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May 07, 1993 - Image 28

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-05-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

CADILLAC®

CHANGING THE WAY YOU THINK

Judge Permits Suit
Against N.Y. Mayor

New York (JTA) — A federal
judge has refused to dismiss
a suit against New York
Mayor David Dinkins and
former city Police Commis-
sioner Lee Brown alleging
that they conspired to allow
blacks to "vent their rage"
against Jews during four
days of rioting in the Crown
Heights section of Brooklyn
in August 1991.
Declaring it would be pre-
mature to agree to the city's
request to dismiss the civil
suit because key city offi-
cials have yet to be ques-
tioned, Judge Reena Raggi
said last week that the
plaintiffs could begin taking
depositions from Mr.
Dinkins, Mr. Brown and
others.

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In asking for a dismissal of
the complaint, the city sub-
mitted affidavits from senior
police officials who insisted
that no one tied their hands
or prevented them from cur-
bing the violence.
But the attorney for the
plaintiffs, Franklyn Snitow,
pointed out in his papers
that neither Mr. Dinkins nor
Mr. Brown "submitted af-
fidavits to deny or explain
the charges against them."
Mr. Snitow represents
Chasidic residents of Crown
Heights who were victims of
the racial violence and the
estate of Yankel Rosen-
baum,a 2 9-year-old
Lubavitch scholar visiting
from Australia who was
stabbed to death during the
first hours of the riot.
Although Lemrick Nelson
Jr., 17, was acquitted last
October of Mr. Rosenbaum's
murder, the suit charges
that Mr. Nelson did murder
Mr. Rosenbaum while acting
in concert with 15 to 20
other black youths who were
shouting "Kill the Jews."
The rioting erupted after a
car driven by a Chasidic
man accidentally struck and
killed a 7-year-old black
child, Gavin Cato.
Mr. Nelson's acquittal, the
suit maintains, occurred be-
cause police failed to conduct
a thorough investigation
and destroyed "wanted"
posters offering a reward for
information leading to the
arrest of Mr. Rosenbaum's
killers.
The suit also contends that
the police on the scene
"provided protection and
escort to the black youths as
they committed the violence,

and prevented Jews from
protecting themselves
against the violence."
U.S. Attorney General
Janet Reno assured state At-
torney General Robert
Abrams last month that she
will personally review the
Rosenbaum case to see if a
federal probe of the murder
begun in January can lead to
the filing of civil rights
charges.
Mr. Nelson's acquittal
sparked demonstrations by
Jews throughout the city
and heightened tensions
between Chasidim and
blacks in Crown Heights.
During that tense period,
Ralph Nimmons, a 26-year-
old African American, was
beaten the night of Dec. 1 by
a group of Chasidim in a
courtyard behind Lubavitch
headquarters.
Mr. Nimmons, a homeless
man, claimed he was only
taking a shortcut when he

Residents of
Crown Heights
were victims of
racial violence.

was jumped by the
Chasidim. The Lubavitchers
claimed he was caught
burglarizing a yeshiva and
beaten.
Mr. Nimmons later iden-
tified Moshe Katzman, 24, of
Crown Heights as one of his
assailants, and Mr. Katz-
man was charged with
assault.
But those charges against
Mr. Katzman were dropped
by Brooklyn Supreme Court
Justice James Starkey after
Mr. Nimmons refused re-
peated requests to cooperate
with authorities.
Mr. Nimmons is himself
awaiting trial after being
arrested in February and
charged with burglarizing
an apartment building in
Crown Heights.
More information about
the rioting is expected later
this month when Gov. Mario
Cuomo's director of criminal
justice, Richard Girgenti, is
slated to release the findings
of his seven- month inquiry
into the disturbances.
Mr. Girgenti, who was
directed by Mr. Cuomo to in-
vestigate both the rioting
and the city's response, per-
sonally interviewed Mr.
Dinkins for his report.

it

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