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Radio station in New York City fires worker over role in Yusuf Hawkins death

August 26, 2020
By The Associated Press

A man who was among those charged in the notorious 1989 killing of Yusuf Hawkins, a Black teen set upon by a white mob and shot, was fired from a New York hip-hop radio station after a new documentary brought the murder case renewed attention.

WQHT-FM, known as Hot 97, announced over the weekend that Pasquale Raucci — who had worked at the station since 1994 in mostly behind-the-scenes roles and was known under the name Paddy Duke — was fired following an uproar from viewers of the documentary “Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn.” The film was directed by Muta’Ali and premiered on HBO earlier this month.

“HOT97 was shocked and took swift action. Paddy Duke is no longer employed by HOT97. The march for social justice continues,” the station said on Twitter.

Hawkins, 16, had gone to the Bensonhurst neighbourhood of Brooklyn with some friends to look at a car when he was attacked by a group of white youths, one of whom shot him.


Several young men were charged, including Joseph Fama, who was accused of being the gunman and was convicted of murder. Raucci was the last to go through trial, and was acquitted in 1991 of the most serious charges against him. The New York Times reported he was ultimately sentenced to probation and community service for having a bat as a weapon.

In comments during “Ebro in the Morning” on Monday, Ebro Darden and his co-hosts addressed the criticism, saying that many at the station had no idea of Raucci’s involvement in the Hawkins’ case, especially since the beginning of his employment predated many of their arrivals.

“Corporate started to go to work to figure out who knew what when Paddy was hired and what was going to be the response,” Darden said. “Because this wasn’t just going to be allowed to fly.”

The Times reported Raucci declined to comment on the situation.

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