An immigrant from Ecuador, 37, was stabbed to death in Patchogue, Long Island, a year ago. Accused of the crime are high school students who said they were out to bash immigrants on a night of “beaner hopping.” National Public Radio reports that the Justice Department is investigating whether Suffolk County police have a pattern of ignoring hate crimes.
The official number of hate crimes in Suffolk County has dropped in the past decade. New York State Assembly member Phil Ramos says that’s because the police feel pressure not to report incidents. “You have elected officials pressuring the police department to keep the numbers low, because if hate crime numbers go up, those elected officials are going to get blamed for inflaming racist sentiment,” he says. This allegation is what the Justice Department is investigating.