Tomorrow marks the 25th anniversary of the racial attack on Black youths in the Queens, N.Y. neighborhood of Howard Beach, one that polarized New York City and left marks that are still being felt. The New York Times reports:
One of the victims died in the attack and is memorialized in a Brooklyn street sign, another died five years later, and the third is in jail in Virginia for unrelated crimes. The three teenagers convicted of manslaughter were released from prison and are family men in their 40s. A leader of the attack, who became the key prosecution witness and dreamed of following in his father’s footsteps in law enforcement, never did become a police officer.
Elsewhere, the Times recalls the events of December 19, 1986:
The events in Howard Beach began when Mr. Griffith, a construction worker, and three black companions traveled from Brooklyn to Queens to pick up his paycheck. Their car broke down late on Dec. 19 on a desolate stretch of Cross Bay Boulevard, and three of the four began walking into Howard Beach. As they were crossing the street, they were nearly bumped by a car in which several white teenagers were riding. Racial slurs were exchanged. The teenagers, joined by other young whites, confronted the black men outside a pizza parlor, New Park Pizza, and chased them.
Timothy Grimes, who was 18, escaped unharmed. Mr. Griffith was killed by a car on the Belt Parkway. Cedric Sandiford, who was 36, was beaten with a bat and other weapons.