The American Prospect
Volume 11, Issue 20.
September 11, 2000.
The Other NYPD Murder
Two months after the fact, New York City Mayor Giuliani, purportedly mellowed by prostate cancer, issued an apology of sorts to the family of Patrick Dorismond, the unarmed Haitian-American man killed by New York police in March. The mayor did not apologize for the killing itself or for having personally unsealed Dorismond's juvenile police record the day after the event in a transparent attempt to defame Dorismond and justify the shooting, but he did say he regretted not having shown "compassion for ... a tragic situation." However meager this apology was, it is more than the mayor has ever extended toward the family of Gary Busch, the 31-year-old Hasidic man killed by police in Brooklyn just a year ago.
Gary Busch is the forgotten man on the roster of NYPD killings, a victim not only of 12 bullets fired by four policeman arrayed in a semi-circle around him, but of political and social circumstances that have conspired to make him invisible. Others who have suffered from NYPD overreaction or brutality--Abner Louima, Amadou Diallo, and Patrick Dorismond, to name but the best-known--have enjoyed some measure of public vindication, if only posthumously, largely because the communities from which they come have demanded it. Busch's death, like Dorismond's, points to systemic problems within the NYPD and a mayor all too quick to cover them up, but Busch did not get the kind of support from New York City's Jewish community that Dorismond got from Haitian Americans. In the event, the Jewish establishment proved better at venting about the Holocaust, which takes no particular courage or insight 50 years after the fact, than at assessing and responding to injustice right before its eyes.