Blacks Stage March as 2 Juries Deliberate in Racial Slaying Case
Supporters and the family of a black teen-ager slain in a racial attack last summer marched Saturday through the Brooklyn neighborhood where he died, while two juries deliberated the fate of two white men accused in the killing.
About 350 blacks marched for a mile through predominantly white Bensonhurst and were met by an equal number of whites, who lined the streets behind police barricades chanting “Not Guilty,” and holding signs, including one that read “Free the boys of Bensonhurst.”
Leading the march were Moses Stewart and Diane Hawkins, the parents of Yusuf Hawkins, who was shot and killed Aug. 23 in a confrontation with a white mob carrying baseball bats. Also at the head of the procession were the Rev. Al Sharpton and lawyer Alton H. Maddox Jr., both civil rights activists.
The marchers chanted “Yusuf, Yusuf” and walked past the spot where the 16-year-old was gunned down last summer.
There were a number of scuffles, mostly between whites and the police, but no serious injuries. One person was issued a summons for disorderly conduct, police said.
Also Saturday afternoon, about 300 protesters carrying the “Black Liberation Flag” rallied in front of a Brooklyn courthouse.
Inside the courthouse, jurors in the trial of Keith Mondello, the accused ringleader of the attack, told the judge Saturday they had reached verdicts on some charges, but could not agree on others.
Judge Thadeus Owens instructed the jurors to retire for the evening, telling them to get a good night’s sleep and “give it your best shot tomorrow.” The jury earlier had asked for the definition of manslaughter in the second degree.
A separate jury in the case against accused triggerman Joseph Fama ended another day of deliberations Saturday in state Supreme Court in Brooklyn without reaching a verdict.
The jury on Friday had asked for a definition of first-degree manslaughter.
Fama and Mondello both have been charged with second-degree murder, and the requests for definitions of the manslaughter charges seemed to indicate that the juries were considering lesser charges.
The two men, both 19, are accused in the shooting death of Hawkins as a gang of baseball bat-wielding whites surrounded him and three black friends in Bensonhurst.