ADL URGES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TO UNDERTAKE INVESTIGATION
INTO RACIALLY AND RELIGIOUSLY MOTIVATED ASSAULT IN HARLEM
New York, NY, December 20, 1995...The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today urged
Attorney General Janet Reno to undertake an investigation into the apparently
racially and religiously-motivated Harlem massacre which left seven people
Rowland J. Smith Jr., a protestor in a campaign to drive the white-Jewish
owned Freddy's Fashion Mart on 125th Street from the community, walked into
the store allegedly shouting racial and anti-Semitic epithets, opened fire
and set the building ablaze, before turning the gun on himself.
"Although the perpetrator of the hate crime which destroyed Freddy's
clothing store and killed seven people himself died in the blaze,"
wrote Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, to the Attorney General,
"there are many unanswered questions about the responsibility of others
who may have instigated or incited this crime."
In urging the Justice Department to take official action in this investigation,
Mr. Foxman said, "Since these questions revolve around an assault which
was racially and religiously motivated, they implicate not only New York
criminal statutes but federal civil rights laws as well."
While ADL commends New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for encouraging a grand
jury investigation into the crime, "this is a crime which has had and
continues to have repercussions which extend beyond 125th Street and even
beyond New York and vigorous public involvement by the Department of Justice
would demonstrate the seriousness the federal government attaches to violent
crimes motivated by racial, ethnic and religious hatred," added Mr.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.