New York City’s first black Mayor, Democrat David N. Dinkins, died Monday at his Manhattan home at the age of 93.
Police reportedly responded to Dinkins home Monday evening after a home health aide found him, according to ABC 7. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the report.
Former Republican New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani tweeted his condolences.
I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Mayor David Dinkins, and to the many New Yorkers who loved and supported him.
He gave a great deal of his life in service to our great City.
That service is respected and honored by all.
— Rudy W. Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) November 24, 2020
Attorney General Letitia James also expressed her condolences in a statement calling Dinkins an “inspiration.”
“For decades, Mayor Dinkins lead with compassion and an unparalleled commitment to our communities. His deliberative and graceful demeanor belied his burning passion for challenging the inequalities that plague our society,” James said.
“Personally, Mayor Dinkins’ example was an inspiration to me from my first run for city council to my campaigns for public advocate and attorney general. I was honored to have him hold the Bible at my inaugurations because I, and others, stand on his shoulders.”
Originally a member of the New York State Assembly, Dinkins then went on to be the Manhattan borough president before becoming the 106th mayor in 1990.
During his time in office, Dinkins faced a slew of issues.
In August, 1991 a Jewish driver hit and killed a 7-year-old African American child Gavin Cato, according to ABC 7. Then a group of black men stabbed and killed Jewish student Yankel Rosenbaum, setting off a three day riot, according to the same report. Dinkins was criticized for not acting fast enough to quell the violence that led to nearly 190 people getting hurt, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Dinkins looked back on the riots in 2011, saying he regrets his handling, according to Reuters.
“The thing that hurt the most, I suppose, was to be accused by some of permitting – holding the police back – and permitting young blacks to attack Jews,” he said, according to Reuters. “And this was untrue, inaccurate and not so, and that’s kind of painful. But if I had it to do over again, I would have said maybe 24 hours earlier to police, ‘What you’re doing isn’t working,’ which I finally said.”
After the riots, Dinkins hired more cops, appointing Ray Kelly as the NYPD Commissioner, ABC 7 reports. He also created the Civilian Complaint Review Board which reviews police officer complaints, according to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). (RELATED: De Blasio Vows ‘Visible’ Uptick In Police Presence On Subways After Series Of Bystanders Pushed Onto Tracks)
During his term, Dinkins also inherited a crack cocaine and gun violence epidemic, according to CBS News. Meanwhile unemployment and homelessness were at high levels, according to the same report.
Dinkins spent his brief term spending billions to revitalize neglected housing and getting Walt Disney Corp. to invest in the cleanup of Times Square, CBS reported.