A Black Mayor's Legacy And A Police Clash

David Dinkins
William Anderson
December 18, 2020

When the dust settled, David Dinkins won. He became New York City’s first Black mayor in a race against Rudy Giuliani, who was U.S. Attorney at the time. Despite the historic significance of the victory, Giuliani and the police would do something the city never forgot.

Giuliani was resentful, and accused Mayor Dinkins of “cheating” despite having no evidence. Dinkins’ tenure in 1989 was a time when New York was struggling with the crack cocaine epidemic, financial woes, and high crime rates. Then came a police riot.

Giuliani led thousands of off-duty police in a riot outside City Hall. Why? Dinkins had called for a Civilian Complaint Review Board and a special investigatory commission to investigate police misconduct. The message behind this attack was clear.

NYPD officers rallied, calling Dinkins racial slurs and carrying signs depicting him in sex acts. Eventually Giuliani replaced Dinkins as mayor – to then take credit for an increase in police hiring that Dinkins implemented during his tenure. This made another offense unsurprising.

When Dinkins passed away in November of 2020, Rudy Giuliani was among the first to offer condolences. Giuliani failed to mention his attacks, but Black New Yorkers and history will never forget his racism against the first and only Black mayor of New York City.

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