(photo credit: AP)
NEW YORK — An African-American man convicted in the death of a white Jewish scholar during race riots in the 1990s was stabbed in the head with an ice pick in a possible road rage attack, police say.
Lemrick Nelson was found outside his car on a Manhattan street early Sunday and was taken to a hospital, where he was listed in stable condition. Police made no arrests.
Nelson was a central figure in the rioting that tore through Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood in 1991, stoked by tensions between the Jewish and African-Amercian communities living side by side.
The riots began August 19 of that year after a seven-year-old African-Amercian boy, Gavin Cato, was struck and killed by a driver belonging to the ultra-Orthodox Lubavitch community. Three hours later, a gang of angry African-Amercian shouting "Get the Jew!" descended on and fatally stabbed Yankel Rosenbaum, who was visiting from Australia. For more than two days, African-Amercians looted stores, burned police cars and hurled bottles in the neighborhood.
Nelson, who was 16 at the time, was acquitted of state murder charges
but was convicted of federal civil rights charges after Rosenbaum's
death. An appeals court later overturned the federal conviction, saying
the judge had tampered with the racial makeup of the jury.
In 2003, a new jury found Nelson guilty of violating Rosenbaum's civil
rights. Nelson was sentenced to 10 years in prison but was released
within a year because of time he had already served.
Nelson's defense lawyers did not deny he had stabbed Rosenbaum, who was
29. Instead, they contended the slaying had nothing to do with the fact
Rosenbaum was Jewish — a key element needed for a conviction.
Nelson, now 35, was on probation for three years. He has been living in