The NYPD Hate Crime Task Force is combing Tremont and Fordham for hooligans who punched and stabbed three Mexican-Americans in what some are referring to as bias attacks. The hooligans are thought to be of Dominican descent.
The first attack unfolded at 1:45 a.m. on Saturday, August 29 at E. 182nd Street and Grand Concourse. Four men shouting anti-Mexican epithets chased and beat two 24-year old men. At 4 a.m. on Sunday, August 30 at E. 182nd Street and Walton Avenue, five men punched and stabbed a 53-year old man. At 5 a.m. on Monday, August 31, five men hurled anti-Mexican epithets at a 47-year old man and assaulted him.
The victims were listed in stable condition. The task force made an arrest on Thursday, September 3, nabbing Bronx resident Alejandro Rosis. An investigation is ongoing.
“I was told that there had been an arrest,” said Detective Warren Thompson, community affairs officer at the 46th Precinct. “There are good leads.”
Tremont and Fordham are home to thousands of immigrants from Latin America, West Africa, Europe and the Caribbean, Thompson said. Immigrants from Mexico, Ecuador and West Africa are often afraid to phone the police; some are in the Bronx illegally, Thompson said. Thugs tend to target immigrants they guess won’t retaliate.
“Immigrants are afraid of being deported by the police,” Thompson said. “But we don’t operate that way. We’re not allowed to phone immigration on anybody. We deal with the crime and the prosecution of the perpetrator.”
Thompson thinks bias may have been a factor in the attacks. There are bound to be tensions when people of different backgrounds live together, he said. But Tremont and Fordham are harmonious neighborhoods, considering. “We’re such a melting pot but we don’t see conflicts like this often,” Thompson said.
Angel Cabellero of Davidson Community Center works with Mexican-Americans. Cabellero isn’t alarmed about tensions between Mexican and Dominican-Americans but is concerned about crime in general.
“We are seeing a rise in crime,” he said. “We need more cops on the street. When you phone, it takes two hours for the cops to respond. I haven’t seen it like this since the 1970s.”
Thompson is working to set up a meeting with Mexican-American residents at St. Simon Stock Church on Valentine Avenue. Senator Pedro Espada held a press conference to condemn the attacks on Wednesday, September 2 and promised a $1000 reward for information. Councilwoman Maria Baez is supporting the investigation.
“I condemn in the strongest terms possible this type of racist, thuggish behavior,” Baez said. “I am advocating that they be prosecuted as hate crimes…As a Latino myself, I have zero tolerance for racism and bias…I take it personally that one of these attacks took place across the street from my campaign office.”
In August, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly met with West African Muslim residents in to discuss bias attacks near the Butler Houses in Claremont.
Phone (800) 577-TIPS or log on to www.nypd-crimestoppers.com with information on the Tremont and Fordham attacks.