Friday, October 26th 2007
Contact: Heriberto Sanchez Soto, Executive Director
-- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE --
YET ANOTHER COWARDLY VISCIOUS ATTACK ON TWO GAY YOUTH IN THE SOUTH BRONX
October 26, 2007- Bronx, NY - Shouting anti-gay epitaphs a small gang of assailants vented their hatred of gay people on two unsuspecting youth in the South Bronx. The crime took place in plain daylight in a street busy with pedestrians at around 5PM on Wednesday, October 24, 2007. Jesus and Luis were confronted at the corner of 163rd Street and Intervale Avenue by a small group of young men and without provocation started spitting at them and calling them "faggots". Both youth did what any decent and sensible human being would do: they tried to go about their business without engaging the assailants in their hateful actions.
Jesus and Luis proceeded about their business but were attacked from behind in front of 986 East 163rd Street. Once the youth fell helpless to the ground, the assailants continued to kick and punch them, all while continuing to call them hateful names. As if insult and jury were not enough, the assailants went on to rob one of the youth of his possessions. It all happened in plain daylight with many onlookers to bear witness. Both youth sustained injuries and were taken to the hospital.
The police responded within ten minutes of the assault and filed a grand larceny report discounting the fact that the attack was initiated on the basis of the assailants' hatred of gay people. Heriberto Sanchez Soto, HAF's Executive Director demands the assault be treated as a hate crime. "We will no relent until the perpetrators are arrested, charged and tried for a hate crime. Only then can justice be served. The streets of the South Bronx are not for the criminals, they belong to the decent people of South Bronx", declared Mr. Sanchez Soto.
Some members in the immediate neighborhood where the brutal attack occurred confided to HAF that they "didn't want to get involved because they [the attackers] are part of a group of troublemakers in the neighborhood". HAF begs of the community to get involved in fighting crime. "Fear off petty criminals only makes them more brazen; if they are not stopped now the next victim may well be our children, the elderly, our wives, mothers or daughters", said Mr. Sanchez Soto.
HAF and several other grassroots groups will join the victims of this bias attack to denounce violence against gays and to demand proactive police and prosecutorial police action on this heinous crime. The press conference will take place at the scene of the crime, in front of 986 East 163rd Street, Bronx (between Fox Avenue and Tiffany Avenue) on Friday, October 26, 2007, at 2PM. People with information about this crime are encouraged to call the police at (718) 542-4192.
For more information, contact Heriberto Sanchez Soto, Executive Director 212-563-4500.
HAF's mission is to improve health outcomes for Latinos in New York City who are affected by HIV and other chronic illnesses. HAF fulfills this mission by integrating prevention and education into a set of multi-faceted wellness programs. HAF views homophobia as debilitating to the body and soul as any chronic illness it fights.