Hate Attacks Inflame Racial Tensions Between NYC Latinos, Blacks

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When Rodolfo Olmedo was dragged down by a group of men shouting anti-Mexican epithets and bashed over the head with a wooden stick on the street outside his home, he instinctively covered his face to keep from getting disfigured. Blood filled his mouth.

“I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t because of the beating they were giving me,” said the 25-year-old baker. Nearly five months later, he is still taking pain medications for his head injuries.

Recorded by a store’s surveillance camera, the assault was the first of 11 suspected anti-Hispanic bias attacks in a Staten Island neighborhood, re-igniting years-old tensions between blacks and Hispanics in New York City’s most remote borough.

Local News Coverage:

Residents of Port Richmond — where an influx of newcomers from Latin America over the past decade has transformed the community — alternately blame the attacks on the economy, unemployment and the debate over Arizona’s immigration law.

And although most of the suspects were described as young black men and investigated for bias crimes, a grand jury has indicted only one of seven people arrested on a hate-crime charge.

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