Vigil Marks 20 Year Anniversary of Yusuf Hawkins Murder

Sunday, Aug 23, 2009  |  Updated 2:39 PM EDT
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Vigil Marks 20 Year Anniversary of Yusuf Hawkins Murder

Off Fulton Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant, a massive mural honors Yusuf Hawkins.

Two decades after the slaying of a black teenager in Brooklyn, the Rev. Al Sharpton led  a vigil at the cemetery where Yusuf Hawkins is buried.
    
Sharpton joined the slain teenager's family, mourners and activists Sunday afternoon at the Evergreen Cemetery in Brooklyn where Hawkins is buried.

Hawkins,16, and three black friends went to the mostly white neighborhood of Bensonhurst on Aug. 23, 1989 to look at a used car that was for sale. About 30 whites, armed with at least one gun, bats and golf clubs, chased the four and surrounded them.
    
Hawkins was shot twice in the chest.
    
Keith Mondello, who organized the mob, was released in 1998 after spending eight years in prison. The gunman, Joey Fama, is not due for parole until 2022. Two other men also were convicted.

The incident also uncorked a torrent of racial tension in and around New York City , culminating in protest marches through the neighborhood led by Sharpton.

Black protesters and members of Hawkins' family who marched through Bensonhurst after the shooting were subject to tauntings and racial slurs by residents. 

The incident horrified New Yorkers and also helped end Mayor Ed Koch's bid for a fourth term.  He was defeated by David Dinkins, who went on to become the city's first -- and only -- African-American mayor.

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