New York police killing provokes Jewish protest
Wednesday 01 September 1999
The shooting of Gideon Basch, 31, by four officers drew hundreds of orthodox Jews on to the streets. In the melee, protesters chanted "Danger! Police crime!" and "Jewish blood is not cheap". Eggs and other objects were thrown at police called in to control the crowd, but there were no injuries.
The death happened in the Borough Park area of Brooklyn, home to a concentration of Hasidic Jews. Responding to a complaint, police challenged Mr Basch, who was hammering at an apartment door. After failing to subdue him with mace spray, four officers fired up to 16 bullets into him. Mr Basch, who had been wearing a prayer shawl and leather pouches for carrying scriptures, died in hospital.
The protest threatened to spawn a new crisis for Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who is widely expected to stand againstHillary Rodham Clinton for a US Senate seat in New York next year. He has been credited with driving down crime rates in New York, but recently he has also suffered a backlash of complaints about the use of excessive force by members of the New York Police Department.
Monday's shooting brought echoes of the killing by four officers of a West African immigrant, Amadou Diallo, in the Bronx in February.
Revelations that Mr Diallo had been unarmed and engaged in no discernable crime provoked huge protests in the city for several weeks in the spring. Mayor Giuliani enraged minority communities by vigorously defending the police force.
Yesterday, the mayor was once again on the defensive. At a press conference he said he regretted the shooting, but added: "There appears to be every reason to believe that police officers acted in accordance with police procedures."
Police officials said that Mr Barsch, who had a recent history of mental imbalance, was repeatedly warned by the officers to drop the hammer. Instead, he allegedly swung the implement at the officers, one of whom stumbled and fell. It was then that the officers fired, striking him at least seven times in the torso.
The Hasidic community in New York has traditionally supported Mayor Giuliani. However, disgust at the shooting was widespread yesterday. "It's disappointing, and many feel that six officers would have been able to subdue a person swinging a hammer without shooting him. That's the anger," said a community activist, Isaac Abraham.
Mayor Giuliani, meanwhile, risks further unrest after refusing to grant a permit for a so-called "Million Youth March" scheduled to take place this weekend in Harlem. Last night, a federal judge overturned the city's ban on the march, which is being orchestrated by the militant African-American leader, Khalid Muhammad.
- 1 Student jailed for hacking University of Birmingham computers to improve his grades
- 2 Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 The most powerful passports in the world
Student jailed for hacking University of Birmingham computers to improve his grades
Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
Nepal earthquake: More than 1,100 killed across four countries and in Mount Everest avalanche
Royal baby: Live updates as the wait continues for Duchess of Cambridge's second child
Hermann Goering's daughter fails to reclaim items looted by Nazi deputy during WWII
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...
Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...