Little Known Black History Fact: Yusef Hawkins

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    Yusef Hawkins, a 16-year-old Brooklyn boy, was killed August 23, 1989 in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, New York by an angry white mob. Bensonhurst, a predominantly Italian neighborhood, became the center of attention and the target of several race-related protests led by religious and civic leaders such as Rev. Al Sharpton.

    On that fateful day, Hawkins and two friends went to Bensonhurst to see about purchasing a used 1982 Pontiac. Once there, Keith Mondello, then 19, and a reported 10 to 30 others armed with baseball bats, golf clubs, and other weapons ambushed them.

    Mondello was the ringleader of the mob, who incorrectly thought that Hawkins was there to confront him. Mondello had a conflict with a crack addict who had threatened him.

    Over the years, the specifics have changed, but what is generally understood is that a gunman in the group fired four shots and struck Hawkins twice in the chest. Mondello and alleged gunman Joey Fama were charged as the leaders of the mob.

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