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How Much Is a Latino Life Worth?

El Diario/La Prensa, Editorial, Staff Posted: May 08, 2009

When an all-white jury decided that the fatal beating of Luis Ramirez was only worth a misdemeanor conviction, they sent a clear and chilling message to all Hispanics in this country. The life of a Latino immigrant has no weight on the balance of justice.

The facts are these: Six white football players beat and kicked Luis Ramrez. His skull was fractured in two spots. He was left convulsing and foaming at the mouth.

Last week, a Pennsylvania jury found two youths involved in the beating guilty of simple assault. (One of the defendants, Derrick Donchak, added insult to injury by wearing a U.S. Border Patrol t-shirt to a Halloween party after Ramirez died.)

The outcome has triggered questions about the earnestness with which this case was prosecuted and, yet again, whether the judicial system can act fairly when the victim is a Latino immigrant.

One only has to look at the slew of comments online to get a snapshot of the anti-immigrant hate that has surrounded this case. The ugly postings blame Ramirez for his own death at the hands and feet of the white gang: had he not been here illegally, they say, he would not have triggered the beating that led to his death.

Others want to cast the stomping of Ramirez, as he lay on the ground, as a street fight that went bad a Rodney King defense.

During the preliminary hearing, a retired police officer testified that she heard the defendants yell racial slurs. Yet the jury acquitted them of ethnic intimidation.

"The first thing that got me out of my room was the "f" word the "Spic" word, you know what I mean?" Eileen Burke, a witness, told WNEP. But Burke was not called to the stand. She also said that the prosecution did not convey what she saw and heard. Why?

We urge the Department of Justice to take action and let Hispanics know that their lives count, that there are real consequences to the hatemongers who would assault us.

Related Articles:

No Justice for Vincent Then, No Justice for Luis Now

Justice for Luis Ramrez

Latinos in Danger

Forbidden Love in Shenandoah, PA: Behind Beating Deaths of Immigrants

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