Jury selection began earlier today in the case of two men who allegedly beat José Sucuzhañay to death near a Bushwick street corner in Dec. 2008.
Prosecutors contend Hakim Scott and Keith Phoenix shouted anti-gay and anti-Latino slurs at Sucuzhañay as they beat him with a baseball bat and broken bottles on Dec. 7, 2008. The two men reportedly thought the Ecuadorian immigrant was gay because he and his brother were arm and arm as they walked home from a local bar.
Sucuzhañay's death sparked widespread outrage across the five boroughs. Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn were among the hundreds who marched down Myrtle Avenue a week after Scott and Phoenix allegedly attacked Sucuzhañay. And Sucuzhañay's brother Diego continues to speak out against anti-immigrant and anti-LGBT hate crimes.
"We are suffering the same," Diego Sucuzhañay said at a Make the Road New York event in December that commemorated the first anniversary of his brother's death. "We are fighting for human rights. We need stop being treated as second class citizens."
The trial itself is expected to begin sometime next month.