STATEN ISLAND (CBS 2) ― As police cruisers continue to patrol Port Richmond day and night, there was growing outrage across the City at the brazen thugs who were preying on the town’s Mexican community. Despite an arrest in the most recent of those attacks, as CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reports, community leaders were demanding much more be done to keep city streets safe.
Christian Vasquez was attacked over the weekend, the latest victim in a string of at least 11 assaults on young Hispanic men in this neighborhood.
“All four of them started beating me on the floor, calling me names like Mexican, f-ing Mexican…” Vasquez said.
Whether the crimes were racially motivated or carried out by criminals simply looking for easy targets, what’s clear was that residents like Roberto Pavia felt threatened, and with good reason.
“I think that people no like us. I don’t know why,” he said.
City leaders, from Mayor Bloomberg on down, were stepping in to express frustration and anger. “We’re trying to figure out who and why and why a rash all of a sudden. It is just wrong and anybody who thinks that they’re going to get away with this, let me tell you, we will do everything we can to find out who the perpetrators are and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”
At a community meeting Monday night, residents tossed around ideas to stop the violence. “More surveillance in the neighborhoods,” one man suggested.
However, the heightened police presence that’s been in place for a week now didn’t stop Vasquez’s attackers – a sign that the community needs to do more.
“Another key part of the answer is the community standing up and saying: ‘The people who are doing this are cowards. They don’t represent us. They don’t speak for us’,” said NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
Quinn and other community leaders were expected to announce an aggressive plan against hate crimes Tuesday night.