Woman Charged With 2020 Hate Crime Receives Probation

Last week, the second Revere woman charged with a hate crime in the February 2020 attack of a 46-year-old mother and her 15-year-old daughter in Maverick Square received what some civil rights activists are calling a lenient sentence for her role in the crime.

Stephanie Armstorng, of Revere was charged with two misdemeanors of Assault and Battery, and two felony counts of Violation of Constitutional Rights with Bodily Injury in connection with the February 15 2020 attack on a 46-year-old East Boston woman and her 15-year-old daughter.

Last week Armstrong was sentenced in East Boston District Court to two years of probation on the misdemeanor Assault and Battery charge but was not convicted on the more serious felony charge of Violation of Constitutional Rights with Bodily Injury.

Armstrong’s co-defendant, Jenny Leigh Ennamorati, also of Revere, received 15-months probation back in February for her role in the attack after her lawyer’s worked out a plea deal with prosecutors.

According to testimony, the victims and witnesses said that without provocation Armstrong and Ennamorati began shouting at the mother and daughter and then physically attacked them because they were laughing and speaking to each other in Spanish. Video of the attack that circulated on Social Media shows the two Revere women crossing the street, confronting the 15-year-old girl before punches are thrown. A fight then breaks out before bystanders break up the fight.

Both Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden and the Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) said they were disappointed in the outcome of the sentencing handed down.

“While I’m pleased that this defendant was convicted of physically attacking a mother and daughter while celebrating a birthday, I find it terribly disappointing that she wasn’t also convicted of violating their civil rights,” said Hayden after the sentencing. “This unforgivable assault exposed an ugly side of our society that my office—and I hope every caring citizen—will never tolerate.”

The LCR in a statement said the East Boston District Court failed to meaningfully sentence Armstrong in connection with what they called a heinous attack on a Latino mother and minor in. “The back-to-back lax sentencing strikes deep fear in communities of color, especially victims of hate crimes who are far too often failed by the legal system,” said LCR in a statement. “The assailants violently beat the victims while spewing hate: “This is America,” “speak English,” and “go back to your f**king country!” Despite garnering national attention – and against the backdrop of escalating racial violence across the country – justice continues to escape victims of color.”

Myraida Melendez, an attorney with LCR, said LCR zealously advocated for the investigation into the incident as a hate crime and argued without that advocacy, the victims and their experience would have gone uncounted and unaddressed.

“Disappointingly, after nearly two years of advocacy, the lax sentencing of both white assailants demonstrates that the legal system continues to fail victims of racially-motivated crimes,” said  Melendez. “We continue to see a significant rise in hate crimes locally and nationally, particularly those related to race. Violence against Latinx, Black and Asian American communities continues to escalate, as seen in the horrific events in Buffalo, New York. We can no longer afford to meet hatred and violence with leniency.”

Melendez said she was particularly disappointed in the reluctance to impose jail time for both defendants in the case.

“Although the court indicated that six months of confinement in a house of corrections may be appropriate for the underlying offense, the court suspended any such jail sentence,” she said. “It is shameful that at the end of a two-day trial that retraumatized the victims, the hate crime perpetrator is walking away with only probation.”

Melendez continued, “By failing to meaningfully sentence the assailants, the legal system exacerbates racism and bigotry. This tragic and violent experience will forever mark the victims’ lives. For the Vasquez family, and the Latinx community as a whole, it was of extreme importance that the crimes were prosecuted to the full extent of the law, but that did not happen. This was an act of terror motivated by prejudice and bias. Every individual should be free to walk their communities and speak their native language without fear of violence.”

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