Police canvass area as beating death raises concerns over hate crimes
August 22, 2010 § Leave a comment
After a man was beaten to death early Saturday morning in what police call a hate crime— the latest in a string of attacks against Hispanics in the area — officers and neighborhood volunteers walked door-to-door to promote a dialogue with police and the Spanish-speaking community. Saturday night, police had made an arrest in the overnight killing in the 200 block of N. Kenwood Ave. Officers were called at about 2:15 a.m. for an assault and found 51-year-old Martin Reyez suffering from severe head and facial trauma after he was beaten with a piece of wood. Reyez, of the 400 block of N. Kenwood Ave., was pronounced dead at the scene. Jermaine Holley, 19, of the 3600 block of Erdman Ave. was charged with first-degree murder after police said he confessed, and that the motive was not robbery, as witnesses had earlier told police. Instead, police classified the homicide as a hate crime because Holley indicated in his statement to police that he “hated Hispanics,” said department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. Authorities are concerned by the series of assaults, which includes a fatal shooting last weekend. Criminals might believe some Hispanics are easy targets because of possible language barriers or a reluctance to call the police, Guglielmi said. Residents who are concerned about their immigration status should not be afraid to call the police, Guglielmi said. “Our message to the community is to call us. This is not an immigration issue. It’s just a public safety concern. There’s a lot of misinformation in the community that if people call us, immigration will become involved,” he said.