PFAW Statement on Possible Hate Crime in Texas

Skinheads accused of brutal sexual assault that left 17-year-old victim near death

On Saturday, April 22, a 17-year-old Hispanic boy in Texas was allegedly beaten at the hands of two white teenagers. They reportedly shouted racial epithets while stomping on his head with steel-toed boots, sodomizing him with a plastic pipe, which caused massive internal injuries, pouring bleach over his body, and leaving him for dead. The victim remains in critical condition. The alleged assailants have a record of racial bias that includes cross burning and flying the Nazi flag.

People For the American Way issued the following statement:

“This brutal crime is a tragedy and a cause for great sorrow. It is also a call to action.

“Extremist ideologies that hold that some classes of people are inferior to others are extraordinarily dangerous. Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered because he was gay. James Byrd, Jr., was brutally murdered because he was black. This young man lies near death most likely because he is Hispanic.

“While most bigots never turn to violence, and most crimes like these are committed by those who are truly at the fringe, it is easier for the most extreme ideologies to take root when more nuanced, supposedly less-extreme bigotry goes unchallenged.

“All bigotry is wrong. All rhetoric that seeks to de-humanize and demonize certain groups of people and privilege others is despicable. All of us have a responsibility as individuals to speak out against such rhetoric wherever we encounter it.

“Our government also has a responsibility to its citizens. We join with other organizations around the country in calling on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to launch a formal investigation into this crime and to make sure that its perpetrators are held accountable.”

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