36 years ago on June 12th, 1985
A teen and his brother attempt to rob a plainclothes police officer near Morningside Park, leading the officer to shoot and kill one of them
Lee Van Houten was on duty as a plainclothes officer at the time, and was pulled to the ground and beaten. He pulled his gun from an ankle holster and fired at the muggers, killing 17-year-old Edmund Perry while his brother Jonah Perry escaped. Despite public outcry after the shooting and headlines claiming that the honor student was killed just for being black, 23 witnesses corroborated the police officer's story of the attempted robbery and the shooting was deemed justified.
The shooting is rumored to have partially inspired Michael Jackson's song "Bad", which was released shortly after the incident. Jackson said in an interview that it was based on a magazine story he had read around the time of the shooting, but the lyrics tell an altered story of a private school student being killed by his peers after coming back home from school.