The Crown Heights riot was a three-day racial riot that occurred from August 19 to August 21, 1991 in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York City. It turned black residents against the Orthodox Jewish residents. The riots began on August 19, 1991, after two children of Guyanese immigrants were accidentally struck by a Jewish driver. One child died and the second was severely injured. In its wake, several Jews were seriously injured and one Orthodox Jewish man Yankel Rosenbaum was killed.
About three hours after the riots began, early on the morning of August 20, a group of approximately 20 young black men surrounded 29-year-old Australian Jew, Yankel Rosenbaum, a University of Melbourne student in the United States conducting research for his doctorate. They stabbed him several times in the back and beat him severely, fracturing his skull. Before being taken to the hospital, Rosenbaum was able to identify 16-year-old Lemrick Nelson, Jr. as his assailant in a line-up shown to him by the police. Rosenbaum died later that night.
For three days following the accident, numerous African Americans and Caribbean Americans of the neighborhood, joined by growing numbers of non-residents, rioted in Crown Heights. Many of the rioters did not even live in Crown Heights. During the riots, Jews were injured, stores were looted, and cars and homes were damaged. The rioters identified Jewish homes by the mezuzot affixed to the front doors.