Gurney's Inn
May 10, 2006

Racially Motivated Attack In Southampton

Robert Rossetti, a taxi driver from East Quogue, faces assault and aggravated harassment after he allegedly made racial slurs and backed his car into a man outside of the 7-Eleven in Southampton last Thursday.

Jonathan Cedillo, 21, of Riverhead, was eating his lunch outside of the convenience store when Rossetti approached him. Detective Sgt. Herman Lamison of the Southampton Village Police said that Rossetti began an exchange of words with Cedillo and "from there it escalated."

Lamison said that Rossetti allegedly shoved Cedillo and shouted racial slurs at him before purposely hitting Cedillo in the knee with his vehicle as he backed out of the parking lot. According to Douglas Borroughs, a Southampton attorney representing Mr. Cedillo, Rossetti made "unbelievably distasteful comments towards Mr. Cedillo," an American of Mexican and Native American heritage.

Rossetti pleaded not guilty to a charge of assault in the second degree, a felony, and aggravated harassment charges in Southampton Village Justice Court last Friday. He was remanded to the Suffolk County Jail in lieu of $5000 bail.

Borroughs said that Cedillo had suffered "sustained internal damage" to his knee, though the extent of the injury was unclear because of swelling. Borroughs said that Cedillo, who was granted an order of protection against Rossetti, planned to seek compensation for medical bills, but would take no further action.

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