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Justice for Manuel Mayi killed by White mob

The official police department statement has been that the killing of the 18-year-old honor student from Queens College was not racially motivated. The authorities said that it was an assault that was graffiti-motivated. “My son was killed because he was Latino,” Ms. Mayi told The Final Call during a telephone interview. Ms. Mayi said that the NYPD Cold Case Squad is now vigorously re-investigating the case, and that a week ago sealed documents were ordered opened by a Queens’ judge.

“If my son did this graffiti, why didn’t they just call the cops,” argues Ms. Mayi. “That was no reason to kill him,” she stressed.
Justice for Manuel Mayi killed by White mob
By Saeed Shabazz
Staff Writer
Updated Apr 28, 2005, 06:37 pm



NEW YORK (FinalCall.com) - Altagracia Mayi insists that she will never cease pursuing justice for her only son, Manuel, 18, who died on March 29, 1991 after being beaten by a mob of White youths in the Corona section of Queens.

On April 9, Ms. Mayi led the 14th annual march and rally down the 16 blocks used by her son in his attempt to escape his pursuers. A flyer announcing the march said, “Without justice, we have no peace and we have no future.”

The official police department statement has been that the killing of the 18-year-old honor student from Queens College was not racially motivated. The authorities said that it was an assault that was graffiti-motivated. “My son was killed because he was Latino,” Ms. Mayi told The Final Call during a telephone interview.

Ms. Mayi said that the NYPD Cold Case Squad is now vigorously re-investigating the case, and that a week ago sealed documents were ordered opened by a Queens’ judge.

“If my son did this graffiti, why didn’t they just call the cops,” argues Ms. Mayi. “That was no reason to kill him,” she stressed.

She recounted the medical report: cause of death, fracture of skull, and contusions of the brain due to blunt force impact. She explained that a bias crime designation would mean a broader inquiry into the social dynamics of the Corona neighborhood, which she has called home for 24 years. Residents claim bias incidents are common, but rarely reported. Activists claim that, on Mar. 12, a Latino male was stabbed to death and another was shot at the corner of 108th Street and 53rd Avenue, during a melee involving at least 40 people. Residents claim that such brawls involving White mobs have become common in the area.

Observers say the Corona neighborhood is a Mafia stronghold, although many of its residents are from immigrant nations.

“My son wanted to become an engineer, but now he is dead, and no one has paid for his murder,” Ms. Mayi said, pointing out that the police made an arrest after only two months back in 1991, which she believes means that the police know who killed her son.

Three youths were arrested; one was put on trial, but won an acquittal. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown continues to tell reporters that he will prosecute anyone charged with the crime.

“The district attorney says bring him stronger proof. I don’t trust the local authorities. I want the federal government to charge these people with violating my son’s civil rights,” Ms. Mayi said.

The District Attorney’s office was not reached for comment. A spokesman for Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the mayor was sympathetic to the family because they have yet to reach closure.

A report released by the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights Justice Committee suggests that the police refused to drive around witnesses who wanted to identify suspects minutes after the beating. Ms. Mayi said that the district attorney withheld a tape of a 16-year-old girl who witnessed the beating.

“This is why I want the feds to take over the case,” Ms. Mayi said, charging that the prosecution’s first investigation was sloppy and full of cover-ups. “I have been to court 47 times. Can you imagine what it has been like going back and forth to court that many times, and nothing happens?” she asked.

“The Latino community has lost their faith in the justice system that espouses civil rights,” argues Anthony Miranda, president of the National Latino Police Officers Association.

Councilman Hiram Montserrate (D-Queens) claims that the Mayi case is a way to gauge Mayor Bloomberg’s commitment to social justice to all communities of color.

Mr. Miranda claims that the beatings, killings and harassment of the Latino community at the hands of White mobs stays below the radar screen because the public seems to only react to that which is clearly Black and White. He blames that on the authorities who refuse to classify this level of violence against Latinos as bias crimes.

“If the word ‘n----r’ was not used, the authorities just dismiss the case as an assault,” he contends, further arguing that too often people get paid off, or are scared off by the Mafia world, so the public doesn’t get to see the depth of the problem.

Ms. Mayi insists that gangs of Whites continue to brutalize children from minority communities throughout the city. “I tell people that this is no longer just about my son, this is for all of those who have been victimized, such as the Mexican guy who was killed recently,” she said.

“People are scared to speak up. They have threatened me, but I am not scared. I have to continue to seek justice,” said the office cleaner, who has become a community activist.

“It is the mothers, the relatives and communities of the victims that have made the difference—putting pressure on the authorities, forcing results. Ms. Mayi has been a driving force in keeping bias against Latinos on the front burner,” offered Mr. Miranda.

He said that the key to getting the authorities to vigorously prosecute bias cases against all people of color is the grassroots movement in the streets. He insisted, “We can’t give up—that’s the answer.”



Copyright 2005 FCN Publishing, FinalCall.com

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