His firing came after accusations that Raucci was involved in a vicious murder that took place more than 20 years ago, Okay Player reported. An HBO documentary called “Storm Over Brooklyn” documented the murder of a Black teenager Yusef Hawkins by a mob of 30 white men and accused Raucci of being one of the 30 men involved.
Although Raucci was acquitted of murder, he was convicted of other charges, including false imprisonment. Many on social media were outraged that he was involved in the once-high-profile crime.
Here’s what you need to know:
Yusef Hawkins’ Murder Sparked Marches in the Street
According to Hip Hop DX, the 16-year-old Hawkins was with three other Black teenagers, all of whom were walking through the predominately Italian-American area of Bensonhurst in Brooklyn. Hawkins, a native of Bentonville, was going to the area because there was a used 1982 Pontiac being sold there for $900. However, the mob misidentified them and believed that they were going to the home of a local girl.
According to All That’s Interesting, the “local girl” was an 18-year-old half-Puerto Rican woman named Gina Feliciano. She had invited Black and Hispanic friends to her birthday and had also “refused to date one of the white men in the mob,” the article states. The article also said that Feliciano told police she had seen the mob gathering outside her home and also recalled one of them show her a gun and tell her, “You better watch yourself with your n***** friends.”
Hip Hop DX reported that as they left a corner shop, Hawkins and his friends were followed by ten white men, some of whom were holding bats. The mob of ten grew to 30, some of whom were yelling racial slurs such as “Let’s club the n*****s.” Hawkin was fatally shot in the chest twice, later dying in the hospital.
Hawkins’ parents, Moses J. Stewart and Diane Hawkins, were devastated. “To see my son’s life wasted because of some indiscriminatory fool with a gun in his hands who saw nothing but a Black man is a very, very vile thing to me,” Stewart said, according to reporting from All That’s Interesting. Hawkins has recently been accepted into a technical high school, had an interest in engineering and enjoyed basketball, according to the “Storm Over Brooklyn” documentary.
Raucci Was Acquitted of Murder, Convicted on Lesser Charges
The case sparked national outrage, with Reverend Al Sharpton, Reverend Jesse Jackson and the Nation of Islam’s Minister Louis Farrakhan paying attention to the case, Okay Player reported. According to a 1989 Washington Post article, those marching in the streets were confronted with racist residents in Bensonhurst. “In one of the ugliest scenes in New York in recent years, several hundred white residents taunted the marchers, shouting “N*****s go home” and waving watermelons,” the article stated.
Nearly a dozen members of the mob were arrested and accused of taking part of the murder, including Raucci; according to the New York Times, only eight of the 30 young men were actually charged for crimes.
According to a 1991 Buffalo News story, Raucci was acquitted of murder and manslaughter and convicted of three counts of unlawful imprisonment, four counts of menacing and one count of the criminal possession of a weapon.
Only one person, Joseph Fama, was convicted of murder in relation to the incident.
Raucci Worked at Hot 97 and Its Parent Company for Decades
According to a LinkedIn page from a “Paddy Duke” who worked at Hot 97, he worked there as a commercial production director for the station from 2003 to this month, a total of 17 years and eight months. His role there, the description reads, was “recording, editing and (the) production of commercial content.”
Before that, “Duke” worked at Emmis Communications, the owners of Hot 97, from December 1994 up to January 2003; he is listed during those nine years as a producer for the Angie Martinez show and a person who filled in for DJs on vacation. He is also listed as a graduate of New Utrecht High School and Brauch College.
Many on Twitter were outraged that Raucci was accused of being involved in a hate-crime and then went on to have a career at a radio station featuring Hip Hop, a style of music intrinsically tied to Black culture.,
One person expressing his anger tweeted, “Being around doesn’t make you down.”
Another person tweeted, “Y’all literally had one of the guys that killed Yusef Hawkins profiteering off hiphop music @ hot97 all these years? 🤯 wow #paddyduke shame! Thank you @Dallas_Penn for bringing this to light for some of us.”
Many on Social Media Believe Hot 97 Was Aware of the Charges Before 2020
After the firing was announced, Twitter exploded with people outraged by the revelations and questioning whether the station knew about his involvement, given that his charges were public information.
Others were especially skeptical that the documentary is what brought the accusations about Raucci’s involvement to the radio station’s attention.
Another person tweeted, “yo that #PaddyDuke s*** aint no secret. mogs been known that about dude and him workin at #Hot97. a f****** documentary comes out on #Netflix and yall swear yall Sherlock Holmes. Shit like this been happening in hip-hop since the BEGINNING. #JMJ killers took pics at his mural #FOH.”
Moreover, people have noted that Raucci’s firing came on the 31st anniversary of Hawkins’ murder.