Crown Heights riots of 1991: A look back at Gavin Cato’s death and the racial unrest that followed
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the New York Times reported on Aug. 20, 1991. There were more than 100 police officers at the scene, the report said.” data-id=”112184889″ data-link=”https://amnewyork.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/14676_image.jpg” class=”wp-image-1.12184889″/> Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas
New York Times reported. “A 17-year-old fired a gun at a police officer, without hitting him, and another youth drove his car at a group of officers but did not injure them, the police said.”” data-id=”112184888″ data-link=”https://amnewyork.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/20496_image.jpg” class=”wp-image-1.12184888″/> Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas
Photo Credit: Newsday / Jim Cummins
New York Daily News article, published on Aug. 21, 1991, describes a scene of hundreds of people in the streets. “There was what Police Commissioner Lee Brown described as a standoff between 200 Hasidim and 200 blacks at the scene of the accident,” the article reported. “Between 200 and 225 cops kept the groups apart.”” data-id=”112184886″ data-link=”https://amnewyork.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/14678_image.jpg” class=”wp-image-1.12184886″/> Photo Credit: Newsday / Mitsu Yasukawa
a state report about the riots, released in 1993, more than 150 police officers and 38 residents were injured as a result. A number of vehicles and storefronts were also destroyed. In the photo above, a demonstrator with a rock in his hand crouches during the riots on Aug. 21, 1991.” data-id=”112184884″ data-link=”https://amnewyork.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/14681_image.jpg” class=”wp-image-1.12184884″/> Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas
Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas
Photo Credit: Newsday / Ozier Muhammad
Following the initial accident, Mayor David Dinkins said, “We’ve had a tragedy. There are at least two deaths, and it’s painful. We ought not to have further injury.” The mayor was later criticized for not addressing the riots quickly enough, and the state report on the riots in 1993 is believed to have negatively impacted his chances for re-election. In the photo above, Dinkins, right, attends the funeral for Gavin Cato at St. Anthony’s Baptist Church on Aug. 26, 1991.” data-id=”112184938″ data-link=”https://amnewyork.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/14685_image.jpg” class=”wp-image-1.12184938″/> Photo Credit: Newsday / Ozier Muhammad
Riots between Crown Heights’ Jewish and black communities erupted on Aug. 19, 1991 after two black children were hit by a station wagon that was part of a motorcade for a Jewish rabbi. Gavin Cato, 7, died instantly, and his 7-year-old cousin, Angela Cato, was severely injured. The driver
was not indicted for Cato’s death.
were described in 1993 as “the most extensive racial unrest in New York City in over 20 years” in a report commissioned by then-Gov. Mario Cuomo.
Here’s a look back at the tragic accident and the events that followed.