Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Immigration > Where’s la raza in the coverage of hate crime trial for the murder of Luis Ramírez Zavala

Where’s la raza in the coverage of hate crime trial for the murder of Luis Ramírez Zavala

By Gustavo Martinez Contreras
Posted on October 12, 2010
SCRANTON, PA — After a three-day recess, the federal trial against the two Shenandoah, Pa., men charged with a federal hate crime stemming from the 2008 beating death of Luis Eduardo Ramírez Zavala, an undocumented Mexican immigrant, resumes.
Derrick M. Donchak, 20, and Brandon J. Piekarsky, 18, face life in prison if found guilty.
During the first week of the trial at the William J. Nealon U.S. Courthouse in Scranton, the jury listened to testimony from friends of both of the accused who recounted the young men using racial slurs when referring to Hispanics, as well as, the two concocting with Shenandoah police officers on creating a cover-up.
Defense attorneys, James A. Swetz and William Fetterhoff, have questioned each witness’ credibility and recollection of the events that night. Also, they keep on arguing that what happened the night of the attack was a product of mixing three factors: youth, alcohol and testosterone.
However, there has been something missing during the coverage of this trial: la raza. The representative from the Mexican Consulate in Philadelphia and myself are the only ones who have been present since the beginning on Oct. 4.
Gladys Limón with MALDEF arrived Wednesday to be with Crystal Dillman, Luis Ramírez’ widow, who, at least once, had to leave the courtroom crying after listening to a 911 recording from the night of the attack.
The Hispanic press has been the most notable no-show in this federal trial. Not even El Mensajero de PA or La Voz Latina, the two local newspapers claiming to represent Scranton’s Latino community, have covered the case.
There was no mention of the trial on their web sites, as this post was being uploaded.
Dr. Agapito López
Somebody that actually showed up was Dr. Agapito López, community activist, who said that the lack of Hispanics in the jury would have an impact on the final verdict.
Later, I went to take a walk through Scranton and came across a Mexican restaurant. There, server Lalo Martínez came to talk and all of a sudden we were already talking about the trial.
Lalo Martínez
He said it worried him there were no Latino organizations giving voice to Luis Ramirez and the community in general.
In the following videos, you’ll hear what the two of them think about the lack of Latinos in the entire process.

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