Yesterday, two teens from the affluent NJ suburb Summit were charged with manslaughter in the fatal beating of Abelino Mazeriego. Last Saturday, Mazeriego stopped to sit on a park bench after his shift as a restaurant dishwasher and took off his shirt. A teen sat next to him, while another teen behind the bench took the shirt and put it over the 47-year-old's head. That's when the seated teen got up and starting punching Mazeriego in the face—all caught on video and circulated amongst the town's teens.
A witness told the Star-Ledger that at least a dozen people watched the ultimately deadly beating, "We never thought the guy would die." Mazeriego, who was married with four children, was an immigrant from El Salvador who had been in the U.S. for 13 years. Summit Mayor Jordan Giatt said, "I’m shocked. I’m saddened. It’s not at all the character of our community. It’s a wake-up call to the world we live in. I just can’t get my head around it," but some are wondering if it's a hate crime.
The 17-year-old teen who administered the beating and an 18-year-old were charged with manslaughter. And, last month, five teens, four 17-year-olds and one 16-year-old, allegedly beat 49-year-old Divyendu Sinha to death outside of Sinha's Old Bridge, NJ home. Police believe the attack was unprovoked: Sinha, a former professor and scientist, was walking with his wife and two sons when the teen got out of a car. The suspects face charges including murder.