Like countless other Americans that night, a group of young Staten Island men gathered on Nov. 4 to watch election results, and then took to the streets when it became clear that the country had elected its first black president.
But, the authorities say, they were not out to celebrate. Armed with a police-style baton and a metal pipe, they attacked a black teenager, pushed another black man, harassed a Hispanic man and, in a finishing flourish, ran over a white man who they thought was black, leaving him in a coma, the authorities said.
A federal indictment unsealed on Wednesday charged the men, Ralph Nicoletti, 18; Michael Contreras, 18; and Brian Carranza, 21, with conspiracy to interfere with voting rights in their efforts to “injure, oppress, threaten and intimidate” black people on Staten Island on election night. . .
Outside court, Jeneba Lapedo, Ali Kamara’s mother, said: “I told the judge my son didn’t deserve what happened to him. They beat him up and he was screaming and he had to jump over a fence for his life. After that he was bleeding and he called me.
“He called me and said, ‘Mama please don’t let me die.’ And that’s the only child I have.”
Ms. Lapedo was accompanied by Aliya Latif, civil rights director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in New York.
“We are deeply disturbed,” Ms. Latif said, “by these instances not only because of the bias motive but because of the possible negative impact on equal participation in the political process. As such we trust this case will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” (Full Story)