Running Wild – Hate and Immigration on Long Island
Exclusive Broadcast Premiere Wednesday, November 11 at 11:30 p.m.
On November 8, 2008, a Long Island village was torn apart by seven Patchogue-Medford High School students who allegedly stabbed a man to death because they thought he was Mexican. The victim, Marcelo Lucero, 37, was actually from Gualaceo, Ecuador. He lived in Patchogue and worked at a dry cleaner, earning enough money to help build his mother a house back home. After 15 years in the U.S., Lucero intended to return to Ecuador that December—instead he arrived in a coffin. His murder shed light on a horrifying fact: the teens who committed the deadly hate crime had been hunting Latinos for sport, as often as weekly, for the past year. Last week, one of the accused attackers pled guilty to four felony charges for his role in the fatal assault at a scheduled court conference before State Supreme Court Justice Robert W. Doyle.
Running Wild – Hate and Immigration on Long Island explores the aftermath of Lucero’s murder and its effect on the Patchogue-Medford community. WLIW21 presents the exclusive broadcast premiere of the new half-hour documentary on Wednesday, November 11 at 11:30 p.m. Through the eyes of one Patchogue-Medford High School student, Anglica Colon, and her Latino advocate father, Francisco Hernandez, the film captures an entire community turning to chaos in the wake of the murder – fingers pointed in every direction to try to explain what happened. Interviews with senior William Garcia, junior Aneesha Masih and sophomore David Maldonado, illustrate students’ struggle to understand why their classmates and friends committed this atrocity.
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This Long Island tragedy reflects a nationwide trend: FBI statistics show that hate crimes against Latinos have risen 40 percent from 2003 to 2007, and the Suffolk County Police Department is now under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for its failure to crack down on these and other attacks against Latinos. Suffolk County Legislator for District 7 Jack Eddington (D, I) was one person who bore the brunt of the blame. Criticized for proposing “anti-Latino” legislation, Leg. Eddington was called a racist after the murder. His policies and those of other politicians, such as Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, were criticized for stoking hatred against immigrants.
After a contentious community meeting, Leg. Eddington asked Francisco Hernandez to meet with him. Together, they came up with a plan to try to tackle one problem seriously affecting the immigrant community: the fear of being harassed by police when playing soccer on city fields. Running Wild – Hate and Immigration on Long Island follows Leg. Eddington and Hernandez’s efforts to organize a wounded community around a common goal – a county-sponsored soccer tournament – and tracks the difficulties, failures and successes of taking on a national problem one small step at a time.
Filmmakers Tamara Bock and Angel Canales are recent graduates of Columbia University’s School of Journalism, where they produced Running Wild as their master’s project.
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