When will it be recognized that cars are deadly weapons? We can hear the Automobile Association of America now: “Cars don’t kill, people do!” From Newsday, May 6:

Cabbie charged with hate crime

A taxi driver was arrested and charged with a hate crime after backing his cab into a man while spouting racial slurs, Southampton Village police said Friday.

Robert Rossetti, 56, of East Quogue, pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault and second-degree aggravated harassment as a hate crime at Southampton Village Justice Court and was ordered held on $5,000 bail.

Rossetti was arrested at about 1 p.m. on Thursday after he yelled anti-black and anti-Mexican comments at a man having lunch on the grass near 7-Eleven on North Sea Road and County Road 39 in Southampton Village, Det. Sgt. Herbert Lamison said. Rossetti missed the first time he tried to hit the man while reversing. The second time, still in reverse, he hit him in the right knee, Lamison said.

Rossetti’s relatives could not be reached for comment Friday.

Jonathan Cedillo, 21, suffered muscle and tissue damage to his right knee, requiring a brace and crutches.

“He was cursing at me, telling me I’m an immigrant and to get out of this country,” Cedillo said. “I told him, ‘Dude, what are you talking about?'”

Cedillo, who is of American Indian and Mexican-American heritage, was born and raised in Southern California. He moved to Riverhead from Inglewood, Calif., about a month ago to work as a yacht detailer.

Before Rossetti hit Cedillo with the cab, Rossetti slapped Cedillo’s burger out of his hands while yelling racial slurs, Cedillo said. Cedillo resolved not to let Rossetti get the better of him, he said. “He kept instigating and provoking me,” Cedillo said. “I thought, I don’t want to go to jail for hitting an old man.”

Douglas Borroughs, a Southampton attorney, accompanied Cedillo in court Friday, even though Cedillo doesn’t plan to sue. Borroughs said he was worried there would be derogatory remarks made in the courtroom in light of recent anti-immigrant protests in the community. “The atmosphere seems to be increasingly hostile,” he said. “Something was bound to be ignited with the tensions.” But nothing happened to Cedillo in court.

Borroughs said he advised Cedillo to get an order of protection against Rossetti, which the judge granted.

Cedillo said Rossetti’s anti-immigrant remarks were especially troubling.

“He approached a person who was here all his life and born here,” Cedillo said. “Not every Spanish-looking person out here is an immigrant. It shouldn’t matter if they’re illegal or not. We’re all human beings.”

See more reasons WHY WE FIGHT.