Shocking footage of the death of Hugo Tale-Yax, a Guatemalan aged 31, was captured on CCTV cameras in the Jamaica area of Queens. The video, put up on the website of the New York Post, shows pedestrians walking and cycling past the man during the course of more than an hour as he lay in a pool of blood on the pavement.
The footage begins at about 5.40am on the morning of Sunday 18 April when a woman wearing a jacket and skirt is seen walking along the pavement. She is being followed by man in a green short-sleeve shirt who comes up to her from behind. Though it is out of camera, it is assumed that Tale-Yax came to the help of the woman as she was being attacked by the man.
The video camera then captures the attacker fleeing in the direction in which he had come, followed a few seconds later by Tale-Yax who appears to be chasing him but stumbles on the pavement and falls.
He lies there, face down, in a gathering pool of blood, having been stabbed several times in the chest with a knife.
Several people then walk by, looking down at Tale-Yax but failing to stop…
It is not until 7.23am, more than an hour after the victim collapsed, that emergency services are called…
There has been comparison to another notorious murder in Queens in 1964 when a young woman called Kitty Genovese was stabbed in the street as she came home early one morning to her apartment block. More than 10 people in the vicinity heard her repeated screams but failed to respond.
I remember the Kitty Genovese case well. Everyone pretends they don’t hear. This time, everyone pretends they don’t see anything that concerns them
And I doubt the problem is fear-based.
This land, this city is free enough of fear – at least the white middle-class – to erase that excuse. The United States of God-Bless-America could have invented “egregious” if earlier imperial nations hadn’t been ahead of us in time’s line.
If you’re only always concerned with your own problems, you ain’t too likely to notice someone else in trouble. Or dying.