MALDEF Commends Pennsylvania Governor's Call for Justice in Luis Ramirez Hate Crime Death
Governor Rendell statement today echoes MALDEF’s petition to the U.S. Department of Justice
May 29, 2009
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell echoed the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s (MALDEF) call for justice in the beating death of Luis Ramirez in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice. In a strongly-worded letter, the Governor called the crime a “senseless and cowardly attack [that] appears to have been a hate crime as racial slurs were hurled against Mr. Ramirez throughout the fatal assault."
MALDEF applauds Governor Rendell’s leadership in condemning the crime against Luis Ramirez and announcing that the State of Pennsylvania will not tolerate race-motivated crimes. His voice in the matter and call to the Department of Justice substantiate the concerns of the Latino community in both Shenandoah and communities around the nation where Latinos are victims of increasing hate crime attacks. Luis Ramirez lost his life in July 2008, after he was knocked unconscious and kicked in the head by a group of Shenandoah teenagers who yelled racial epithets before and during the brutal beating. A Schuylkill County Court jury acquitted Brandon Piekarsky, 17, of third-degree murder and ethnic intimidation and Derrick Donchak, 19, of aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation. Both were convicted of simple assault.
Excerpt from today's letter:
“Such lawlessness and violence hurts not only the direct victim of the attack but also our towns and communities that are torn apart by such bigotry and intolerance.”
“The evidence suggests that Mr. Ramirez was targeted, beaten and killed because he was Mexican. Such lawlessness and violence hurts not only the direct victim of the attack but also our towns and communities that are torn apart by such bigotry and intolerance. That is why I am pleased that the Department of Justice is presently investigating whether to bring civil rights charges against Piekarsky and Donchak for their role in the fatal beating of Mr. Ramirez.”
Read the full letter here: www.maldef.org/news/releases/ramirezletter0529091.pdf
For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.