Ahmed Diallo, 22, an unarmed Bronx street peddler who immigrated from Guinea in West Africa, had returned home from selling his wares hats, gloves and video tapes at 11:30 p.m. His roommates had gone to sleep, and Diallo left the apartment. "Sometimes he would go out for a bottle of juice or something to eat," a roommate said.
About 12:30 a.m., the cops had an encounter with Diallo near his apartment. A few minutes later, the shooting began. He was gunned down at close range by four plainclothes cops who fired 41 bullets. Police Officers Edward McMellon, 26, and Sean Carroll, 35 emptied the 16-bullet cartridges in their 9-mm. handguns. 3 of the cops were involved in prior shootings, including a fatality.
Diallo was pronounced dead at the scene, his bullet riddled lay body face up in the lighted vestibule of his apartment building. His wallet and a beeper lay next to him. Bullet casings were scattered on the walkway outside the building, a few feet from the front door. More than a dozen bullet holes bored the walls and inner door of the vestibule; near apartment doors, and in the living room wall of Diallo's first-floor apartment.
There were no civilian witnesses to the shooting, police said. Many neighbors said they heard the gunfire and ducked for cover. One neighbor looked out his window and saw one cop with his gun drawn, screaming an obscenity. Another neighbor said she saw a cop throw his cap down in disgust.
Police said the victim had no criminal record. Diallo's death seemed a horrible error. "The police told me it was a mistake," said Diallo's roommate, who was asked to identify the body.
The 4 officers,McMellon, Carroll, Kenneth Boss, 27, and Richard Murphy, 26, assigned to the department's street-crime unit were investigating a rape pattern in the area. They were treated at an area hospital for trauma and ringing in their ears.
In 1997, Boss shot and killed a man in Brooklyn. Carroll returned fire at a gunman in August 1997 in the Bronx, but no one was hit. McMellon wounded a gunman in Brooklyn in June, and a 9-mm. gun was recovered.
Steven Worth, a Patrolmen's Benevolent Association attorney, said "a full explanation will reveal that the officers acted properly."
Diallo's friends on 14th St. and his Soundview neighbors remembered the kind, mild-mannered man and how he spent his last day. Like any other day, these 14th St. merchants, most of whom are Bangladeshi, made change for Diallo, watched his wares while he prayed and chatted with the 22-year-old West African immigrant on his favorite subjects: basketball and Islam.
A US federal appeals court overturned the convictions of 3 white police officers in the Abner Louima torture case, finding insufficient evidence they obstructed justice.
The Amadou Diallo Educational, Humanitarian & Charity Foundation Started in August 1999 by Saikou A. Diallo, the father of Amadou Diallo, to insure his son's death would not be in vain. The foundation's primary objective is to memorialize Amadou's name by furthering the causes that laid the foundation to Amadou's life; education, humanitarian causes and charity. In addition, the foundation looks to Support efforts dedicated to the eradication of police brutality and racial profiling.
Diallo.net - Dedicated to Amadou Diallo, his family, each and every Guinean throughout the world, and to the hundreds of thousands of individuals who have quietly, and not so quietly, honored his memory with prayers, protests and various expressions of the heart.
Articles in the Court TV Archives - Complete case coverage.
'This is outright slaughter; if he was facing a firing squad, he would not have been fired at 41 times' -- the Rev. Al Sharpton
Diallo autopsy report - Amadou Diallo was unarmed when he was killed by police in a fusillade of 41 bullets outside his Bronx apartment house on Feb. 4, 1999. Now the four officers are on trial for second-degree murder. The following autopsy report was prepared by Joseph Cohen, M.D., of the Office of Chief Medical Examiner for the City of New York. Cohen took the stand February 8, 2000 for the prosecution. He testified that various gunshot wounds indicate that Diallo was shot repeatedly while already down.
Diallo officers' attorneys: shooting was reasonable accident, not crime.
against officers in Diallo Shooting - Full Indictment - The
grand jury of Bronx County, by this indictment, accuses the defendants
At Diallo Trial, It's All Pace and No Race - A TIME.com special report on the case that is putting get-tough policing tactics on trial.
Fast-Paced Diallo Trial Has Not Been Kind to Defense - There's still time for police officers' side to regroup; upcoming testimony will be key to verdict.
At Diallo Trial, a Mother's Burdensome Vigil
Officers acquitted of all charges in Diallo shooting - The defense successfully claimed that Amadou Diallo was responsible for the events that led to his accidental shooting. Lawyers for the officers argued that Diallo, for reasons unknown, failed to heed a police order to halt, making a routine police stop-and-question escalate into a shooting.
Diallo jurors say prosecutors made 'huge mistakes' - 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 Amadou Diallo case: The social and political roots of police violence.
The lethal shooting of unarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo - A year after the killing, the officers responsible for Diallo's death were acquitted on all charges in an Albany state court. Civil rights activists have protested the verdict, and now the Justice Department may file a civil rights case against the officers.
Justice department will "look at" Diallo case - With hundreds of protesters marching outside his office, the U.S. Deputy Attorney General said that the Justice Department will look at the Amadou Diallo shooting case. However, Eric Holder warned that a civil rights case against the four NYPD officers acquitted of murder and reckless endangerment charges would be difficult to prosecute.
AFTER THE VERDICT - What has happened in New York City since the acquittal of four police officers in the shooting death of immigrant Amadou Diallo.
Diallo's parents sue New York City - The parents of Amadou Diallo sued the city and the 4 policemen involved in their son's shooting death for $81 million, including $1 million for each of the 41 bullets fired. The remaining $40 million was for pain and suffering endured since the Feb. 4, 1999 killing of their son. Suit filed by parents of Amadou Diallo against City of New York.
My son loves cops - How and when do I tell him about Amadou Diallo?
Brutal verdict - Behind the acquittal of four officers is a clear indictment of standard police procedure in Giuliani's New York.
Amadou Diallo Case by all of the top editorial cartoonists.
Copyright Kari Sable 1994-2006