MALDEF Calls on U.S. Attorney General Mukasey To Initiate Federal Civil Rights Investigation Into Brutal Beating Death Of Mexican Immigrant

Letter also seeks Community Relations Service intervention in Pennsylvania town

July 01, 2008

WASHINGTON, DC – In response to the brutal murder of Luis Ramirez, a Mexican immigrant who was beaten to death by up to six white teenagers last weekend, MALDEF is calling upon the United States Department of Justice to open a federal civil rights investigation and to send civil rights monitors to Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.

Ramirez came to the United States from Mexico six years ago and settled in Shenandoah. The 25-year old was raising three children with his fiancée while holding down two jobs. According to witnesses and local reports, he was accosted on Saturday evening, July 12 and suffered blows to the head and other parts of the body by a group shouting racial and ethnic epithets.

“The rise in hate crimes against Latinos documented by the FBI is painfully and tragically clear in the death of Luis Ramirez. A retired police officer overheard someone shouting ‘You tell all your Mexican friends to get out of town,’ at the time of the beating that resulted in his death,” stated MALDEF President and General Counsel John Trasviña. Statements by local officials, including the mayor and city manager, may impede the full investigation of the hate crimes aspects of the murder. In press accounts, both the Shenandoah mayor and borough manager denied the racial and ethnic aspects of the crime.

Last fall, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Hate Crimes Statistics Report documented a sharp increase in hate crimes against Hispanics based on their ethnicity or national origin. In its letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, MALDEF seeks a federal civil rights investigation to determine whether Luis Ramirez’s murder was a hate crime and, if so, to bring federal hate crimes charges against all those responsible. MALDEF is also requesting that Attorney General Mukasey send representatives from the Department of Justice Community Relations Service to Shenandoah to meet with community members.

For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund