Cynthia Riddick, who moved to Shenandoah from Allentown with her three children in 2006, said Shenandoah Valley school administrators sent out electronic phone calls warning that anyone who protested would be punished. Somehow the administration knew in advance the all white jury would acquit their "boys." Riddick also said police made a ''show of force'' Friday night, standing uptown to discourage trouble. One can only imagine the fear in the hearts of all those opposed to the wrongful acquittal when they saw Hayes patrolling the city streets in full battle attire. Riddick said she thought the verdict was ''terrible'' and had people of color been on trial for beating a white person, ''I think they would be in prison right now, convicted of everything.'' Few people are speaking out for fear of ''repercussions,'' she said.
Jeremy Knorr, another Shenandoah resident, said the community remains split, and while there is quiet now, he expects there eventually will be ''a big fight in town. There's going to be a riot.'' Loretta Lipsett, 30, who is of Puerto Rican descent, said race relations have soured since Ramirez's death, and her 7-year-old daughter has been teased by other children because of her dark complexion. ''I just tell her to walk away,'' Lipsett said.
Gladys Limon, an attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said the acquittal was a complete outrage. ''This was murder. Luis Ramirez was murdered. A father, a son, a brother, a partner was murdered. The message the verdict sends is you can kill a person, you can stomp on their head until the person dies, based on their national heritage.'' Limon, who attended the five-day trial with Crystal Dillman of Shenandoah, who had two children with Ramirez, said the Los Angeles-based MALDEF, ''urges the Department of Justice to continue their prosecution of these individuals.'' The Justice Department has acknowledged it has an open investigation in the case, but has declined to be specific. Another teen who was with Donchak and Piekarsky that night but wasn't charged, Ben Lawson, testified at the trial Monday he has been a witness in the case before a federal grand jury in Scranton. Grand jury testimony is secret.
Not all on the jury supported acquittal. Jury foreman Eric Macklin of Schuylkill Haven said he was the lone holdout when the jury voted 11-1 for acquittal after deliberating just two hours, but voted with the others six hours later because he felt there was reasonable doubt as to the teens' guilt. He did believe the accused were racists. Annette Holopirek, who was among the four alternate jurors dismissed said ''I think there's guilt involved.''
When the verdicts were read, the locals in the audience cheered for the defendants getting away with their racist attack and murder. No remorse was shown for the man that they knowingly killed, and kicked while he lay unconscious on the ground. There was no justice for Luis Ramirez or his children. In Shenandoah, the town just doesn't care what their racist hooligans do in the streets when the lights go out.