Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Construction Workers Charged with Gang Assault in Scab Smackdown

BRONX, NEW YORK, April 24- District Attorney Robert T. Johnson announced that an indictment was unsealed charging five members of a minority labor coalition with multiple counts of assault, weapons possession, and coercion stemming from a protest seeking jobs at a construction site.

The 42-count indictment charges defendants Sammy Lopez, Freddy Diaz, Willie Lidge, Carlos Cruz, and Leon Daniels with gang assault in the first and second degrees, attempted gang assault in the first and second degrees, assault in the first and second degrees, coercion in the first degree, and criminal possession of a weapon in the third and fourth degrees. 

The charges in the indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The defendants are facing maximum sentences of up to 25 years imprisonment if convicted of the most serious Class B felony offenses of gang assault in the first degree and assault in the first degree.

These charges stem from a violent confrontation on October 26, 2010 over a demand for jobs at a construction site at Bronxwood Avenue and East 213th Street. It is alleged that dozens of members of United Hispanic Construction Workers, Inc. converged on the site armed with axe handles, hammers and shovels in an effort to stop work if their members were not given jobs. An ensuing argument escalated and culminated in the unarmed workers being attacked. Several workers sustained serious injuries including a broken jaw and broken ribs, a head injury requiring staples to close the wound, and various injuries to the back, arms and forearms.

The target of the jobs protest was the Maspeth Supply Company which had been awarded a $25 million contract by the City of New York to repair water mains, sewer lines, streets and curbs at over a dozen locations in the Williamsbridge section of the Bronx.

The indictment unsealed consolidated charges filed previously. The defendants were arraigned on the superseding indictment before Acting State Supreme Court Justice Steven Barrett.

Sammy Lopez, 56, of Rogers Place, is free on bail of $350,000 bond or $150,000 cash.

Freddy Diaz, 47, of Timpson Place, is being held in lieu of $150,000 bond or $75,000 cash.

Willie Lidge, 26, of Webster Avenue, is being held in lieu of $250,000 bond or $100,000 cash.

Carlos Cruz, 34, of Simpson Street, is being held in lieu of $200,000 bond or $100,000 cash.

Leon Daniels, 56, Walton Avenue, is being held in lieu of $85,000 bond or $35,000 cash.

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