The 64-year-old street cart vendor was viciously beaten unconscious for a mere $65; suspects still on the loose.
Last week, an ice cream vendor in Denver was attacked and brutally beaten, then robbed of the money he had in his cart.
Antonio Ramirez-Chavez, 64, is a street vendor who was loading up his paleta (fruit popsicles) cart on Thursday, June 11, around 7:30 p.m. when he realized his truck's battery was dead. Ramirez-Chavez had spent the day working in the Green Valley Ranch area, parking his truck at the Florida Pitt Waller School parking lot. He got a jumpstart from someone else parked in the lot, but after that person left, a group of three or four individuals walked up behind Ramirez-Chavez and demanded that he hand over his cash. He refused and was punched in the face by a female suspect.
The group beat Ramirez-Chavez severely, to the point of unconsciousness. He suffered blows to the face, neck, and throat, and says the group kicked him in the face until he blacked out. He regained consciousness when a concerned passerby stopped to help him. Ramirez-Chavez only earned $65 that day, which the assailants took off with.
Ramirez-Chavez was faced with a dilemma after the attack, he was injured and needed help, but he is also an undocumented immigrant. He came to the United States when he was 21 years old and has made his living the last 10 years running his ice cream cart. As the only income earner for his family, he cares for his disabled wife and daughter with what he earns selling treats from his cart, and he was afraid of possibly getting deported. He chose not to report the assault until a friend persuaded him to get help.
The officer who responded to the call was so taken aback by what had happened to Ramirez-Chavez that she replaced the stolen cash with money from her own wallet. Officer Mona Barraza says he was severely injured, with bones shattered in his face and his right eye almost swollen shut. Other officers pitched in as well, touched by the story, and wanted to at least help replace the earnings lost that day.
A GoFundMe has been set up for Ramirez-Chavez to help with his medical bills and the community has rallied around him, donating just over $46,000, at the time of this writing. He is currently recovering from his injuries and still in a lot of pain, however, he is hoping to get back to work soon.
This paletero 💔 I hope the community rallies to help him. https://t.co/yCkDtb7g2O— Esmeralda Bermudez (@BermudezWrites) June 18, 2020
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock addressed the crime and Ramirez-Chavez’s concerns over calling the police as an undocumented immigrant and called him personally to address the situation. Mayor Hancock's office donated a food basket to the family and connected them with Denver Human Services to get the family some other support. The mayor also sent Deputy Director for Community Outreach Christian Jimenez to meet with Ramirez-Chavez to look at what happened. He pointed out that the City of Denver does not enforce immigration law and says officers will not let that get in the way of assisting a victim of a crime.
Denver Police Department is looking for the suspects, who remain on the loose and drive a dark green SUV. Anyone who has information or video related to the attack is asked to call Metro Crime stoppers at 720-913-7867.
We wish Antonio Ramirez-Chavez a speedy recovery and hope the people responsible for this terrible attack will be caught soon.