perrault marries longtime partner Jeff Weinstein in Provincetown.

Becksroad.jpg Red and black rolled out for Beckham in Milan.

road.jpg Edilson Nascimento is the hottest Brazilian of 2008.

road.jpg A massive Kerry Degman fix.

road.jpg PETA signs Tim Gunn: "The animal-rights group has enlisted none other than Tim Gunn to be its new spokesman in a video decrying using rabbit fur from China. China has no laws that prevent animal cruelty and, as such, you can imagine how things are on the animal farms. Gunn gives kudos to companies who have changed suppliers after viewing PETA's videos."

road.jpg The resurrection of Tangier: "In the heady years after World War II, when Tangier was still in diplomatic limbo as an International Zone, its craggy shores became a gay-friendly haven for spies, globe-trotting businessmen, beatniks in exile and eccentric foreigners. This is where William S. Burroughs wrote the bulk of 'Naked Lunch,' which marks its 50th anniversary next year, and where Paul Bowles completed his haunting and existential cult classic, 'The Sheltering Sky.' As recently as the last decade, Tangier was still considered a down-on-its-luck town riddled with drugs and hustlers. But while sleazy dives, decayed buildings and dark alleys can still be found, a stylish new Tangier has emerged, fueled by royal investments and a thriving arts community."

Vigil Held In Brooklyn for Ecuadoran Hate Crime Victim


Yesterday, a vigil was held for Jose Sucuzhañay, the Ecuadoran immigrant whose life was taken by four men in a brutal anti-gay, anti-Hispanic attack in Brooklyn last week.

SucuzhanayJoe.My.God has posted a bunch of photos from the vigil, which began with a short march and ended at the site of the attack at Bushwick Avenue and Kossuth Place in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. Between two and three hundred people attended the remembrance. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, NY State Senator Tom Duane, Rep. Anthony Weiner, and Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes were among the political leaders who were there.

Sucuzhañay, who was declared brain dead last week, was still on life support despite newswire reports to the contrary, until late Friday night when he finally died. Sucuzhañay died just hours before his mother, who flew in from Ecuador, could see him alive.

Yesterday, the NYT profiled the rise of the Ecuadorean community in NYC, in an article framed around the Sucuzhañay killing and the murder of another Ecuadorean less than a month earlier: "If Queens was the beachhead for Ecuadoreans, Bushwick was regarded as something of a frontier. More than 4,000 Ecuadoreans moved there from 1990 to 2007, according to the census. Diego Sucuzhañay tried to persuade his brother not to. 'I said the neighborhood wasn’t safe,' he said. 'But he wanted to be useful.'"

The assailants who beat Sucuzhañay are still at large. There is a $27,000 reward for information leading to their capture.

Family of Fatally Beaten Immigrant Urges Action - VIDEO [myfoxny]


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