The Republican front-runner is scheduled to appear for a fundraiser at the Emporium in Patchogue on Thursday, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.
The event is being held just blocks from where an Ecuadorean immigrant, Marcelo Lucero, was murdered in a hate attack eight years ago. The group is calling on Suffolk County’s Republican leadership to cancel the event, citing Trump’s anti-immigrant remarks.
The group said the billionaire businessman’s scheduled visit is an insult and desecration of what they call “sacred ground,” WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reported. Hundreds are planning a peaceful protest before Trump’s appearance.
“This is not a reality show, this is not a freaking game. These are real people, human beings with flesh and blood, and they do not deserve to be treated like animals,” Rev. Allan Ramirez said.
“Donald Trump has attacked women, Muslims, Mexicans, immigrants, pretty much anyone he can,” resident Dan Fingus. “His hateful message just fans the flames of bigotry that led to the violence that led to the death of Marcelo Lucero.”
Lucero, a 37-year-old dry cleaning worker, was walking with a friend near the Patchogue Long Island Rail Road station on Nov. 8, 2008 when a group of seven teenagers confronted them. A fight broke out and police said the group of teens shouted racial slurs at the two men before Lucero was fatally stabbed in the chest.
The seven teens were convicted of hate crime-related charges. The teen who actually stabbed Lucero was convicted of manslaughter and was given a 25-year sentence; the others are serving lesser sentences. Most of the seven also admitted participating in prior attacks on Hispanics, including two earlier on the day Lucero was killed.
Lucero’s death led the U.S. Justice Department to open an investigation into the handling of hate crimes against Latinos in Suffolk County, which had seen repeated attacks on Hispanics since 2000. The police department revamped its policies after Lucero’s murder.
Suffolk Republican Committee Chairman John Jay LaValle said Trump’s event “will not be canceled or moved.”
“An insinuation and connection between having a candidate for president of the United States come to our community and a tragedy that happened almost a decade ago is absolutely ludicrous,” LaValle said. “The event was scheduled two months ago. All candidates were invited.”
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini said there will be a strong police presence in and around the Trump campaign event.
“We will not tolerate any lawlessness,” Sini said. “We expect that this will be a very orderly and peaceful event.”
The campaign event itself is only expected to attract about 1,000 people, but Sini said the department has prepared for “thousands” of anti-Trump demonstrators.
Several roads will be closed in Patchogue for the event, which comes a week after a large Trump rally in Bethpage.
Railroad Avenue will be closed between Main Street and South Street as of 5 a.m. Thursday. Beginning at 9 a.m., Railroad Avenue will be closed between Main Street and Sephton Street. South Street, Church Street, Sephton Street and Gerard Street will be closed as of 2 p.m.
The municipal parking lot on the west side of South Ocean Avenue in the rear of the Emporium as well as the Long Island Rail Road parking lot on Sephton Street will be closed as of 9 a.m.
Vehicles found parked in the restricted areas after the closures will be towed.