By Frank Eltman
GARDEN CITY, N.Y. — Hispanic advocates claimed Tuesday that the Long Island police department that investigated the killing of an Ecuadorean immigrant fails to adequately investigate crimes committed by whites against Latinos.
In a complaint to the U.S. Justice Department, the national advocacy group Latino Justice contended that the Suffolk County Police Department discourages Latinos from reporting crimes.
Police and county officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but they have repeatedly said since the Nov. 8 killing of Marcelo Lucero that crime victims are not asked about their residency status.
Seven Long Island teenagers have pleaded not guilty to charges including gang assault after police say they surrounded Lucero and another man near a train station. The men were targeted by the group because they were Hispanic, police said, and were only the latest victims in what authorities believe was a marauding spree by the teenagers.
Lucero's companion fled and called for help, but the 37-year-old laborer was killed when he was stabbed once in the chest. The 17-year-old accused of inflicting the fatal blow is being held without bail, charged with murder as a hate crime.
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Police Commissioner Richard Dormer announced Monday that the highest-ranking Hispanic officer in the department was taking over as a precinct commander.