New York radio station Hot 97 has fired production director Paddy Duke — whose real name is Pasquale Raucci — after reportedly learning about his possible involvement in a lynch mob that murdered African American teenager Yusef Hawkins in 1989.
Hot 97 announced on Sunday that the radio station had cut ties with Paddy Duke after discovering the disturbing news through the documentary, Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn.
Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn, a documentary directed by Muta’Ali Muhammad, premiered earlier this month on HBO.
The documentary details the circumstances surrounding the murder of Yusuf Hawkins, a 16-year-old African American from Brooklyn.
Hot 97 released a statement on Twitter acknowledging the decision to fire Paddy Duke was a direct fallout of Storm Over Brooklyn.
“After watching HBO’s Storm over Brooklyn, HOT97 was shocked and took swift action. Paddy Duke is no longer employed by HOT97. The march for social justice continues.”
Duke was allegedly a member of the mob that attacked Hawkins
Hawkins was murdered on August 23, 1989, in Bensonhurst, after a group of white men attacked him and three of his friends. The attack involved a dispute over a neighborhood girl.
Duke (Pasquale Raucci) was part of the group that attacked Hawkins and his friends in Bensonhurst, a predominantly Italian-American residential area in Brooklyn.
The attackers reportedly planned the ambush as the black teenagers headed to a party at the local girl’s home. The mob mistook Hawkins and his three friends for the group they were targeting and attacked them.
However, Hawkins and his friends weren’t attending the party. They came to Bensonhurst to inquire about a 1982 Pontiac automobile that was for sale.
Hawkins and his group ran from the attackers. The mob, armed with baseball bats and firearms, chased them down and beat them up. Someone shot Hawkins in the chest during the attack.
Duke was convicted on charges related to Hawkins’ murder
Duke was one of five members of the group arrested in connection with the shooting.
In May 1990, Joseph Fama, who fired the shots that killed Hawkins, was convicted of second-degree murder.
Another member of the group, Keith Mondello, was convicted of multiple lesser charges, including rioting, criminal possession of a weapon, and unlawful imprisonment.
Duke was also convicted of multiple lesser charges and sentenced to three years probation and $200 fine.
Hot 97’s hiring of Duke sparked outrage on social media
Many fans of Hot 97 were previously unaware that Duke was part of the mob that murdered Hawkins. There was widespread shock when many learned about it for the first time after Hot 97 fired him.
According to Duke’s LinkedIn profile, he started working as a producer and on-air DJ with Hot 97 in December 1994, only a few years after the trial ended.
He rose to the position of Commercial production director in January 2003.
The radio station’s hiring of Duke sparked outrage on Twitter, with many wondering whether the radio station had prior knowledge of his conviction in Hawkins’ case.
“America is a glorious place. Where else could someone who hates Blacks and goes out with a lynch mob and kills a Black teen reinvent himself as an executive for a radio station that features r-n-b x rap music?”
Many were outraged that Hot 97, a radio station that features R&B and Hip-hop would hire a white person who participated in a lynch mob that murdered a black youth.