Ecuadoran Is Brain-Dead After Possible Bias Attack
Posted on December 10, 2008
Filed Under Uncategorized
The two brothers from Ecuador had attended a church party and had stopped at a bar afterward. They may have been a bit tipsy as they walked home in the dead of night, arm-in-arm, leaning close to each other, a common tableau of men in Latino cultures, but one easily misinterpreted by the biased mind.
Suddenly a car drew up. It was 3:30 a.m. Sunday, and the intersection of Bushwick Avenue and Kossuth Place in Bushwick, Brooklyn, a half-block from the brothers’ apartment, was nearly deserted — but not quite. Witnesses, the police said, heard some of what happened next.
Three men came out of the car shouting at the brothers, Jose and Romel Sucuzhanay — something ugly, anti-gay and anti-Latino. Vulgarisms against Hispanics and gay men were heard by witnesses, the police said. One man approached Jose Sucuzhanay, 31, the owner of a real estate agency who has been in New York a decade, and broke a beer bottle over the back of his head. He went down hard.
Romel Sucuzhanay, 38, who is visiting from Ecuador on a two-month visa, bounded over a parked car and ran as the man with the broken bottle came at him. A distance away, he looked back and saw a second assailant beating his prone brother with an aluminum baseball bat, striking him repeatedly on the head and body. The man with the broken bottle turned back and joined the beating and kicking.
“They used a baseball bat,” said Diego Sucuzhanay, another brother. “I guess the goal was to kill him.”
At least five calls were made to 911. As police sirens wailed in the distance, the assailants, described only as black men by the police, jumped into their maroon or red-orange Honda sport utility vehicle and sped away. Jose Sucuzhanay was declared brain dead on Tuesday after suffering extensive brain damage and skull fractures, according to law enforcement officials. He was kept on life support at Elmhurst Hospital Center, while his family decides whether to donate his organs, a law enforcement official said.
As word of the ferocious attack spread on Monday, an outpouring of anger and protest swept the city, from members of the City Council, the State Legislature and Congress; from religious, labor and civil rights organizations; from Latino and gay groups; and from the Ecuadorean and Hispanic communities.
“This won’t be tolerated,” Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, said at a news conference on Monday on the steps of City Hall that drew dozens of public officials and leaders of civil rights groups. “We cannot and we will not let hate go unchecked in our city.” See Ecuadoran Is Brain-Dead After Possible Bias Attack
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