Shenandoah, PA: When two Pennsylvania teenagers were acquitted in May in the fatal beating of a Mexican immigrant laborer, many people, from the victim's widow to the state governor, felt justice had not been served. Apparently the Department of Justice had similar concerns. And now they're charging local police as well. On Dec. 10, 2009, Derrick Donchak, 18, and Brandon Pikarsky, 19, were indicted on federal hate crime charges in the July 2008 beating death of 25-year-old Luis Eduardo Ramirez Zavala. The town's police chief and two police officers were also indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and covering up evidence to protect the defendants, who were popular high school football players. Prosecutors told reporters the investigation was spoiled because the officers helped the boys invent a story that concealed the racial motivation for their attack. Donchak and Piekarsky were acquitted by an all-white county jury of murder, manslaughter, and aggravated assault, Pennsylvania's equivalent of hate crimes. They were found guilty of simple assault and given light jail time. Piekarsky was scheduled for release this month.
Shenandoah, PA: After last week’s acquittal of two Pennsylvania teenagers charged with the fatal beating of Luis Ramirez, July 12, 2008, the civil rights group Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund has called on the U.S. Justice Department to intervene. “It is time for the Department of Justice to step in and bring justice to the Ramirez family and send a strong message that violence targeting immigrants will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said MALDEF Interim President Henry Solano. Justice Department spokesman Alejandro Miyar says the civil rights division is reviewing evidence in the case.