The consequences from HBO’s Storm Over Brooklyn documentary highlighting the 1989 murder of Yusef Hawkins have crept their way into New York radio station Hot 97 as they have fired long time staffer Paddy Duke the documentary alleged that he was part of a mob that killed a black teen in the ’80s.
Duke, real name Pasquale Raucci, was among a mob of White men who crowded Hawkins and three other Black teens and attacked them in Bensonhurst, a predominantly Italian-American section of Brooklyn. The mob thought they were part of a different group of Black teens headed to a party at the home of a local girl the mob believed had begun dating a Black man.
Hawkins went to Bensonhurst with some friends to check out a used car but were attacked by a group of some 30 white men because they believed that one of the teens was dating a white woman they knew.
A statement released by Hot 97 Monday read, “After watching HBO’s ‘Storm Over Brooklyn,’ Hot 97 was shocked and took swift action. Paddy Duke is no longer employed by Hot 97.”
On Sunday (August 23), the 31st anniversary of Hawkins’ murder, the station announced in a statement they’d fired long time executive Paddy Duke for his involvement in his death.
“After watching HBO’s Storm over Brooklyn, HOT97 was shocked and took swift action,” the statement read. “Paddy Duke is no longer employed by HOT97. The march for social justice continues.”
The 16-year-old Hawkins was considered a leader amongst his peers and had dreams of possibly becoming an engineer. In the Storm Over Brooklyn documentary, friend Christopher Graham remembered Hawkins fondly as someone who was hard to guard on the basketball court considering he was left-handed.
Hawkins and company were in Bensonhurst inquiring about a used 1982 Pontiac advertised in the newspaper for $900. Soon, Hawkins and his three associates were being followed by a group of 10 White men that soon swelled to 30 men. Some held bats and begun yelling racial slurs at the group, “Let’s club the n*ggers!”
Soon, gunshots rang out. Hawkins was shot twice in the chest and later died at the hospital. Five members of the mob were arrested in connection with Hawkins’ murder, including Duke. Although he was found not guilty of manslaughter or second-degree murder, Duke was convicted on eight lesser counts and sentenced to three years’ probation and a $200 fine.
Duke’s ousting from the station has raised questions concerning the station’s hiring of Duke as well as whether knowledge of his prior crimes had been known by execs who’d given him a job. According to his LinkedIn profile, he’d served as the producer of Angie Martinez’s show and was an on-air DJ at the station from 1994 until 2003 before he became the commercial production director.
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