WATCH THIS: See How Mayor DeBlasio Responded To Question About David Dinkins And Crown Heights Riots


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At his daily press conference on Wednesday, Mayor DeBlasio was asked by veteran Hamodia reporter Reuvain Borchardt about Former NYC Mayor David Dinkins, who passed away earlier this week.

YWN suggests to our readers that after you watch this video and read the text of the mayor’s response, you scroll down and actually read what the Crown Heights riots were, and how David Dinkins HIMSELF said in an interview with WNYC Public Radio “I screwed up Crown Heights”.

Borchardt Question: Good morning, Mr. Mayor. For many, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Mayor Dinkins is the Crown Heights Riot. He was quoted as telling police to “let them vent their rage,” and some have blamed him for restraining police and allowing the riot to turn into a pogrom. Now, you were an aide in the Dinkins Administration. Can you share your thoughts, both then and now, on how Dinkins dealt with the riots, and whether it in any way informed your decision-making in dealing with the riots this past summer?

Mayor Response: Well, look, we’re on the verge of Thanksgiving, and I want to be benevolent to you. And you often ask me pointed questions and I think we sometimes don’t agree, but I know you ask very honest and important questions, but I just – I have to call out, I think there’s a bunch of things in that question that just don’t reflect the reality. I don’t think that’s accurate at all about what happened at that time. I think we all now know, looking back, that a horrible combination of things happened in an absolutely unpredictable order that created tremendous tension. As you remember, it was, on top of that, a lot of the key police leadership was either out of town or had been changed. There’s just a lot of things happening at once that made it such a hard situation to address. So that’s the first point.

The second point, I think there’s so many more important things to think about with David Dinkins than that one very sad moment. And I think it’s important, particularly having lost him, that we honor the good he did in terms of trying to bring the city together and helping us to move forward in terms of safety, which he unquestionably started the ball rolling on.

I think in terms of what we learned, we clearly learned that when you are dealing with situations like that, which was a different situation than what we have had in 2020. And I just don’t – I’ve looked at everything that happened in 2020, those were protests and some of them had some violent people in them and they were – it was unacceptable to see any violence, but I don’t think it’s accurate to compare it to what happened in Crown Heights, which was a very different reality. But we have learned that when you see a situation like that emerge, address it very immediately and forcefully. And certainly, I learned from that – and it is something I remember very vividly with a lot of pain for everyone, for the loss in all communities – but it certainly gave me a firsthand experience with the importance of dealing with something like that assertively and clearly and quickly, so that we can get past it and go back to the work of peace.

And the final thing I’ll say, Reuvain, is the Crown Heights community deserves respect that there was a bad moment, but everyone in the community came together in the 30 years since and created tremendous unity. And that really needs to be honored. Every part of the community found a way forward, and a lot of leaders did great work to find unity. And that’s also the thing that really must be honored the most.

So our readers understand what the Crown Heights riots were:

The riots began on August 19, 1991, after two children of Guyanese immigrants were accidentally struck by one of the cars in the motorcade of the Lubavitcher Rebbe ZATZAL. One child died and the second was severely injured.

About three hours after the riots began, early on the morning of August 20, a group of approximately 20 young black men surrounded 29-year-old Australian Jew, Yankel Rosenbaum HY”D, a University of Melbourne student in the United States conducting research for his doctorate. They stabbed him several times in the back and beat him severely, fracturing his skull. Before being taken to the hospital, Rosenbaum was able to identify 16-year-old Lemrick Nelson, Jr. as his assailant in a line-up shown to him by the police.

Rosenbaum died later that night.

Nelson was charged as an adult with murder and acquitted. Later he was convicted in federal court of violating Rosenbaum’s civil rights and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Nelson eventually admitted that he had stabbed Rosenbaum.

For three days following the accident, numerous African Americans and Caribbean Americans of the neighborhood, joined by growing numbers of non-residents, rioted in Crown Heights.

During the riots, Jews were injured, stores were looted, and cars and homes were damaged. The rioters identified Jewish homes by their Mezuzos.

On the third day of disturbances, Al Sharpton and Sonny Carson led a march of protesters chanting, “No Justice, No Peace!,” “Death to the Jews!” and “Whose streets? Our streets!” The mob displayed anti-Semitic signs and burned an Israeli flag.

Jew-hater Al Sharpton at the riots

The Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir called Mayor Dinkins to inquire about the travesties. Dinkins replied curtly that it was a domestic issue and none of his business. Shamir replied, “If Jews are being murdered and an Israeli flag is burned, this is very much my business.”

A state report criticized Mayor David Dinkins and the NYPD for their lack of action during the riots, which after three days resulted in Rosenbaum’s murder, the injuries of 152 police officers and 38 civilians, 27 destroyed vehicles, seven looted or burned stores, 225 cases of robbery and burglary, and million of dollars worth of property damage.

In a 2009 interview with WNYC public radio former mayor David N. Dinkins went into detail about his own misdealing of Crown Heights, and according to most permitting the riots to go on unrestrained.

From the interview: “the NYT has partial obituaries on public figures, and given my age I am sure they have one on me, and it would read David N. Dinkins Born July, 10 1927 in Trenton NJ, first black mayor of the city of New York, then immediately Crown Heights, and not about keeping libraries open 6 days a week when we did not have a lot of money, spent $47 million to do so, and this was not done in over a century, instead there would be Crown Heights.”

The former mayor goes into details about inaccuracies that were reported in the media, but admits his own mishandling of the riots, “I screwed up Crown Heights.”

“I regret not saying to the police brass sooner “whatever you guys are doing is not working” it was then they altered their behavior and they were able to contained the ravaging young blacks who were attacking Jews … I will forever be accused of holding back the police and permitted blacks to attack Jews, however that did not happen it is just inaccurate.”

Mayor Dinkins famously told the NYPD to “let them vent.” Vent they did, and it led to the murder of Yankel Rosenbaum HY”D and the widespread destruction of property and nearly 200 injured.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. The mayor has a point. This seems like the wrong time to bring this up.right after he died and right before thanksgiving. This exact question could have been asked weeks ago during the riots. It seems that Reuven is just trying to push deblasio into a corner rather than ask him anything practical.

  2. He is really such a bozo. Destroying businesses and looking is just a few people??? Any sane person can see the pogroms and looting now were a result of violence that was condoned by city hall.

  3. Try to imagine for just a second that Jewish people are not the only people of consequence on the planet. The riots began after a speeding Jewish driver, trying to keep up with a Jewish funeral procession, jumped the curb and killed a black child standing on the sidewalk. The driver was issued a ticket by the police and released. That clearly is not justice by Jewish standards not should it be by any standard.
    Fast forward to the announcement of the passing of the first black mayor in NYC and this “journalist” wants to see if he can get the Mayor to speak lashon harah in public about the recently deceased regarding a tragedy that happened decades ago. Gotcha!

  4. Much as I hate De Blasio and Dinkins (Dinkins has blood on his hands for his inaction during the Crown Heights pogrom) under the circumstances De Blasio gave a pretty good answer.

    What do you think, that he would talk about Dinkins like he really was when the media is all busy eulogizing “the first and only black NYC mayor’?

  5. markjw:

    If you are going to follow the anti-semitic party line so slavishly as least you should get it and the facts straight.

    The driver wasn’t at a funeral and wasn’t following a speeding car. He jumped a car while trying to make a red light. The police told Hatzola to take him away first (he was also injured in the incident) becuase of all of the threatening savages in the background.

    Whether justice was done or not has zero relevance on the Crown Heights pogrom that took place afterwards

  6. @Markjw, please get your facts right, the driver was part of the a entourage of the Lubavitcher Rebbe ZTL that had a police escort and all cars in the entourage had lights, the traffic light had changed and that car was going thru the light was broadsided and pushed to the curb where it hit Gavin Cato, the locals started to beat up the driver and when Hatzolah responded the police told them to take the driver not the boy and that was what caused the riot.
    If a black journalist would have asked a negative question about Trump Deblazio would have responded with glee.
    PS Start learning hilchos lashon harah

  7. He is mostly honest in his answer, even he could not understand well how we felt in the last summer he is still trying to show symphaty and respect to the Jewish community, he is still trying to move on his old path with supporting our communities.