By PABLO GUZMAN
STATEN ISLAND (CBS 2) — There was a major difference of opinion on Staten Island on Thursday over the recent string of attacks against Latinos.
While many groups are calling them hate crimes, the borough president said that’s not the case.
Borough President James Molinaro has shaken up the prevailing sentiment among those who have called for action in his borough because of a rash of recent attacks against Mexicans. They said these are hate crimes. Molinaro, though, said he believes that a closer look shows most of these are really robberies – and not hate crimes.
“It’s easy just to holler ‘bias!’ It’s easy. It’s the easiest thing to do. But you have to prove it. You have to prove it,” Molinaro said.
When asked if these attacks have no bias component, Molinaro did not back down.
“Could be one. But to say that all — every act — is a bias incident is wrong,” Molinaro said.
If nothing else, one of the victims has faith the police will get the people responsible.
“I have value that like justice is on our side,” Alejandro Galindo said Wednesday night during a peace march.
Molinaro made it clear that an attack July 7 against a gay Latino couple at a White Castle was a hate crime, because they were gay. But City Councilwoman Debi Rose, who has organized vigils against hate crimes on Staten Island, said: “The criminals have targeted people who they deem vulnerable; and it happens to be the Mexican community.”
But police sources told CBS 2 HD on Thursday that of the first six attacks that were originally called bias crimes on Staten Island, one was a hate crime against gays. However, the others were robberies against Mexicans who seemed to be easy targets. Police think only one may be a true bias incident – the June 24 attack on 52-year-old Galindo. He was sent to the hospital with a fractured eye socket. Law enforcement sources seem to agree with Molinaro.
Robberies. Not hate crimes.
But the sources said it’s not easy to say that publicly — because it’s not politically correct.
There was a scheduled vigil Thursday night on Staten Island at the White Castle where the homosexual couple was attacked.
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