Crowley Condemns Vicious Hate-Fueled Attack on College Point Resident

Oct 15, 2009 Issues:

Queens, N.Y. —Congressman Crowley (D-Queens, Bronx) released the following statement condemning Monday’s vicious bias-related attack against College Point, Queens resident, Jack Price:

“Monday night’s vicious, hate-fueled attack on Jack Price is a horrifying act of cowardice.   I stand with leaders from across Queens in condemning this appalling act of violence.  There should be no tolerance for hate crimes of any kind in our community – against gay or straight, man or woman, immigrant or native.  Queens thrives because of its diversity and this attack does not reflect the goodness of our neighbors and friends.”

“We need to come together and work to prevent terrible hate crimes like this.  We can start by intensifying our efforts to teach acceptance and a respect for all types of diversity.  That is why I joined my colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives law week in approving critical legislation to make hate crimes against gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered Americans a Federal crime.  In the coming days, President Obama is expected to sign this into law.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to Jack, his family and loved ones, as he recovers from both the physical and emotional scars felt also by the entire Queens LGBT community.”

BACKGROUND ON FEDERAL HATE CRIMES LANGUAGE

On October 8, 2008, the House passed the Conference Report for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (HR 2647) which included Federal hate crimes language.  The Senate is expected to pass this bill in the coming weeks, and President Obama has stated he will sign the bill into law.

The current federal hate crimes statute, enacted in 1968 shortly after the assassination of the Rev Martin Luther King Jr., provides for federal assistance in the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes in the cases of a violent crime committed against persons because of their race, color, religion, or national origin.  This law will be expanded to also provide federal assistance in the cases of a hate crime committed against persons because of their gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. 

The Federal hate crimes bill is focused on enhancing the resources of state and local law enforcement to both prevent and prosecute hate crimes.  State and local authorities currently prosecute the overwhelming majority of hate crimes.  The special attention that these crimes require can stretch local law enforcement resources beyond their capacity.  Thus, the major focus of this bill is to allow the Federal Government to provide crucial resources to state and local agencies to equip local officers with the tools they need to prosecute hate crimes.  The legislation also authorizes the Attorney General to make grants to state and local law enforcement agencies that have incurred extraordinary expenses associated with the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes.   

The number of violent cases involving gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender victims is climbing, according to the national Coalition of anti-Violence, which tracks such cases. In 2007 alone, there were 7,624 reported hate crimes.

This week’s attack is not the first time a gay-related hate crime has unfolded in Queens. Last December, an Ecuadorian immigrant was murdered because the perpetrators thought he was gay.  In 2001, Edgar Garzon was attacked outside of a gay club in Jackson Heights, Queens, and died from his injuries. Near the same location in 1990, another man, Julio Rivera, was killed “because he was gay,” as stated by one of the defendants in the case.