In a deceptively peaceful Long Island town just before midnight on November 8, 2008, 37-year-old Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero is assaulted by a group of teenaged boys cruising the streets “beaner–hopping,” a term used to describe the decade-long ritual of attacking Latinos for sport. The adolescent “game” comes to an end with the fatal stabbing of Lucero, exposing a thinly veiled systemic intolerance for immigrants. Seventeen-year-old Jeffery Conroy, a popular high school athlete, is sentenced to 25-years for a hate crime, while the other teens get 5 to 8-years behind bars.
The local government, the press and the community agree that the problem is solved and justice has been served. All is well again in this haven of American suburbia. Or so it seems.
Not satisfied with easy answers, Deputized delves deeply into the complex environment in which teens – pumped with adrenaline, aggression, alcohol and anger – target vulnerable Latinos perceived to be undocumented. The film dissects the anti-immigration messages and rhetoric flooding the community and raises the question: Were the teens deputized by the forces within their community to commit such a senseless act?