US charges teens, police officers in attack - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

US charges teens, police officers in attack

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FILE - In this file photo provided Crystal Dillman, Luis Ramirez lies in his hospital bed hours before his death at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa. Ramirez, 25, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, died July 14, 2008. FILE - In this file photo provided Crystal Dillman, Luis Ramirez lies in his hospital bed hours before his death at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa. Ramirez, 25, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, died July 14, 2008.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. grand jury has indicted two teenagers and four police officers in a hate crimes investigation into a fatal attack on a Hispanic man in the Pennsylvania coal town of Shenandoah.

Derrick Donchak and Brandon Piekarsky were charged with a hate crime for the fatal beating of Luis Ramirez while shouting racial epithets at him in July 2008.

In the U.S. legal system, grand juries are composed of civilians who examine evidence to see if it is sufficient to bring charges.

Separate indictments accuse the Shenandoah police chief, Matthew Nestor, and three officers under his command with a variety of charges, including witness tampering and lying to the FBI. The indictments were announced Tuesday at the Justice Department.

Nestor, Lt. William Moyer, and Officer Jason Hayes were charged with conspiring to obstruct justice during the investigation into the Ramirez beating. Moyer was charged with witness and evidence tampering, and lying to the FBI.

Four youths — including Donchak and Piekarsky — were previously charged in state court in connection with Ramirez's death. A jury cleared two other teens of all serious charges, and a fourth pleaded guilty to federal charges.

Piekarsky was acquitted by an all-white jury of third-degree murder and ethnic intimidation; Donchak was acquitted of aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation. Both were convicted of simple assault, which carry possible one- or two-year prison sentences.

The May verdicts were decried by Hispanic advocates who say Ramirez's death is part of a rising tide of hate crimes against Latinos.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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