Yes, Cleveland, Puerto Ricans Are U.S. Citizens, Even the Ones Who Get Arrested for Kidnapping

May 8, 2013
8:55 PM

UPDATE, 10:10 pm EST, Pagonakis said the following on a NewsChannel5 Facebook post:


He also tweeted this to us a few minutes ago:

What has happened in Cleveland this week has been both miraculous and horrific. Miraculous because three young women (Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight) and Berry’s little girl were found alive after most of the city thought the young women were long gone from this world. Horrific because the alleged suspect Ariel Castro got away with this crime for so long. Today Castro was charged with several counts of rape and kidnapping. Here is what City prosecutor Victor Perez said:

Besides this, Perez also wanted to make sure that he said something about Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans. Perez is of Puerto Rican descent and so are Castro and Castro’s two brothers. Here is what Perez said, “I want everyone to know that the acts of the defendant is not a reflection of the Puerto Rican community here and in Puerto Rico.”


Ariel Castro, via Cleveland Police Dept.

Guess Cleveland Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba and local Cleveland Channel 5 reporter Joe Pagonakis didn’t hear what Perez was saying, because later in the press conference Pagonakis asked Tomba if he knew about the citizenship status of the Castro brothers. Here is what transpired. (FYI: You can see the whole 17-minute press conference here. The Puerto Rico exchange happened two times in a span of 20 seconds total.) In the first part of the video, Tomba basically said that he doesn’t know, while a few minutes later he confirms that he is from Puerto Rico. That’s it. Nothing else. No mention to Pagonakis that the question was ignorant, that Puerto Ricans are actually natural-born U.S. citizens. You even had Perez in the press conference who just said that he was Puerto Rican. How hard would it have been for Tomba to ask Perez to answer the question? Instead, you got one clueless person asking another clueless person a clueless question. Then Pagonakis, who for some reason protects thinks he is protecting us from some foreign criminals, has to tweet out a confirmation that the Castro brothers are “residents of Puerto Rico.” No, they are U.S. citizens from Puerto Rico who reside in Cleveland. Thanks for misinforming your viewers and followers.

Here’s the point: this world is full of bad guys, no matter where they come from. There are U.S. citizens who do evil things and get caught. There are also non-citizens who do bad things, too. But this whole generalization and fear-mongering of groups needs to stop. No, Joe Pagonakis, there is no “illegal immigrant” angle to this story, the Castro brothers are U.S. citizens just like you. How does that make you feel? We tweeted Pagonakis for clarification and to inform him of his poor reporting. We doubt he will answer.



As for Tomba? Next time just listen to what your Puerto Rican prosecutor said and repeat it. It is not that difficult to educate yourself.