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The Continuing Shame

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A rather straightforward article in this past Sunday’s New York Times on the August 30, 1999 death of Gidone Busch eloquently points to the continuing shame to our community in that tragic event. At the time, The Jewish Press devoted much space to extensive and meticulous analyses of the tragedy. The burden of our effort was that justice was plainly not done and a major cover-up of the NYPD’s irresponsibility took place. Yet, none of our vaunted Jewish organizations took up the cudgels on the issue. Instead, they fawningly endorsed the palpably untenable spin put out by the Giuliani Administration and confirmed by the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.

In matter of fact language, in his regular ‘Following Up’ column, Joseph Fried drives the point home. Headlined, ‘Recalling The Mismatch Of A Hammer Vs. Guns,’ here is part of what he had to say:

In Borough Park, Brooklyn, where 12 bullets tore into Gidone Busch outside his home, hundreds of residents angrily protested the killing.

The New York City police commissioner then, Howard Safir, termed the shooting justified. He said officers sent to the scene after a caller reported that a man with a hammer was acting strangely – had fired only as Mr. Busch, 31, who had a history of mental illness, was beating a fallen sergeant with the hammer.

Witnesses disputed Mr. Safir’s account. And the Brooklyn district attorney’s office found that while Mr. Busch had struck the sergeant earlier, without causing serious injury, the officers fired after he had broken free of them and was at least six feet from the closest officer. But the prosecutors also said a thorough investigation had shown that the officers had been legally justified in firing because they reasonably believed that Mr. Busch, still brandishing the hammer, remained a threat to them.

Perhaps, when term limits take effect in a few months, our precious leaders may be willing to publicly address this travesty.

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