FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 9, 2010
MAYOR BLOOMBERG, POLICE COMMISSIONER KELLY AND COUNCIL SPEAKER QUINN UPDATE NEW YORKERS ON BRONX HATE CRIME INVESTIGATION
The following are Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s Remarks as Delivered:
“Good afternoon. At the start, I want thank Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Inspector Michael Osgood and his team at the Hate Crime Task Force for their swift apprehension of the suspects arrested for the vicious attacks against three men in the Bronx in a robbery against a fourth men that occurred last Sunday.
“As you know, seven individuals were arrested earlier this week for their brutal torture of these men. And when you hear the details of what occurred, torture, really is the only word that comes to mind. The charges against the seven men arrested include unlawful imprisonment, abduction, assault, robbery, sodomy and menacing. And all will be charged with hate crimes. As you know this is still an active investigation and there’s just been another major development that Commissioner Kelly will tell you about in a minute. But first I wanted to say a few words about these attacks.
“Like many New Yorkers, I was sickened by the brutal nature of these crimes and saddened by the anti-gay bias that contributed to them. No one in this city should ever, ever have to feel afraid because of race, religion, or sexual orientation. Hate crimes such as these strike fear in all of us. And they chip away at the tolerance and equality that have always been the pillars of our great City.
“Our diversity is our greatest strength and when any New Yorker is attacked because of who they are or who they love, the fabric that binds us together is torn. And yet New Yorkers have always had an answer to acts of prejudice and intolerance: and that is: we reject them. We renounce them. So let me be clear to anyone who would contemplate targeting a fellow New Yorker like this: the greatest police department in the world will find you swiftly, you will be prosecuted to the full extent under the law, and you will go to jail for a very long time.
“The heartless men who committed these crimes should know that their fellow New Yorkers will not tolerate their vicious acts, or the hatred that fuels them. And I hope the parents and faith and community leaders across this City will take this opportunity to talk to our children about the power of hateful acts, and also hateful words. Because in the last few weeks we have seen far too many examples of how this hate gets twisted into a weapon that can destroy young people, and even cut short their promising lives.
“There are so many disturbing things about this most recent attack in the Bronx, but one of the worst is the young age of some of the victims and the perpetrators. They are teenagers – the same age as thousands of students in our public schools. We understand that building a city of respect and tolerance starts with our children, and that’s why two years ago we worked with Speaker Quinn and the Council to give our schools the most comprehensive anti-bullying policy in the nation. Now, for the first time, there are clear well publicized rules in our schools about what is and isn’t appropriate. They cover everything from bias related harassment, intimidation and bullying to taunts, stalking, and written slurs including those posted online. And they send a clear message to all schools, students, and communities- that harassment driven by any kind of prejudice including race, religion, gender, gender identity, immigration status and sexual orientation will not be tolerated. Now we continuing to reinforce our ‘respect for all’ message in everyway we can. Last year schools, we held ‘respect for all’ week in our schools and will do so again. Speaker Quinn is a key partner in that effort and we will hear from her in a minute.”
“I want to say something directly to the young people and students in our City who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. And that is that you belong here. This city welcomes and celebrates your right to be here and love who you want. What we do not welcome are those who hate. In our schools we have zero tolerance for bullying and harassment. The message to our students is that they must treat one another with respect and dignity. And I can pledge on behalf of all of us that we will continue to work to ensure that we live in a city where every citizen is treated that way.
“Let me finish up by just saying, number one, I don’t think there is anybody that has worked as hard in the City to ensure that everybody is treated equally than Speaker Quinn. She has been the, as far as I’m concerned, in some senses the guiding light for Commissioner Kelly and me. She is tireless and understanding. This has to be a city open to everyone and it’s not just the LGBT community that she has worked hard, but every community in this City. In terms of Commissioner Kelly, this is the best police commissioner this City has ever had, probably the best Police Commissioner anyway. And, I can tell you, he takes these crimes as seriously as anything that he possibly can.
“This City is not going to tolerate for one second anybody that commits a hate crime. We’re not going to tolerate people that harass other people. Everybody does have a right to their own views, but everybody also has a right to go around be safe and not be harassed by others. And we are not going to rest until number one, we get the ninth person here, and hopefully they will be prosecuted. But even more important, since this group is obviously in custody and I assume will stay in custody for a very long time, the real issue we have to face is why did this happen and how we do to prevent future events like this . These are young people. You know, if at this state they have such hatred and lack of tolerance what did we all do wrong as parents, and as educators, as citizens of this City. This never should have happened and we’ve just got to double our efforts to make sure that it does not happen again.”
Stu Loeser/ Jason Post (212) 788-2958
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