The Federal Hate Crime trial against Brandon Piekarsky and Derrick Donchak, accused of beating Luis Ramirez to death because he was Mexican/Latino is underway.
This trial comes after indictments in December of last year that charge the two men and three police officers in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania of violating Luis Ramirez’s civil rights and conspiring to cover up that violation. In the original criminal trial held last summer, Piekarsky was found not guilty of third degree murder, while Donchak was acquitted of aggravated assault.
In other words, they got away with murder and will continue to get away with murder.
So far, in the Federal Civil rights trial, another young man involved in the attack, Brian Scully, admitted on the stand that Ramirez was targeted because he looked Latino and spoke Spanish. Scully and another young man, Ben Lawson, admitted to participating in the beating of Ramirez, but neither had been charged for it. Both also admitted to using slurs against Ramirez and that using slurs against Latinos was common for them.
According to El Diario/La Prensa Lawson also said that he and his friends were bothered by the recent influx of Latinos into Shenandoah. This actually is a pretty common justification among those accused of hate crimes. It also allows them an easy out. Instead of it being an issue of race/ethnicity, they relieve themselves of guilt by saying it’s about turf. But they also repeat the rhetoric of the anti-immigrant politicians who expand the turf to the entire country and create potential Luis Ramirez’s.
The defense is claiming that race/ethnicity was not a factor, portraying Ramirez as a victim of a a drunken fight.
My heart goes out to Ramirez’s familia who has to relive the horrific death of someone beloved and my hope is that some semblance of justice is revealed to them and to all of us.