The death of a Spring teenager who survived a brutal attack with a pipe last year came just a few months after he testified before congress in support of a federal hate crime law. Houston Public Radio’s Rod Rice reports.
18-year-old David Ritcheson’s testimony was arranged by the Anti Defamation League. Martin Cominsky, the ADL’s Regional Director, says Ritcheson was courageous in his effort to help others by working to gather support for the law.
“Well what the law does is it gives federal law enforcement authorities the right to help local law enforcement authorities when asked. Currently, unless there is a federal issue involved in a hate crime the FBI can not become involved in it.”
Ritcheson brutalized and sodomized with pipe while his assailants yelled “white power” required 30 surgeries following last year’s assault.
Cominsky says Ritcheson’s death is a sad reminder of the devastating affects hate crimes have on individuals, their families and their communities. He says the message is clear, we must learn to respect each other.
“We have to understand that we have to treat each other regardless of our race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, we have to treat each other respectfully and we have to tone down the rhetoric, the prejudice and the bigotry and we have to look at the common things that unit us as a nation and draw upon those things.”