Radio personality Pasquale Raucci, also known as Paddy Duke, has been fired from HOT97 after a documentary revealed his alleged involvement in the killing of Yusuf Hawkins, a Black teenager who was killed by a white mob in 1989.
According to Complex, the HBO documentary Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn, premiered earlier this month and detailed the Bensonhurst, Brooklyn killing.
Hawkins and his friends, who traveled to Bensonhurst to scope out a 1982 Pontiac which was for sale, were misidentified by a mob of white men when they arrived in the town. The white men were looking for a Black man who they believed was dating a white woman, Complex reported.
After the group of about 30 white men surrounded Hawkins and his friends carrying baseball bats, one of them shot Hawkins. Raucci, who initially faced murder charges for his involvement, was convicted on a lesser count.
In a statement on Twitter, HOT97 condemned Raucci's alleged involvement.
"After watching HBO's Storm over Brooklyn, HOT97 was shocked and took swift action," the station stated. "Paddy Duke is no longer employed by HOT97. The march for social justice continues."
— Paper Route TRiLL (@HellaTrill713) August 24, 2020
According to OkayPlayer, Emmis Communications hired Raucci as a producer in 1994, five years after the shooting. That was the same year in which the company bought HOT97, transforming the station to a medium for mostly hip-hop and R&B music.
The station is now facing public criticism for waiting this long to fire Raucci.
Hot 97 had to know.
Even this 2019 article has a photo of Pasquale Raucci (Paddy Duke) in court after the murder of Yusef (often spelled Yusuf) Hawkins.
Bigotry in Bensonhurst and the murder of Yusuf Hawkins – New York Daily News https://t.co/MRH8nKQRIP
— Dr. Kimya Nuru Dennis, 365 Diversity, LLC (@365DiversityLLC) August 23, 2020
People are in disbelief after seeing how the man enjoyed more than two decades at the station despite the allegations.
Just finished watched "Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn" and realized that Pasquale Raucci is none other than "Paddy Duke" who (was) program director at @HOT97. Shame on you for letting him enjoy a 25yr career
— Shaina Wiel (@ShaiMW) August 23, 2020
Although he has been known as Paddy Duke throughout his career, people are now remembering the radio executive as he was when he was believed to have been involved in the murder.
Patty’s public apology to Mrs.Hawkins would’ve been healing but instead Hot97 keeps us reeling from the fax they knew this dude from way back. His name is Pasquale Raucci. Say that shit. That’s the name he used when he helped kill Yusuf Hawkins. No one know whos this patty Duke
— dallas penn (@Dallas_Penn) August 23, 2020
People who have been listening to HOT97 for decades are also just now learning about Raucci's identity.
I remember listening to Hot 97 back in the days & Angie would shout out Paddy Duke’s name all the time. I had no idea he was involved in Yusef Hawkins murder ????????♂️????????♂️????????♂️????????♂️
— Brother Maad ???????? (@MaadyNYC) August 22, 2020
Some listeners said they felt cheated by the station.
This dude Pasquale Raucci spent a quarter century eating lovely from HipHop after chasing a Black kid down as part of a lunch mob. We could’ve been given the story of Paul/Pasquale instead of fuxbwoi Paddy Duke
— dallas penn (@Dallas_Penn) August 23, 2020
Hawkins' murder sparked nationwide protests in 1989, according to OkayPlayer. Reverend Al Sharpton and the Nation of Islam’s Minister Louis Farrakhan led the movement in demanding for justice. According to The Washington Post, residents in the predominantly Italian town of Bensonhurst confronted the protesters, waving watermelons and shouting "n***ers go home."
Keith Mondello, 18, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder shortly after the incident. Raucci, who was 19 years old at the time, was initially charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter. Four other men were arrested and charged with multiple counts.
The suspected gunman was identified as 18-year-old Joseph Fama. According to Oxygen, Fama was later convicted, but he continues to insist he didn't commit the murder.
"I don't know who shot Yusuf Hawkins, but it wasn't my friends and it wasn't me," the 49-year-old said in the HBO documentary. "Mere presence is not guilt. If that's the case, then 30 other people are guilty."
Mondello released a statement shortly after the murder, saying a woman named Gina Feliciano was the cause of the confrontation.
"The reason there were baseball bats present on the night of August 23 was that [Feliciano] had told everyone in the neighborhood that she was bringing 25 Blacks to the neighborhood to beat up myself and the rest of the kids in the neighborhood," Mondello wrote.