This Day in Black History: Dec. 20, 1986

White mob attacks three Black men in Howard Beach, New York.

Posted: 12/20/2012 07:00 AM EST

On Dec. 20, 1986, three Black men were chased down by a white mob in the neighborhood of Howard Beach, New York. The now infamous incident resulted in the death of one of the teens and would be remembered as one of the most explosive racial crimes in New York City's history.

Michael Griffith, Cedric Sandiford and Timothy Grimes stopped in the predominantly white neighborhood after their car broke down. A local pizza owner refused to let them use his phone to call for assistance. After leaving the pizza shop, the young men were chased down by an angry gang of teens. Griffith, 23, was chased into oncoming traffic, hit by a car and died. Sandiford survived but was beaten severely by the mob. Grimes was able to outrun his attackers.

Rev. Al Sharpton and other Black leaders staged demonstrations to draw attention to the case and rallied to bring the perpetrators to justice. Three of the attackers would be charged with murder, manslaughter and assault.

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(Photo: New York Times Co./Getty Images)

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