I-Team: Three Men Say They Were Targetted Because of Their Race

LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)  The  I-Team is looking into  allegations that three Hispanic men from Luzerne County were the victims of a hate crime.  Our Lead I-Team Reporter Andy Mehalshick  with a story you will only see on Eyewitness News..

 The three Hispanic men insist they were assaulted because of their race.  Manuel Lora and Ozzie Volkers say they were attacked when they were riding their dirt bikes near a wooded area at the Humboldt Industrial Park on Saturday.

 They and a friend were riding when they say a truck headed directly toward them

All three took off up a nearby dirt road.

"They tried to pin him into the tree with the four wheeler. They clipped him and that's why the bike is all blown up they clipped him" Ozzie Volkers explained.

Other vehicles joined in the chase.

Manuell Lora showed us his arm and  told Eyewitness News "Out of nowhere here comes the Polaris. He just clips me on the side. Boom! I flew about 4 feet off my bike that's why I have this crater here."

Volkers say once on the ground he was brutally beaten..

  “There were four guys on me. Two of them were hitting me.”  He said they were shouting racial slurs

They showed Eyewitness News injuries they say they suffered in the attack. They say as many as 40 people surrounded them as the alleged assault took place.

"It's not being investigated as a hate crime. “Said Trooper David Peters, of the PSP

But that could change. State Police from Hazleton responded to the scene for a call about trespassers. The State Police say they have more work to do on this case.  "We want to find the truth. We understand they were obviously trespassing. We want to get to the truth of this investigation. They allege said they were assaulted we are working on it right now." Said Trooper Peters

The I-team  spoke to the owner of the property who says and insists-- this was not a hate crime. It is nothing more than a trespassing investigation. She insists that no one associated with her or her family took part in any kind of assault against Volker and Lorah. She says the dirt bike riders were speeding on her property and says they were not run off the road.  Volkers and Lora have been charged with trespassing. Again this investigation is open.


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