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 Police Brutality goes Unpunished - Amadou Diallo

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Posts : 8
Join date : 2009-02-12
Age : 30

PostSubject: Police Brutality goes Unpunished - Amadou Diallo   Thu Mar 19, 2009 3:32 pm


Amadou Bailo Diallo (September 2, 1975 – February 4, 1999) A 23-year-old immigrant to New York City from Guinea worked legally via temporary United States visa selling gloves, purses, etc on the streets of the city. Traveling much of his life, he went to New York to save up and pursue a college education, after his prior education in Guinea, London, and Microsoft's Asian Institute.

On February 4, 1999, four New York City Police Department officers who were part of the Street Crime Unit passed by a Ford Taurus. They thought they had all seen the serial-rapist they had been searching for, and approached Amadou. The officers state they told him to freeze and put up his hands, but Amadou, perhaps frightened by the non-uniformed men with guns rushing him, headed for the steps of his home and reached for his wallet. The four plain-clothed police officers fired 41 rounds at Amadou, hitting him 19 times, and killing him. Upon the investigation of his death, it was discovered he was completely unarmed, and what he was reaching for was just his wallet.


A Bronx grand jury indicted the officers on charges of second-degree murder and reckless endangerment on March 25, 1999. However a New York appellate court ordered on December 16, 1999, the trail be moved to Albany, New York due to pretrial publicity making New York inable to conduct a fair trial. On February 25, 2000, after two days of deliberations, a jury unanimously voted to acquit the officers of all charges.


Amadou's death was considered by many to be a violation of his civil rights. It has infuriated a wide spectrum of people, ranging from clergy to politicians, from actresses to musicians, even fellow NYPD officers. Protesters of Diallo's death were arrested in the hundreds, totaling over 1,700, all of which were eventually dropped. Diallo's mother, Kadiatou, and his stepfather, Sankarella Diallo on April 18, 2000, filed a US$61,000,000 ($20m plus $1m for each shot fired) lawsuit against the City of New York and the four 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. This settlement was 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. as a result of the killing of Diallo and other controversial actions, the Street Crime Unit was disbanded.

Amadou's murder and the actions of the police officers inspired social Psychologists like Keith Payne (2001) and Joshua Correll et al. (2002) to research prejudice within the police department. Evidence from psychological experiments showed that when the decision must be made quickly, a black man in the United States is more likely to be mistakenly perceived as holding a gun than a white man. Eberhard and colleagues (2004) conducted similar 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.

References to Amadou in music: 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, J-Live, KRS-One, Lauryn Hill, Le Tigre, Leftöver Crack, Mash Out Posse, Mike Ladd, Mischief Brew, Morning Glory, Mos Def, Northern State, Organized Noise, Papoose, Paris (rapper), 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.

References to Amadou in film and television: 25th Hour, Phone Booth, Double Take, The Awful Truth, NYPD Blue, Law & Order, The Boondocks (TV series), Children of Men and Tell No One.

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