Saturday, June 18, 2005

Yankel's kin to get 1.25M

NY Daily News
Yankel's kin to get 1.25M


Nearly 14 years after Yankel Rosenbaum was killed in the Crown Heights race riots, the city agreed yesterday to pay $1.25 million to settle a civil suit and to acknowledge that poor care at a city hospital contributed to his death.

"It's an important development today that they accepted responsibility," said Yankel's older brother, Norman Rosenbaum. "The loss is in no way diminished. The pain remains."

The Rosenbaum family had turned down a previous $1 million settlement offer from the Health and Hospitals Corp. that didn't admit mistakes at Kings County Hospital.

Yesterday, the family got the statement they had sought for so long.

"Kings County Hospital recognizes that diagnostic and treatment errors made during the emergency room care provided to Yankel Rosenbaum in the hours after his stabbing played a role in his death," HHC said yesterday. "We extend our condolences to the Rosenbaum family."

Yankel Rosenbaum, a Hasidic scholar and doctoral student from Australia, was stabbed four times on Aug. 19, 1991, after he was spotted by a furious mob that formed after a Hasidic driver accidentally struck and killed 7-year-old Gavin Cato, an African-American boy. Rosenbaum had just left his house to get a haircut and was unaware that riots had broken out in his predominantly black Brooklyn neighborhood.

After the stabbing, Rosenbaum was alert enough to identify his attacker, Lemrick Nelson, 16 at the time, for police and was conscious when he arrived at the hospital. But Kings County staff failed to detect one of Rosenbaum's stab wounds, an error that likely led to Rosenbaum's death, according to a 1991 state report.

The civil suit was filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court in 1991 but couldn't be heard until all the criminal cases against Rosenbaum's assailant had been resolved.

Nelson was acquitted of murder in 1992, but the Rosenbaums pushed the U.S. attorney to pursue a civil rights case. He was convicted and sentenced to a 19-year federal prison term in 1997. That conviction was overturned in 2002; a year later another jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to 10 years, most of which he had already served. Nelson was freed last year.

Originally published on June 17, 2005