[UPDATE BELOW] Locals and community leaders are trying to come up with every possible explanation for why bias attacks have been on the rise in Staten Island. And gay bashing aside, some think they've found an answer: the economy! Most of the immigrants attacked have been jumped on their way home from work at restaurants, where it's likely they would be paid in cash. Residents say the "knockouts" are just to nab the cash on pay day. And all those racial slurs? Well, there's more to life than money.
Though cops have been on patrol in Port Richmond, the scene of most of the attacks, locals say they quit the streets around 1 a.m., leaving plenty of time for late night "knockouts." The latest attack happened in the neighborhood around 2:30 a.m., when an 18-year-old Mexican teen coming home from his job as a busboy in Manhattan was jumped by at least four men. However, one of the assailants was allegedly Hispanic, and the group stole $10 from the victim, leading some to believe it could have just been a violent robbery. Police are currently investigating the attack as a hate crime.
Resident Delphine Butler says it doesn't matter what the motive is, but unemployment could be a catalyst. "The average Mexican immigrant is working five days a week. There's young men here who can't get a job," she said. "Nobody has the right to attack anybody but I am saying it causes tension and frustration." So far, police presence and community coalitions have been unable to ease the tension, but Consul General of Mexico Rubén Beltrán hopes that more community participation can help. He said, “I don’t believe there’s a silver bullet that overnight will solve whatever is happening there. I do believe there’s a lot of tension that needs to be solved, and that can only be solved with the participation of the community at large."
[UPDATE]According to WABC, police have arrested a 15-year-old boy in connection with this weekend's bias attack. He has been charged with second degree robbery as a hate crime, third degree assault as a hate crime, and aggravated harassment as a hate crime. The boy is a Liberian native and a current US citizen.