A father of one of the arrested in a Staten Island 4th of July melée with cops, who were responding for a fourth time to the scene of a raucous party and illegal fireworks display, complained of the racial injustices Italian-Americans are forced to endure at the hands of the police and America's legal system.
"If we were black, Al Sharpton would have been here," said the father of one suspect. "Because we're white and Italian, we have no civil rights. They have to fight this. It's ridiculous."
Indeed, "ridiculous" is the first word that popped into our heads when reading today's article in the Staten Island Advance. Police arrested 19 people in the Independence Day incident and issued summonses to another 11 individuals. When police arrived at 23 Fillmore St. on Staten Island, the homeowner slammed the door on the leg of Inspector Richard Bruno. Eventually, five police officers would be injured in the brawl with partygoers.
Homeowner Richard Sciana's lawyer, John Meringolo, said that police used excessive force in making the arrests and cited the fact that mace was sprayed on party guests, a 69-year-old woman was bruised, and cops put a woman with Down Syndrome in handcuffs. That woman, 20-year-old Anna Marie Sciana, admitted earlier that her injuries were incurred after she jumped on the back of a police officer. The Advance says that the worst of the struggle occurred when other partygoers were similarly jumping on police in an attempt to prevent them from making arrests. A number of the arrested said that they intend to sue for police brutality. Mr. Sciana, who was accused of being a member of a mafia hit squad for the Columbo family organization in the early 1990s, said that he will not be pressing any charges against police.
Bruising and mace sound like fairly unpleasant experiences. We can't help but wonder how a similar incident would have played out in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, if a group of 100 black partygoers started jumping on the backs of officers responding to a complaint from neighbors. We suspect we would be reading articles about something much more severe than a "donnybrook."