World

Family of Slain Immigrant Files Lawsuit

  • in front of Brooklyn in New York, Monday, Nov. 22, 2010.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

    in front of Brooklyn in New York, Monday, Nov. 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

  • in front of Brooklyn in New York, Monday, Nov. 22, 2010.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

    in front of Brooklyn in New York, Monday, Nov. 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Two years after an Ecuadorian immigrant was stabbed to death by a gang of white teens in Long Island, the estate of the victim has filed a $40 million civil rights lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims that the brutal death of Marcelo Lucero was made possible because Suffolk County police and elected officials contributed to a climate of fear that boiled over.

The killing focused national attention on Suffolk County, sparking a damning report by the Southern Poverty Law Center and an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department into how police respond to bias attacks in Suffolk. The investigation is still active, the department said recently.

The Suffolk Police Department has launched a number of initiatives to improve relations with immigrant, Spanish-speaking residents. But some advocates have said that immigrants still live in fear.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, who suggested that Lucero's death would have been a "one-day story" if not for his anti-immigrant positions, has repeatedly declined comment.

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The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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