L&O, Episode 4.19
Production number: 69030
First aired: 13 April 1994
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Briscoe Logan Sanctuary
Written By
Michael S. Chernuchin & William N. Fordes

Directed By
Arthur W. Forney

Racial tensions climb in the City over the handling of the death of a black boy, deemed an accident, and a white Italian-American man during subsequent racial protests.


The episode begins with a hit-and-run car accident in Harlem where a twelve-year-old black boy is hit by a car and killed. A while later the driver, a Jewish businessman, turns himself in and admits he left the scene out of fear. He claims the boy just ran in front of his car and he couldn't avoid him; forensic tests confirm his story. As a result, he is only charged with the misdemeanor of leaving the scene of an accident and agrees to perform community service.

Outragred over the result of the case, a local prominent black clergyman begins organizing protests over the way the police department and District Attorney's office handled the case. Urged on by the clergyman, one of the protests turns violent and ends with the killing of a white man (of Italian descent) by a black protester, while the crowd screamed "Get the Jew!".

The black protester is charged with the homicide of the white man, and racial tensions over the way both cases have been handled come close to boiling over.

Green builds her defense on an expert that claims Roberts was out of his mind because he was in a mob. After calling Berger as a witness and ignoring the judge, this defense is ruled inadmissable.

The trial ends when the jury is deadlocked and Schiff orders Stone to let Roberts go. The episode ends with Stone saying that he is not sure how long he will stay in his job.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast



Background information and notes

  • This episode is based on the Crown Heights Riot. Yosef Lifsh, veered into the sidewalk, striking and killing a seven-year-old Guyanese boy named Gavin Cato and seriously injuring his cousin Angela, also seven years of age. Eyewitnesses have given various reports of the car's speed, from 25 miles per hour to 65. Lifsh left for Israel before ever facing charges. The black residents of the neighborhood then rioted for four consecutive days. (Crown Heights riot at Wikipedia)
  • The Law & Order second season episode "The Fertile Fields" was also based on the Crown Heights Riot.

Episode scene cards

1 2 3

Investigation Squad
One Police Plaza
Tuesday, January 30

Grand Jury Room
Thursday, February 15

St. Cassandra's Hospital
974 East 106th Street
Friday, February 16

4 5 6

27th Precinct
Office Of Lt. Van Buren
Thursday, February 26

Chambers Of
Judge Steinman
Monday, April 1

Supreme Court
Trial Part 67
Thursday, April 18

7 8

Supreme Court
Trial Part 67
Monday, April 22

Office Of
District Attorney
Adam Schiff
Tuesday, April 30

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