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October 20, 2009

Velázquez Speaks Out Against Bushwick Hate Crime

Washington, DC – During today’s early morning commute, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) joined NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Council Member Diana Reyna in an effort to alert the Bushwick community to an alleged hate crime committed on September 23, 2009.   The leaders urged individuals with knowledge of the crime to call the City’s Crime Stoppers Hotline.  The incident, in which a Hispanic male was assaulted, is being investigated by the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force Unit.  

Velázquez has co-sponsored legislation, H.R. 2684, to create a National Hate Crimes Hotline.  The service would be modeled after the National Domestic Violence Hotline, with a goal of increasing both the reporting of and local responsiveness to hate crimes.  The recent Bushwick attack was not reported until more than two weeks after it was committed.

The following is Congresswoman Velázquez’s statement:

“Whether the victim is black or white, gay or straight, man or a woman – crimes motivated by hate, as this one appears to be, are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.  The diversity in Bushwick is part of what makes this neighborhood strong and it needs to be protected. 

“Along with Congressmen Steve Israel and Jose Serrano, I introduced legislation that would make it easier and safer for victims of hate crimes to get help.  By making information more accessible as well as giving police the tools needed to apprehend criminals, this bill offers the protection residents need and helps prevent such crimes from happening in the future.

“As we approach the one year anniversary of the deadly beating of Jose Sucuzhañay, we must send the message that crimes motivated by hate are not tolerated in our City.  I call on anyone who has information about this crime to come forward immediately.”