crimesider

Staten Island Teen Christian Vazquez Attacked in Apparent Anti-Mexican Hate Crime

(CBS)
(CBS)

NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Staten Island has seen a string of recent bias attacks targeting Mexican immigrants, despite stepped up police patrols, and now the latest victim is speaking out. Eighteen-year-old Christian Vazquez, who was assaulted early Saturday morning while heading home from his job as a restaurant busboy, became a victim despite spending the past five years working with a youth anti-violence group that's trained to help others combat bias.

He admits he was terrified by his ordeal.

Vazquez says his attackers kicked and punched him to the ground leaving his eye swollen and his body covered in bruises. His assailants reportedly yelled anti-Mexican epithets during the attack, reports the New York Daily News.

Vazquez told the newspaper his main concern is bringing the perpetrators to justice so that this type of senseless violence doesn't take a life.

"What happened to me could happen to a mother, could happen to a father," he told the newspaper, "and maybe the next victim could end up dead."

Police have tracked down one of his alleged attackers, says the paper.

Ironically enough, the 15-year-old whose name has not been released is also an immigrant, from Liberia. He was being held after appearing at a hearing in Staten Island Family Court.

Vazquez's message to his attackers is bold.

"If you've got a conscience, just come out and say you did it," Vazquez said.

According to the New York Daily News, the attack on Christian Vazquez was the 11th hate crime in the borough of Staten Island since April.