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Diallo jurors say prosecutors made 'huge mistakes'

Harder
Helen Harder says 'none of (the jurors) are very happy. But that's the way it worked out.'  

February 29, 2000
Web posted at: 7:22 a.m. EST (1222 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Some of the jurors who acquitted the four white New York City police officers in the shooting death of an unarmed black man are speaking out, blaming the outcome of the murder trial on prosecutors.

The Bronx district attorney had called the shooting a murder, claiming that the officers -- motivated by racial assumptions -- shot 41 times at African immigrant Amadou Diallo because they suspected the black man was about to pull a gun.

But jurors who acquitted the four officers of all charges said prosecutors failed to prove that case to them.

  DIALLO QUOTES

Political figures react to the Diallo verdict

 
 VIDEO
VideoNew York Mayor Rudy Giuliani comments on the Diallo verdicts.
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 VIDEO
VideoKadiatou Diallo, mother of Amadou Diallo, comments on the verdicts.
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  MESSAGE BOARD
 

"I think these young men had responsibility, but whatever they did -- it was within the guidelines of New York State law," said juror Helen Harder.

"I'm not saying it's a happy verdict," Harder said. "I know the cops are happy. None of (the jurors) are very happy. But that's the way it worked out."

The jurors' public criticism of the prosecution's case is their first response to angry questions, repeatedly asked this weekend by demonstrators and public officials, about the not guilty verdict.

One black female juror who spoke by phone to CNN called the prosecution's case "a series of huge mistakes and bad calls."

She expressed shock that prosecutors never mentioned race during the trial and said their questioning of witnesses was "weak."

The juror also questioned why the prosecutor had no rebuttal to the defense in such a complicated case. And she asked why prosecutors did not cross-examine an expert defense witness on police procedure.

Johnson
District attorney Robert Johnson says the four acquitted police officers should resign  

"They didn't counter what he said, which is that the police acted appropriately," the juror said.

For his part, the prosecutor of the Diallo case is not second-guessing his work. He has rejected calls for his resignation.

"I think somebody who policed in the way these four officers policed that night -- they should resign," said Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson.

It is likely the four officers will face a jury again. The Diallo family plans a civil suit against the city. And the officers face a possible federal civil rights investigation.



RELATED STORIES:
Diallo verdict protesters call for Washington march, economic boycott
February 27, 2000
More protests planned over acquittal of officers in Diallo case
February 26, 2000
Jurors reach decision in Diallo case
February 25, 2000
Video: Inside the courtroom as the verdict is announced
February 25, 2000
Diallo jurors ask twice about charges less than murder
February 24, 2000

RELATED SITES:
New York City Police Department
Capital Region Justice For Diallo Committee

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