Marcelo Lucero was an Equadorian who was murdered by a group of  teenage thugs on Long Island a year ago last Sunday. His murder  has become a rallying cry for Civil Rights, much like Birmingham Sunday became. His murder was senseless and based on hate. According to the Huffington Post (and other news sources):


The lessons from the Lucero killing are stark and clear. Lucero’s attackers told police that they would routinely go “beaner jumping” — which meant they would hunt down and assault Latinos. In announcing indictments last year, Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota said the seven students charged in the attack admitted they regularly beat Hispanics for fun. He said one of the accused attackers, Anthony Hartford, 17, of Medford, told police “I don’t go out doing this very often, maybe once a week.” Said Spota: “To them, it was a sport.” Today, one of the defendants in the case – Nicholas Hausch, 18, of Medford, NY – pleaded guilty to four felony charges and will cooperate with authorities in prosecuting the other accused Long Island teens. According to Newsday:

Before coming across Lucero, Hausch said the group pursued another man. “I got out of the car and I chased him. We were yelling at him,” calling him a derogatory name, he said. Authorities say the group surrounded Lucero, 37, and a companion at about 11:50 p.m. near the Long Island Rail Road Station, shouting and pummeling him before he was knocked to the ground. They say Jeffrey Conroy, of Medford, fatally stabbed him. Conroy faces murder and manslaughter charges as a hate crime. Hausch said as the group left, he told Conroy to throw the knife away. Conroy said, “No, I washed it in a puddle,” according to Hausch. While they were leaving, Hausch told the group, ‘We’re not getting away with it,’ ” he told prosecutors


Lucero’s death was a human tragedy, yet it also brought the increased light of scrutiny upon anti-immigrant violence in this country. I was taken with the remembrance penned by Pat Young, a colleague at Long Island Wins, the campaign working for immigration reform and fairness on Long Island. Pat’s words hit home:

I thought of this working man, this churchgoer, this loving son and brother, on his way to relax at the end of a long work week. Thousands of miles from home in a place that had become increasingly hostile to people like him.

Tired, hoping for the reward of rest in front of a TV, in the company of a friend, he was set upon by young men who heard from parents and politicians that immigrants were “invaders” and “low-level terrorists”. Marcelo Lucero’s companion was able to escape. But Marcelo, being hit by the type of young men who only fight when the odds are overwhelmingly in their favor, took off his belt to avoid the humiliation of submission, to fend off the fists and kicks of youths with nothing better to do, on what to Marcelo was a work day, than drink and hunt humans.

There is something inhuman about this story. How can human beings hunt other human beings? Many people have spoken out against having ‘hate crimes’ as part of prosecution. They seem to feel that the original charge should be enough. Clearly these multiple crimes were motivated by hate.  I am not sure all the immigration reform in the world would stop sub humans like this.


38 Thoughts to “Remembering Marcelo Lucero: One Year Later”

  1. Poor Richard

    Reading an op/ed review of a play in yesterday’s NYT, “A Theater Illuminates
    an Immigration Battlefied” on this sad incident, I was struck with how much
    Suffolk County L.I. near N.Y. has in common with PWC.

    – “Long Islanders have argued over the point to exhaustion, if not despair.”

    -“Compaints become harangues. The two sides have no name for each other,
    only labels.”

    -“Words of hate turn into actions of hate.”

    The play “What Killed Marcelo Lucero?” is by Margarita Espada.

    Some food for thought.

  2. Second-Alamo

    On the other hand are there any plays depicting Latino gang violence against innocent victims? The prisons are full of good material for the effort. I’d think the ratio of deaths by Latino thugs versus Latino hating thugs is quite high to put thing into perspective.

  3. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    I think instead I’ll remember 83-year old Lila Meizel, who was brutally beaten, doused in gasoline and set ablaze while still alive by an illegal immigrant that the citizens of Maryland now get to help pay for while he serves his life sentence. But that’s just me.

  4. Most Latino violence is directed at other Latinos. Most. Not all.

    Secondly, this was a white gang who targeted a Latino. They confessed to targetting Latinos. There is something fundamentally wrong about targetting any human beings–not just Latinos.

    I don’t think we can say well, look what some unknown Latino did to someone else. That doesn’t cut it with me.

    Human beings do not hunt other humans in a civilized world. Human beings don’t hunt other humans as sport.

    Here is the commentary Poor Richard was talking about: Lucero&st=cse&adxnnl=1&scp=2&adxnnlx=1259348968-gCG9RSNDHKEeHM8H4y8Kmw

  5. JustinT

    That’s pretty sad rodent and Alamo. No desire to avoid such violence? No desire to reduce hatred and hate crimes? Why must you respond to everything the same way: hatred or excuses for hatred?

    What harm is it to you if the rest of us take steps to reduce hate crimes? How does that harm you? Hate is not a crime. You are safe until you go out and murder someone. This story is about how a hate culture leads to violence. And all you can respond with is justification for more hate and more violence. Sad.

    Is there no crime that would summon up your humanity instead of your racial hatred? Your lives must be hellish if that’s all you can muster in the face of a story like that. I pity you.

  6. JustinT

    Yo rodent, my reaction to the guy who set an old lady on fire is that the guilty party should get the death penalty, not some radom person who has the same skin color he has. That’s a big difference, one you need to get straight. On the one hand we have justice, on the other we have hate crime. It really is sad that your political prejudices have warped your mind to the point that you equate the two.

  7. RingDangDoo


    That’s funny! You should apply for a job at the SPLC!

  8. Poor Richard

    Whatever your feelings on the issue of immigration, the attacking and brutal
    killing of an innocent human being is a horror for each of us.

  9. Emma

    It takes a particular kind of subhuman to go “hunting” for other humans.

  10. I am going to throw in with Emma on this one.

    I also see death penalty or life in prison without paraole for killing and burning someone. Race and ethnicity are secondary.

  11. JustinT

    I said that, M-H. Death penalty for the burning crime.

    Anyway, our society cannot condone hunting people of a certain race, I don’t care how badly you want Republicans to win elections on race baiting issues. Nice try though, ringer. You’re outside the mainsteam if you condone either of these crimes.

  12. I cant condone hunting people of ANY race. Human beings don’t hunt other humans.

    Actually I was agreeing with you in part, Justin. Sorry I forgot to point that out.

  13. JustinT

    Right, so Emma, M-H, Richard and I denounce hate crimes, along with SPLC. What posseses a person, even anonymously, to place themself on the opposite side? How do you become that extreme?

  14. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    JustinT :
    And all you can respond with is justification for more hate and more violence. Sad.
    Is there no crime that would summon up your humanity instead of your racial hatred? Your lives must be hellish if that’s all you can muster in the face of a story like that. I pity you.

    I’m looking for any form of “justification” in what I said…hmmmm, must be hiding. Hellish life? Doesn’t FEEL too hellish!

  15. Second-Alamo

    Question, are the prisons full of white guys who hunted Latinos, or are they full of Latinos who hunted other Latinos for one reason or another? That is the point I was making. No justification for either, but lets not pretend that all Latinos are just poor innocent human beings trying to make an honest living. I’m just guessing, but the play you mention is probably meant to gather sympathy for Latinos in general, and I find it hard to be so sympathetic when one group of people who are a minor percentage of the population has such a major stake in violent crime. Then again, look at the environment that most of them came from. This is why legal immigration involves background checks. Look at the recent major gang bust in Maryland!

  16. SA, no one is pretending that. I don’t think all crimes involve humans hunting each other.

    I know nothing about the play. I know that a person, Marcelo Lucero, was hunted down and eventually killed because a group of teen thugs decided ‘his type’ would be their prey du jour.

    I am opposed to gangs regardless of color or ethnicity. I don’t see any justification for what was done. None. Let me go out on a limb and say I don’t care what the enthicity of the victim was. The fact that his ethnicity was different from the ‘hunters’ is all it takes. I have no problem with the thugs getting the death penalty either if their crime meets the criteria for death penalty in NY.

  17. Last Best Hope

    In general too much emphasis is put on race when discussing violent crimes. Statistics show that economic opportunity, or lack there of, predicts one’s proclivity to commit crimes; not race.

    In the case of the Long Island murder being discussed here, there is an inescapable racial element in so much as the killers set out to murder someone of a particular race, and indeed failed to murder another man earlier that evening who was also of that race. This alone is what makes this case remarkable. Some of the darkest chapters in our history are conjured when we hear of men who band together in order to hunt down and murder other men of a specific minority group.

    There are two high profile crimes involving young people that have not been discussed on this blog, even though not everyone involved was the same race. This is because race was not a factor in the crime in any way. If we were to focus on every crime in which the victim and the perpetrator were of two different races, we’d have time to discuss little else.

    So, I submit that, in response to a clear hate crime such as this, when a minority group is being targeted by a murderous mob, that we might be able to step outside the limitations of “them vs. us” racial constructions, and simply condemn premeditated murder in the name of racial animosity. We do, at least, share our humanity in common.

  18. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    JustinT :
    Yo rodent,

    That’s MR. rodent to you.

  19. JustinT

    rodent, I’ll call you rodent next time I address you, but thanks for letting me know your preference.

  20. Second-Alamo

    Play nice now.

  21. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    [sigh] I miss “Racist Moniker Man”……the good ole days.

  22. All of you guys need to stop name calling. GRRRRRRRRRR

  23. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    I didn’t call anyone a name. 🙂

  24. Wolverine

    Interesting thing about “hate” crimes. Sometimes it seems that the application of the term is aimed at one particular race: mine. So, I ask you. That incident in St. Louis, Missouri, about a month or so ago in which the lone White boy on a school bus was beaten up by a number of Black teenagers. Was that a “hate” crime? Have those Black teenagers been charged with a “hate” crime? Also, I seem to recall another incident in Long Island not long ago in which a group of Latino gang members went after Black people in a neighborhood and — not sure of the details — badly injured or even killed someone of African descent. There was also a recent case in New York in which Latino gang members were found guilty of killing a young Black man at random. They just drove around on the streets until they found a target of choice and gunned him down. They didn’t even know him personally. They were convicted of murder, but I do not recall much press play about a “hate” theme in that particular incident.

    Hate is hate. All should be condemned. But fairness demands that it be condemned equally. Half measures will not work in any society. Half measures only generate more hate.

  25. If criminal justice in theory is about deterance, then hate crimes should stop some of those kinds of things. I would say they were hate crimes but I don’t know all the details.

    If someone is singled out because of race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation and are tortured, then we are getting real close to a hate crime. I actually don’t care if it is stealing your lunch money because you are jewish, or black or white, or if it is a killing because someone is Catholic or gay. It all involves hate, doesn’t it?

    Maybe its time for everyone to just behave themselves. Don’t the feds have a clear delineation for what constitutes a hate crime? I would say a hate crime would start when I do something to someone not because I know them or randomly chose them but because of what they are.

  26. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Gangs of kids have doing this kind of crap for at least decades. I remember when it was called “wilding”, and it was quite popular in DC. The gangs would pick someone more-or-less at random and beat them to death, take pictures, and send the pictures to other gangs to show how tough they are. Sheep get wrapped around the axle on “what color were the gang members?” and “what color was the victim?”. The behavior is unacceptable regardless of racial issues, but racists, by definition, can only think in terms of race. And brainless caucasians allow themselves to be victimized by self-loathing (it’s only a hate crime when the perp is white). I doubt very seriously that this behavior will ever stop, or that whites will ever wake up and realize it’s the behavior that’s wrong, and not the color of anyone’s skin. And so it goes, the stupid reap their rewards.

  27. Mr. Slow, I don’t think anyone here feels it is all about color. There are a miriad of other reasons why people are victimized. Any time a person is singled out by a group (or individual) because of what they are, then we have a problem. It can be quiet and methodical or a wilding.

    Maybe if a few more of these out of control people sizzle or face life in prison, it will stop.

    I think the point in this post might be that some of this crap starts with words and moves into assault and battery which can lead to killing. Words can desensitize. Most people don’t go out and hunt humans. When does it become ok in their minds? What steps need to take place before perfectly ‘nice’ people turn into killers? Booze, drugs? How come some of us can get stinking drunk and not turn into killers?

  28. Elena

    What an unpleasant “discussion”. Were someone out “hunting” for ANY person, targeted only by their race,religion, gender, or ethnicity, any normal thinking person would be horrifed. I am truly disappointed at the level to which this debate fell. Slow and Alamo, you should both know better…tsk tsk.

    ever read any books on the Italian Mafia?

  29. JustinT

    I get it now thanks to Wolverine. Some people are very very connected to the white race, not to the extent that they would condone or commit an act of violence in the name of white supremacy, but more along the lines of “don’t pick on white people in general” just because this particular atrocity was committed by a white person.

    I totally get that. I never thought of it that way. But that’s exactly who minorities don’t like to be “hunted” because of something somebody else did, just because they are the same minority. It’s about fairness and sometimes white guilt can be just as painful as being accosted with a racial slur.

  30. JustinT

    But in my generation at least, the majority of us don’t feel connected to other people just because of race. If somebody killed somebody, it’s the murderer who should be denounced and face justice, not the victim or the victim’s race. No other story where the same two races are involved should even be brought up. That is racist thinking IMHO.

    The same goes for the murderer, though. That’s where I grant Wolverine’s point. Crimes, even racially motivated crimes, should not reflect on the race of the murderer. That’s called bigotry. But here’s the deal: if you think the whole country is so focused on racial loyalty that they’d condemn you or any innocent white person just because another white person commit a heinous crime, I think you are projecting your own race-focused view onto the rest of society. It may have been like that for a long time, but that’s changing right under your feet, like it or not, that’s changing.

  31. Second-Alamo

    Elena, shame on you, are denigrating an entire race based on the actions of a few? ……..Tsk Tsk Tsk

  32. Wolverine

    Justin, I’ve never been personally susceptible to the idea of “white guilt.” To me evil is evil no matter the color of the perpetrator. I do not blame my ethnic group for what happened in the Lucero case anymore than I blame Latinos in general for the two New York incidents I described or the Black race for that school bus incident in St. Louis. In my book such crimes are committed by deviant human beings and require a concerted, non-racial effort to end such crimes everywhere by the full punishment prescribed under the law, with the public application of that law being a strong warning to all others who might consider such unlawful actions. It requires all races to work together to end such crime, including introspection and action as to the role of certain members of one’s own race in contributing to the problem. If, for instance, I am obliged to oppose the racism and other bias represented by the KKK or the so-called “Aryan” groups, our Latino brothers must address the ills of the gang problem and other law-breaking elements within their own midst Only then can we form a truly united effort to combat evil at every level and in every community.

    But it does seem to me that, when we get so involved in trying to parse out everything under some definition of racial hatred, we ourselves inadvertently contribute to the racial divide when we ought to be striving to pull together as a societal unit against the perpetrators of all crime. A part of our united effort ought to be to strive to limit through education the public invective which leads to racial animosity and to the crimes such as that committed in the Lucero case. That, however, sometimes leads us into a basic conflict between “hate” speech and “free” speech in which we could possibly endanger the “free” speech right we all cherish. For instance, we too often these days have tended almost automatically to misrepresent legitimate dissent on the major issue of illegal immigration as being subliminal or even outright racial targeting. Conversely, we label those who express empathy for illegal immigrants as being totally disdainful of the well-being of their own culture and sometimes even as “enemies” of their own country. For instance, one of the most unfortunate aspects of those attitudes has been the intermingling of “anti-illegal immigration” with “anti-immigration”. This kind of thing only deepens the anger and the divide. We wind up screaming unhelpfully at each other while the basic problems themselves are never solved. The common ground is out there to be found, but we spend all our time arguing about race and never look for it.

  33. JustinT

    That is some great writing and some wise thinking Wolverine. I agree all the way except I would say gang violence is not the flip side of hate crimes. There is something really f’ed up about hunting people of a particular race out of pure hatred. Yeah, the victim is still just as dead, but when the aim is to use murder to terrorize minorities, take racial vengeance, and assert racial supremacy, it just sends a chill. It just hasn’t been that long since the days of strange fruit on Southern trees.

    Another reason why hate crimes attract special attention is that not everyone agrees that hatred as a motive creates added severity, like second degree murder vs. first degree. I think that if bigotry of some kind is the motivation for a murder, it should mean additional charges, and a more severe sentence. Others don’t agree abd/or they object to certain minorities being protected by hate crimes legislation. I bring this up because there is already broad agreement that gang violence is deserving of stiffer penalties and that gang crime is a serious problem. This distinction is another reason why I don’t see gang crimes as the flip side of hate crimes.

    But seriously thanks for taking the time to write all that. It was informative.

  34. Wolverine

    Justin, you have expressed some valid differential points about gangs and gang violence. However, that violence, even if directly largely against other gangs of similar ethnicity, does lead to an overall element of fear in a community among all races living there. That, in my book, makes it an applicable criminal pattern to be stopped as surely as it is necessary to stop the likes of those who committed the Lucero atrocity. It looks like we agree on that. To me both are chilling.

    On a large scale, I could point to recent clashes in California between Latino gangs and Blacks in which the former seemed to be undertaking some kind of neighborhood ethnic “cleansing” against the latter. However, let me make this a bit more personal. There have been several instances in my own town where the bullets were flying rather indiscriminately in public places and in a local neighborhood, scaring everyone regardless of color. Not long ago, I encountered a major Latino gang in my own community which was trying to run a Mafioso-style protection racket for Latinos against Anglos like myself. Later, I found out that one of the law enforcement officers with which I worked had been previously “green lighted” by a gang. Not long ago, we had a vicious murder and rape in which the victims were White and the perpetrators had reported gang connections. If that is not bad enough, my own adopted Latina granddaughter was lured away from us by an illegal gangbanger, and we lost her. I no longer know where she is or what she is doing. Evil is evil, my friend. In my opinion, the only way to stop any of it is for all of us — White, Black, Latino, Asian, whatever — to link arms and say to the perpetrators on all sides: “Enough!!!”

  35. JustinT

    Damn. Sorry to hear that Wolverine. Yes that is chilling and yes gang violence is a real problem that everyine agrees should be stopped. I do not oppose legislation targeting gang violence.

    To go full circle, my beef with the obsessively white contingent of this blog was their attitude that the Lucero murder is not worth remembering and that hate crimes legislation is bogus because they would rather focus on crimes where the race of the victim and the murderer are reversed. To me, and eye for an eye posture on racial violence is the exact opposite of the spirit of togetherness you want us to embrace.

  36. Wolverine, that is just horrible. How long has she been missing and how old is she? Is she missing from this area or from another locality. You are right Enough is enough.

  37. Elena

    Just now coming back to the blog after a great weekend visiting with family I had not seen for two decades.

    I am vey sorry to hear about your granddaughter, very very sad. I agree wholeheartedly, enough violence, no matter who is perpetrating it, no matter what the reasons, violence will only destroy a society.

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