Indictments expected today in N.Y. immigrant shooting
March 31, 1999
A Bronx grand jury finished hearing the case last week. It's been widely reported that the panel returned second-degree murder indictments against the officers who shot Amadou Diallo, an immigrant from Guinea in western Africa.
He was hit by 19 of 41 bullets fired at him in the vestibule of his apartment building on February 4.
The officers -- Sean Carroll, Edward McMellon, Kenneth Boss and Richard Murphy -- did not testify before the grand jury.
On Tuesday, hundreds of off-duty New York police officers, marching to chants of "It's A Tragedy, Not A Crime," rallied in support of their four colleagues.
The demonstration was held outside the Bronx courthouse where the accused are expected be arraigned.
"These officers have been described as murderers, as Klansmen, as executioners, and people have been demanding their arrest from day one. And we believe it was nothing more than a tragic, tragic mistake," said James Savage, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, the police union.
"They're anxious to speak. They want people to know exactly what happened in that doorway that night and why they fired those shots," Savage said.
Attorneys for the accused officers have said police are allowed to fire their weapons if they believe their lives are in danger, suggesting a possible defense when the case goes to trial.
The officers, who remain on desk duty, were members of the NYPD's elite street crimes unit.
They were on undercover patrol looking for a serial rapist in the Bronx neighborhood where Diallo lived. One defense attorney has said the officers thought Diallo resembled a sketch of the alleged rapist.
"Any officer in the same situation would probably act in the same way," one of the demonstrating officers said.
"This happened to be a mistake, not a crime, and it's being prosecuted unfairly by the public," said another.
Saikou Diallo, the victim's father, arrived in New York on Tuesday to attend the arraignment. He was greeted at John F. Kennedy Airport by the Rev. Al Sharpton, who told reporters he and others would "fight to the end."
"We have an arraignment," Sharpton said, "not a conviction."
Diallo thanked Sharpton and others for their support. Kyle Watters, an attorney for the Diallo family, said he felt sure there can be a "fair legal process."
Diallo's mother, Kadiadou, is expected to arrive Wednesday or Thursday.
Fifteen days of anti-police demonstrations outside the NYPD headquarters in Manhattan came to an end on Monday following news of the arraignments. A total of 1,175 people had been arrested for disorderly conduct for blocking the building's entrance.
Starting April 7, the first of those cases are scheduled to be heard in summons court. Attorneys representing the arrestees met with Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morganthau to discuss the possible dismissal of all the cases.
"We laid out a position we think is in the best interest of New York," said defense attorney Michael Hardy. The violations are punishable by up to 15 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Demonstrators both for and against the accused officers pledge to be in front of the Bronx courthouse Wednesday.
Reuters contributed to this report.
NYPD officers turn out to support their own in Diallo case
NAACP President's Corner: NAACP to join NY protest of Diallo police killing
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.