Fourth Pleads Guilty in Election Night Beatings

Published February 3, 2009

The last of four New York men accused of going on an anti-Black rampage following the election of Barack Obama pleaded guilty Monday to assault charges.

Prosecutors said that Ralph Nicoletti, 18, and his cohorts attacked three African Americans in the hours after Obama was declared the winner. Brian Carranza, 21; and Michael Contreras and Bryan Garaventa, both 18, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to interfere with voting rights in January. Together, they "knowingly and intentionally" worked to intimidate Black voters, according to prosecutors.

Contreras, Carranza and Garaventa are looking at a possible 10 years behind bars.   "Nicoletti has agreed to a sentence of 12 years, subject to the approval of the court," the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release.

The quartet watched a TV in a raggedy Staten Island clubhouse when Obama was declared the winner, prosecutors say. Stoked with rage, Nicoletti drove Contreras, Carranza and Garaventa to the largely Black Park Hill neighborhood in Staten Island, where they sought to assault African Americans.

First, they beat a 17-year-old Black youth with a metal pipe and police baton. The youth, Ali Kamara, suffered a concussion and leg injuries.

"The first swing that swung – it hit my head. It cut my head," Kamara told WABC TV in New York. "I got staples on my head now." He slipped further injury by dipping into a neighbor’s backyard as his pursuers passed by, according to Justice Department.

The clan then headed to the Port Richmond, another mostly Black section of Staten Island, where they attacked another Black man, whom they pushed to the ground, according to the charging documents. Still lusting blood, they jumped Ronald Forte, also of Port Richmond, mistakenly believing that the White man in the hoodie was an African American, say the documents. Initially, they were going to just whip Forte with the police baton but, according to the indictment, Nicoletti swerved his vehicle into Forte, who was thrown onto the hood and smashed the windshield. Forte suffered severe head trauma. 

Written by BET.com Staff

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