Amadou Diallo: Wikis

  
  
  

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Amadou Diallo
Born September 2, 1975(1975-09-02)
Guinea
Died February 4, 1999 (aged 23)
New York City, New York, United States
Nationality Guinean

Amadou Diallo (September 2, 1975 – February 4, 1999) was a 23-year-old Guinean immigrant in New York City who was shot and killed on February 4, 1999 by four New York City Police Department plain-clothed officers: Sean Carroll, Richard Murphy, Edward McMellon and Kenneth Boss. The four officers fired a total of 41 rounds. The shooting took place at 1157 Wheeler Avenue in the Soundview section of The Bronx. The four were part of the now-defunct Street Crimes Unit. All four officers were acquitted at trial in Albany, New York.

Diallo was unarmed at the time of the shooting, and a firestorm of controversy erupted subsequent to the event as the circumstances of the shooting prompted outrage both within and outside New York City. Issues such as police brutality, racial profiling, and contagious shooting were central to the ensuing controversy.

Contents

Biography

One of four children of Saikou and Kadiatou Diallo, Amadou's family is part of an old Fulbe (Fula or Fulani people) trading family from the Fouta Djallon highlands of Guinea.

He was born in Sinoe County, Liberia, while his father was working there, and grew up following his family to Togo, Bangkok, and Singapore, attending schools in Thailand, and later in Guinea and London, including Microsoft's Asian Institute.

In September 1996, Amadou Diallo came to New York City where other family members had immigrated. He and a cousin started a business.

Diallo had reportedly come to New York City to study but had not enrolled in any school, though he planned to enroll in college to pursue a computer science degree. He sought to remain in the US on a long-term basis by filing an application for political asylum. [1] He sold videotapes, gloves and socks from the sidewalk along 14th Street during the day and studied in the evenings.

Events surrounding death

In the early morning of February 4, 1999, Diallo was standing near his building after returning from a meal. Police officers Edward McMellon, Sean Carroll, Kenneth Boss and Richard Murphy passed by in a Ford Taurus when they thought Diallo matched the description of a (since-captured) serial rapist and approached him. The officers were in plain clothes. The officers claimed that they loudly identified themselves as NYPD officers and that Diallo ran up the outside steps toward his apartment house doorway at their approach, ignoring their orders to stop and "show his hands". As the suspect reached into his jacket, Carroll believed Diallo was drawing a firearm and yelled "Gun!" to alert his colleagues. The officers opened fire on Diallo and during the burst McMellon fell down the steps, appearing to be shot. The four officers fired forty-one shots, hitting Diallo nineteen times. Investigation found no weapons on Diallo's body; the item he had pulled out of his jacket was not a gun, but a wallet.

On March 25 a Bronx grand jury indicted the officers on charges of second-degree murder and reckless endangerment. On December 16 a New York appellate court ordered a change of venue to Albany, New York, stating that pretrial publicity had made a fair trial in New York City impossible. On February 25, 2000, after two days of deliberations, a mixed race jury acquitted the officers of all charges.

Aftermath

Diallo's death, the change of venue, and the verdict each sparked massive demonstrations against police brutality and racial profiling, resulting in more than 1,700 arrests over the course of many weeks. Those arrested in the daily protests at the entrance of One Police Plaza came from all walks of life, and included former NYPD officers, former mayor David Dinkins, Congressmen Charlie Rangel and Gregory Meeks, the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, New York State Assemblyman Ruben Diaz Jr., actress Susan Sarandon, as well as British documentary maker Louis Theroux, and more than a dozen rabbis and other clergy, and numerous federal, state, and local politicians. Charges against the protesters were later dropped. In 2001 the Justice Department announced that it would not charge the officers with having violated Diallo's civil rights.

On April 18, 2000, Diallo's mother, Kadiatou, and his stepfather, Sankarella Diallo filed a US$61,000,000 ($20m plus $1m for each shot fired) lawsuit against the City of New York and the officers, charging gross negligence, wrongful death, racial profiling, and other violations of Diallo's civil rights. In March 2004, they accepted a US$3,000,000 settlement. The settlement was reportedly one of the highest against the City of New York for a single man with no dependents under New York State's restrictive wrongful death law, which limits damages to pecuniary loss by the descedant's next of kin.[citation needed] Anthony H. Gair a partner in the law firm of Gair, Gair, Conason, Steigman & Mackauf, lead counsel for the Diallo family, argued that Federal Common Law should apply pursuant to Section 1983 of the civil rights act.

In April 2002, as a result of the killing of Diallo and other controversial actions, the Street Crime Unit was disbanded. In 2003, Amadou Diallo's mother Kadiatou published a memoir, My Heart Will Cross This Ocean: My Story, My Son, Amadou, with the help of author Craig Wolff (ISBN 0-345-45600-9).

Diallo's death became an issue in the 2005 mayoral election in New York City. Bronx borough president, and mayoral candidate, Fernando Ferrer, who had protested the circumstances of Diallo's death at the time, told a meeting of police sergeants that although the shooting had certainly been a tragedy, there was subsequently a move to "over-indict" the officers involved. This led to criticism of Ferrer by the Diallo family.[citation needed]

The event even spurred subsequent social psychology research. Eberhard and colleagues (2004) conducted experiments with police officers which revealed that they took longer to decide to not shoot an unarmed black target than an unarmed white target, and were quicker to decide to shoot an armed black target than an armed white target.[2]

Amadou Diallo is buried in the village of Hollande Bourou in the Fouta Djallon, a highland region in the center of Guinea, West Africa, where his extended family resides.[citation needed]

Cultural references to Diallo

In music, Diallo and the shooting incident has been referred to in works by 88 Keys, Aesop Rock, Agnostic Front, Akon, Antipop Consortium, Anthony David, Army of the Pharaohs, Beanie Sigel, Beastie Boys, Big Stan, Brothers Keepers, Bruce Springsteen, Bun B, Capone-N-Noreaga, Common, Cunninlynguists, Dead Prez, DMX, Strike Anywhere, Elliott Sharp, Erykah Badu, Fabolous, The Game, Greenhouse Effect, Immortal Technique, INDK, Jay-Z, Jedi Mind Tricks, Jen Chapin, Jemeni, J-Live, KRS-One, Lauryn Hill, Le Tigre, Leftöver Crack, Mash Out Posse, MC chris, Merauder, Mike Ladd, Mischief Brew, Monsta Island Czars, Morning Glory, Mos Def, Northern State, Organized Noise, Papoose, Paris (rapper), Percee P, Pharoahe Monch, Public Enemy (band), Rage Against the Machine, Roni Size, Roy Campbell, Saigon, Spooks, State Radio, Sun Rise Above, Talib Kweli, Terry Callier, Trivium, Shyne, Wyclef Jean, Youssou N'Dour, Zack de la Rocha, Bunny Wailer, Damien Marley, Ziggy Marley, Diabolic (rapper), and Wu-Tang Clan.

In books and poetry, there are references in works by Mumia Abu-Jamal, Lorenzo Thomas, Ross Gay, Dave Eggers, Malcolm Gladwell, Jeffrey McDaniel, Asha Bandele and Inga Muscio.

In film and television, there are references in 25th Hour, Phone Booth, Double Take, The Awful Truth, Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends, NYPD Blue, Law & Order, The Boondocks (TV series), Children of Men and Tell No One.

The graffiti artist Host18 has painted many tributes to Diallo by the wording 41Shots.

See also

Similar cases

References

  1. ^ Diallo background in New York City
  2. ^ Kassin, Saul (2007). Social Psychology 7th Edition. City: Not Avail. ISBN 0618868461. 

External links








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