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A Stunning Denial of Justice in Shenandoah


Jill Garvey • May 06, 2009

While the world was glued to flu coverage last week, justice crumbled in tiny Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. The tragedy began almost a year ago when Luis E. Ramirez was beaten to death by a group of white male teenagers. Reports of the attack describe it as racially-motivated and brutal. A report by CNN stated, “After a night of drinking, the teens taunted the undocumented worker with racial epithets, pummeled him to the ground and then kicked him in the head, court documents charge. He died in a hospital two days later.”

The trial for two of Ramirez’s attackers ended on Friday when Derrick Donchak, 19, and Brandon Piekarsky, 17, were acquitted of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and ethnic intimidation. Attorneys for the two attackers argued that Ramirez was in fact the aggressor against the four intoxicated teens. Right. Anyway, the all-white jury seemed to find that pretty plausible and only found Donchak and Pierkarsky guilty of simple assault. Everything about this story, from the investigation to the trial, stinks of old-fashioned collusion, cover-up, and bigotry.

Injustice is meted out to the disadvantaged every day in this country, but sometimes the brazenness is too much to bear. Aside from the controversial handling of the case by local police (it took 13 days to arrest the teens for one), anti-immigrant groups wasted no time capitalizing on the racial tensions in the community, setting up shop within weeks of the murder. Not surprisingly there have been more hate crimes committed in Shenandoah since then.

I’ve been talking about ALIPAC a lot lately, from tea bag parties to stirring up swine flu fear to rallying against immigrants in Shenandoah, the folks at ALIPAC seem to pop everywhere that white supremacy needs a hand (read here for more info on ALIPAC’s increasing activity). William Gheen, ALIPAC leader, along with his friends at Voice of the People USA, Illegal Protest and Last Americans Standing, were the organizers of a nice rally in Shenandoah for anti-immigrant supporters, a month after Luis Ramirez died and the same day as a unity rally. Mighty sensitive of them, huh? This was the same rally where a group of racist skinheads showed up to lend their support. Although Gheen says they weren’t invited, he failed to ask them to leave. After Friday’s verdict, these were some of the disturbing messages posted on ALIPAC’s forum:

Posted: Sat May 02, 2009 12:45 am Post subject: Shenandoah Teens: Free at Last!
by Turtle
The verdict is in: Not Guilty for most charges. Brandon Piekarsky was found guilty only of simple assault. Derrick Donchak was found guilty only of simple assault, 3 counts of corruption of minors, and 3 counts of furnishing alcohol to minors.
VICTORY!!!!
I had the honor and pleasure of spending the day with the families of both boys, and was invited into the family room for the duration of the jury deliberations. Out of respect for these people who have been through much more than they ever should have been, I won’t elaborate. I will say, however, that they are all loving, caring, family-oriented people and all were distraught over this whole mess. I’m glad I was able to be their voice for the last nine months.

Posted: Sat May 02, 2009 11:46 am Post subject: Re: Shenandoah Teens: Free at Last!
by jshhmr
WOW! This was very unexpected. I figured that the illegals were going to get their way on this one. Finally, some justice being served. I KNEW there was more to this story than the illegals wanted to admit.

And then in response to another poster’s misgivings about celebrating a murder, jshhmr writes,

I do feel bad for the guy, but it’s just like we say when the reverse happens. If he hadn’t been here to begin with it wouldn’t have happened. He would be back home enjoying the life that he was supposed to live. He chose to break laws, including rape. I believe in karma. Things happen for a reason.

As I’ve previously pointed out, ALIPAC recently formed a coalition with twenty-five other anti-immigrant groups, most of whom are funded by, off-shoots of, or closely associated with the John Tanton Network.

Hateful forces are brewing in the Shenandoahs all over America, turning small-town kids into hateful killers. I should know, I went to high school with a kid who joined a neo-Nazi group that set up shop in our community. One day this “kid” went on a killing spree - targeting and murdering African-Americans and Jews. Luis Ramirez was targeted because of the color of his skin; this was not a street fight gone too far. It is time we recommit our nation to tolerance and expose those in our communities who incite hate.

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