Then again in the streets of New York
I think of Yusef Hawkins, and I see you'e still stalkin
And when I think of barriers like Bensonhurst
Huh, notice how I mentioned hearse
Yusef Hawkins was a 16-year-old African American youth who was shot to death on August 23, 1989 in Bensonhurst, a predominantly working-class neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. Hawkins and three friends were attacked by a crowd of 10 to 30 youths, with at least seven of them wielding baseball bats. One, armed with a handgun, shot Hawkins twice in the chest, killing him.
Hawkins had gone to Bensonhurst that night with three friends to inquire about a used 1982 Pontiac automobile that was for sale. Hawkins had no job, and was too young to have drivers license, leading some to question that story. The group’s attackers had been lying in wait for black or Hispanic youths they believed were coming to fight for a Latino girl neighbor one of the attackers was dating. She was yelling from window that ‘My Black friends are coming to kick your asses" Hawkins and friends walked onto block at that time. Police later said Hawkins was not involved with the girl.
Hawkins' killing was the third killing of a black man by mobs in New York City during the 1980s; the other two victims were Willie Turks, who was killed on June 22, 1982 in Brooklyn, and Michael Griffith, who was killed in Queens on December 20, 1986. The incident uncorked a torrent of racial tension in and around New York City in the ensuing days and weeks, culminating in a protest march through the neighborhood led by the Reverend Al Sharpton.
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