A Mexican day laborer suffered brain damage after being attacked on Broadway by three men shouting “wetback,” as they punched him off his bike in broad daylight. The incident occurred on Sept. 23, but was not reported to the police until Oct. 9 because Mario Vera, the victim, was worried about revealing his status as an illegal immigration.
Yesterday, his wife, Anna Gallardo, made a tearful public appearance asking witnesses to come forward and help detectives find the attackers. Police are offering a $12,000 reward for anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the crime.
Vera was biking with groceries he had picked up at a food pantry in Manhattan when three young black males assaulted him near Broadway and Lafayette, police said. After struggling to get home, he began vomiting and losing consciousness. Eventually, his wife brought him to Woodhull Hospital where doctors couldn’t find anything wrong and sent him home with a couple of Tylenols.
It wasn’t until Vera went to get flu shots at Beth Israel Hospital that a social worker noticed his worsening condition and he has since been in intensive care. Head scans found three blood clots and traumatic brain injuries which have caused Vera memory loss to the extent where he can no longer recognize his own family.
The attack occurred barely a block away from the site of the Jose Sucuzhañay incident last winter. Because the attackers were shouting anti-Mexican slurs, police are handling this case as a hate crime. Anyone with information about the incident can call 1-800-577-TIPS.
Lastly, Telemundo’s report on the incident makes it a point to remind the public that police officers cannot ask crime victims about their immigration status under NYPD policy.