Amadou Diallo was born in Liberia, born in ’75, his family traveled a lot, and grew up in Bangkok and Singapore.
He came to New York City in ’96 where other family members lived. He lived with his cousin and wanted to stay with his family and start a small business with cousin. He filed for political asylum as he had fear of being returned back to his country. To fill time and earn money to fund his business, he worked as a street peddler, he sold videotapes (if you’re under 18 they’re like YouTube videos but in real life and brick-sized), gloves, socks and whatever he could get his hands on. Something brought up countless times in media reporting at the time; he was an undocumented immigrant. He came to The States in the hope for a better life, and wanted to earn his way up, even if it meant starting from the bottom.
However, this dream was short lived.
In the early morning of a February night in ’99, Amadou was standing near his home after returning from a meal. Around this time, officers Edward McMellon, Sean Carroll, Kenneth Boss and Richard Murphy, wearing plain clothing, passed by in a car.
According to police report; suspected of looking like a serial rapist who had raped someone a year ago, or someone who was looking out for a rapist, the officers went to address Amadou. Confusingly, the officers didn’t address Amadou as a suspected rapist or a lookout, instead crept on Amadou and, according to three eye witnesses such as Schrrie Elliott, began firing without warning. Officers would later testify that they shouted “NYPD” before unholstering their firearms and aiming at Amadou. Amadou, startled, he ran, ran quickly. Amadou ran into his apartment house doorway, and went to get his ID from his wallet. Officer reports claim Carroll then chased him into the house; reaching the porch. Carroll saw Amadou retrieving his wallet, and thought it was a gun. Carroll then shouted “GUN!” and fell backwards off the porch, why he fell? Nobody really knows. Suspected Carroll had been shot, even though there was no gun sound, the other officers then shot. Shot consistently, loading 41 bullets at Amadou. Needless to say Amadou was dead at the scene. Officers continued to claim Amadou ignored officers calls to show his hands, and thought his wallet was a gun.
I’m not a lead expect on firearms; however, I do own a wallet. I can confirm it shares no resemblance to any gun I’ve seen on television before. However, I suspect the eye witness claim is perhaps more viable. After officers began to shoot indiscriminately, without ceasing, Amadou ran inside the house for protection, in which officers kept shooting till they were certain he was dead.
I must stress for legal reasons this is my personal opinion. I must stress this as all officers were acquitted of all wrong doing; and the main officer involved; Kenneth Boss, is still serving with a firearm today.
I believe the eye witness stories rather than Kenneth Boss as investigating this story, I noticed an issue. Kenneth had shot dead before, two years prior; and eye witnesses also claimed Patrick Bailey, the man Kenneth shot had also been unarmed. However, unsurprisingly, Kenneth claimed the man he shot was armed.
Now; the image we have is an unarmed black man, standing, minding his own business. Officers suspected him of being a rapist, or a lookout for a rapist, criminals who are not synonymously tied to weaponry. Upon further investigation, Kenneth and his colleagues found there was no gun held by Amadou, however shot at him anyway, consistently, 41 times.
The post-crime investigation found no weapons on Amadou’s person, in his home, or ever carried by Amadou. Indeed, the report stressed Amadou had a rectangular wallet in his jacket.
Unsurprisingly again, after all this was found out; an internal NYPD investigation ruled the officers had done no wrong doing, and acted within policy. On February a year later, a jury in Albany, New York found all officers were innocent of all wrong doing, even after finding out Kenneth Bosses prior involvement in the killing of Patrick Bailey. Even after finding there was no weapon, or reason to believe Amadou was suspicious in any way. Even after finding out Amadou Diallo had no previous record of crime at all.
Whilst I share no relation to the black community, nor do I know anyone who knew Amadou personally, his story is unsettling. Almost 20 years later, it happens every day, and officers get away with it. Every day.