The latest victim of a hate crime in Staten Island is speaking out about the attack. Christian Vasquez, 18, is entering his senior year of high school, and was jumped by a group of men on his way home from work early Saturday morning. Velazquez told 1010WINS, "They were really kicking me hard and going at me when I was on the floor." He also believes his attackers were "drunk" or "very high." Vasquez says the attacks are particularly hurtful because, "All this happened because I'm Mexican. My parents brought me here from Mexico to get a better life." Now, police have arrested a 15-year-old boy for the attack.
The boy, whose name was not released, was arrested yesterday and charged with robbery, assault and harassment as a hate crime. Police are still looking for two other suspects. The assailants allegedly yelled, "Go home, you [expletive] Mexican!" as they punched Vasquez repeatedly in the face, and took the $10 he was carrying. However, Vasquez says the group was not after his cash, refuting a claim made by one local that the attacks happen because locals are jealous some Mexicans are holding steady jobs in this rough economy. Vasquez said, "If they were after my money, they would have asked for it. They were after me because I was a Mexican."
Heightened police presence in the area seems to have done little to ease tensions in the area. Rev. Terry Troia, executive director of Project Hospitality, said that the neighborhood can't rely on the police. "Everybody has to watch everybody else and take care of themselves." Mayor Bloomberg cautioned against suggestions of putting up surveillance cameras, saying it could cause personal privacy issues—and besides, there's no rich people there to protect like in the Financial District. He said, "If I thought it was as simple as putting cameras up, I would find someplace in the budget to pay for it. It is a lot more complex than that. We are trying to figure out who and why, and why a rash all of a sudden. This is just an outrage. One bias crime is one bias crime too many."