Racial Attack Raises Memories Of Hate
An episode of “Growing Up Gotti” featured Nicholas “Fat Nick” Minucci, the man accused of beating Glenn Moore with a baseball bat.
By Jeff Feinman
As the victim of the second widely publicized, racially motivated attack in Howard Beach in the last 19 years remains hospitalized, outsiders are quick to point fingers and yell of racism while locals defend their own, calling the attack justified.
Glenn Moore, 22, was with two friends in Howard Beach last Tuesday night when he was attacked by three white men, one of whom had a baseball bat. The black men ran, but Moore tripped and was beaten and kicked by the white men.
The next day, police arrested Nicholas Minucci, 19, who cops say admitted the attack, but said he was acting in self-defense. On Thursday, accomplice Anthony Ench was also arrested. A third suspect, Frankie Agostini, was questioned and released.
On Friday, the Rev. Al Sharpton came to Howard Beach to condemn the beating. He was accompanied at Carosello’s Restaurant on Cross Bay Boulevard by a number of black community leaders and Moore’s family. He then followed up with a July 4 visit to encourage Howard Beach to hold a march against racism.
Sharpton’s presence may have been his first time back in the community since 1987, when he led a march down Cross Bay Boulevard months after a similar racial attack that ended in the death of Michael Griffith. At that time neighbors hurled racial insults and watermelons at the crowd.
Howard Beach residents came out in hefty numbers Friday to fight off being labeled as a racist community. The mostly white crowd of all ages waited outside Carosello’s to listen in on Sharpton’s press conference. “He’s the one who’s prejudiced. He’s the one causing all this racial trouble,” said Howard Beach resident Sandy Adovic.
Community Board 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton called Sharpton a “lightning rod for dissension” and added that she believed Sharpton’s visits would not have a productive effect. “No one that has been living in the community for 20 years wants to be called racist because of this incident.”
With the crowd screaming in his ear and holding signs reading “Free Fat Nick” over his shoulder, Sharpton remained placid. “The mobs today have grown smaller, they’re being drowned out,” he said. “Today, they could not stop us from having lunch in Carosello’s, and could not stop us from coming down here on Cross Bay Boulevard.”
A number of young Italian men were the most vocal force against Sharpton as he spoke. They tried shifting the focus on the fact that Moore may have been in the neighborhood to steal a car.
According to many Howard Beach residents, 19-year-old Nick Minucci’s actions against Moore were nothing more than an attempt to protect their turf. Numerous residents have said that blacks frequently come into the area from other neighborhoods to cause trouble. One man, who lives along Minucci’s street and declined to give his name, said, “If they came into my area wanting to rob and steal, I would have done the same thing.”
Over the years, Minucci has built himself quite a rap sheet, having run-ins with the law on two different occasions. On Sept. 11, 2001, at age 15, he was arrested for shooting paintballs at a 66-year-old Sikh man. Then in November 2002, Minucci was charged with second-degree attempted murder when he stabbed a 16-year-old classmate in the stomach. According to Rich’s grandfather, the only thing that saved Jonathan was the handle breaking off the knife. To further pin suspicion on Minucci, Rich was killed a year later in a subway accident.
Before his arrest, unemployed Minucci was living on 78th Street in Howard Beach with his mother and sister. Friends told police that he dropped out of Christ The King High School in Middle Village a few years ago, and has been going to anger-management counseling since then. Neither Christ the King nor Minucci’s mother would comment on his arrest. According to a neighbor, the Minuccis have a black maid that does housework for them.
Though no plans have been made as of yet to mend racial doubts throughout the community, many stuck by their village. “Why is Howard Beach crucified for something like this?” asked Councilman Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach). “There are all kinds of positive things coming out of our community, it’s a great community. But the media is all over this because of what happened in 1986.”
Sharpton, in his visit to Howard Beach July 4, said it was time for the people of Howard Beach to march against racial injustice.