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BENSONHURST ACQUITTAL SPARKS PROTEST

By United Press International / May 21, 1990



NEW YORK

A federal prosecutor said Saturday he would discuss bringing civil rights charges against Keith Mondello, a white youth acquitted of murder in the death of a black teenager. US Attorney Andrew Maloney said he and District Attorney Charles Hynes would consider statements made to reporters by a woman who said she heard Mr. Mondello urge co-defendant Joseph Fama to shoot Yusuf Hawkins.

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The comments were publicized Friday after a jury acquitted Mondello of murder and manslaughter charges. He was found guilty of 12 lesser charges, including riot, unlawful imprisonment, and discrimination.

Prosecutors charged Mondello with being the leader of a mob that attacked Mr. Hawkins and three others.

Mr. Fama was convicted Thursday, by a second jury that heard the same testimony, of second-degree murder in the killing of Hawkins.

Hawkins family supporters took to the street Friday night after the Mondello verdict. One person threw a garbage can through the plate glass window of a coffee shop near the courthouse. Five local television news employees received minor injuries in other incidents.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, an activist who has been an adviser to Hawkins's parents, said Saturday that he did not condone the violence.

Mr. Sharpton led about 500 marchers through Bensonhurst, starting from the corner where Hawkins was killed. About 500 local residents, mostly young people, lined the route. Angry words were exchanged between the marchers and some spectators.

Other local residents sounded a conciliatory note. Parishioners of the Lefferts Park Baptist Church stood along the route holding signs that read, ``Pray for the peace of Brooklyn,'' and ``Bensonhurst is not guilty but grieved.''