4 get jail for racist attacks

2009-09-11 11:03

Washington - Four US men, ranging in age from 18 to 21, were sentenced on Thursday for attacking African-Americans in retaliation for President Barack Obama's election victory in November.

"On November 4, 2008, following the announcement of President Obama's victory in the presidential election, the defendants set out to assault African-Americans in Staten Island... because they believed the victims had voted for the president," the Justice Department said in a statement.

The men attacked three individuals, hitting two with metal pipes and police batons, and then ploughing their car into a third victim, who was left in a coma.

In a Brookyln courtroom, US District Judge Carol Amon sentenced Ralph Nicoletti, 19, to nine years in prison and Bryan Garaventa, 18, to five years. Michael Contreras, 19, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years, and Brian Carranza, 21, was sentenced to almost six years.

"It is appalling that such hateful acts of racially motivated violence continue to persist in our nation," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King for the department's civil rights division.

"These sentences should remind those inspired to violence by hate that they will be brought to justice."