A July 28 court date in East Hampton on the case of the beating of Luis Ochoa by the accused Michael Dombrowski resulted in a postponment until September 15 so it can be determined if the defendent must take further instruction in the anti-bias class run by the County Human Rights Commission.
Last week the South Fork Chapter of the Long Island Progressive Coalition issued a statement urging the Southampton and East Hampton Anti-Bias Task Forces to continue to expose hate crimes. The statement appeared in the Southampton Press of August 4.
The statement reads in part:
The South Fork Chapter of the Long Island Progressive Coalition strongly supports the East Hampton Anti-Bias Task Force (ABTF) in its condemnation of acts of violence combined with expressions of hatred against members of a racial, ethnic or sexual minority, i.e. a bias or hate crime.
Ignoring such acts can lead to an atmosphere in the community where those who would perpetrate such crimes are encouraged and those who are the targets of these acts will fearfully hide from view.
While a recent incident involving threats against an immigrant family in Southampton was reported to the police, experts in the field (and the FBI, which keeps statistics on hate crimes in the U.S. believe that there are many more such hate crimes perpetrated than reported. *
Because of fear on the part of the victim or belief nothing will be done, these kinds of crime too often result in no charges being brought as they are notoriously difficult to prosecute and in some jurisdictions notoriously plea bargained away.
The accused in the Montauk incident has now signed up for a course usually ordered by the court for those convicted of hate crimes. We hope that he will benefit. But at a time when anti-immigrant sentiment appears to be rising on Long Island, we must be most vigilant to stem these kinds of crime.
We also urge everyone on the East End to join us in supporting the Southern Poverty Law Center's focus on "Reform Hate Crime Reporting" in their national campaign, "Every Victim Counts" **
The South Fork Chapter of the Long Island Progressive Coalition strongly urges the East Hampton and Southampton Town Anti-Bias Task Forces to continue their policy of working to expose these crimes whenever they occur, and to make sure that they are not ignored by the authorities.