Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hispanic man attacked, spit on because of race

Two 19-year-olds charged with bias-motivated assault

by Eli Stokols, News2

March 13, 2008

BOULDER (KWGN) — Two 19-year-olds are behind bars after allegedly yelling racial slurs at and punching a Hispanic man who was leaving a convenience store Tuesday night.

Josh Ruzek and Abraham Paquet are charged with bias-motivated assault. Police officers, who were quick to arrive on the scene, witnessed Paquet punching the victim, Ivan Ponce DeLeon, in the face.

It started as DeLeon was walking away from the PDQ store at 5200 Manhattan Circle, just off South Boulder Road.

"I walked by and heard them call me a Spic," De Leon said. "They said, 'Why are you stealing all our jobs?'"

DeLeon thought about fighting back -- "I wanted to," he said -- but held back and tried instead to go back inside the store and wait for police.

"They blocked me from going back in and pushed me out into the parking lot," DeLeon said. "Then one of them punched me, and the other spit on me."

According to police reports, Paquet stated he "hit the [sic] illegal alien because he shouldn't even be here"; and he lashed out at police.

"He called me and the other officers "pigs, just protecting the rights of the [sic] illegal aliens of this country," one officer wrote in his report. "We were just [sic] and cowards for not being able to stick up for our own rights and so on."

DeLeon came to the United States from his native Mexico six years ago and is married to a U.S. citizen. In two weeks, he will also take the oath of citizenship. The father of a 14-month-old son, he hopes that his son never has to endure the same kind of demeaning racial slurs he did.

DeLeon does plan to file charges against Ruzek and Paquet.

"I don't want this to happen to another guy," DeLeon said. "These guys need to learn that this isn't the way."

But, in DeLeon's mind, it increasingly is the way. Over the last year, as the national debate over immigration has intensified, he has been the target of other abuses, including another hate-laced tirade at a bar a few months back.

"It's gotten worse," he said.

Ruzek and Paquet are also suspected in another misdemeanor theft reported just a few hours before the assault at the gas station. In that case, a 15-year-old boy alleges that Ruzek and Paquet attacked him on a city bus and stole his skateboard and cell phone.

No charges are likely to be filed in connection with that report.

Copyright © 2008, KWGN

Source: TRB

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