Monday, August 9, 2010

A sense of justice comes to Brooklyn

As activists, politicians and other officials continue to respond to the series of hate crimes that have shaken Staten Island in recent months, it would be completely remiss not to acknowledge the Sucuzhañay family received some sense of justice last week in a Brooklyn court room.

Judge Patricia Del Mango on Thursday, Aug. 5, sentenced Keith Phoenix to 37 years to life in prison for José Sucuzhañay’s murder on a Bushwick street corner in Dec. 2008. Hakim Scott received a 40 year sentence for manslaughter, but a separate jury in May declined to convict him on a second degree murder as a hate crime charge.

I first learned the details of this horrific crime at a City Hall press conference roughly 48 hours after the two men attacked José Sucuzhañay at the intersection of Bushwick Avenue and Kossuth Place. Reporters are supposed to check their emotions at the door before they cover a story, but this task became virtually impossible as City Council Speaker Christine Quinn detailed what happened roughly 10 blocks from my apartment on that cold December morning.

Nothing will obviously bring José Sucuzhañay back, but a judge gave some resemblance of justice to his family, friends and community who continue to mourn his tragic death.

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