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Diallo Incident One Officers Perspective

Diallo Incident; One Officers Perspective Craig H. Brockman Instructor: Eric Becker College Writing 221624 23 April 2000 The Diallo Incident; One Officers Perspective In the quiet post-midnight hours of February 4, 1999, 41 shots rang out in the entry vestibule of a South Bronx apartment house. Within seconds, a young man laid dead, four policemen standing over his lifeless body. A 22-year-old immigrant from West Africa was the unfortunate victim. The police officers: four white men from the New York City Police Department’s Street Crimes Unit (SCU). And almost before daylight could illumine the city’s vast tract of high-rise businesses and low-rise brownstones, there came the first calls of Police Brutality, Racism, even Murder.

But were these four officers, who together fired 41 shots at an unarmed young man, indeed, guilty as charged? Or was this shooting, as the officers would attempt to explain, a tragedy of the greatest possible human dimensions? Did the media ask the right questions and act in a responsible manner? Did the local politicians act in a responsible manner? And were they inappropriate actions or were they appropriate for the situation? Has society changed that much? Do we, society, take the word of the media’s insight, and follow people who thrive on media attention? Who are the real prosecutors? Who makes the decision to condemn the actions of four police officers? Do we prosecute the officers of a police department who were trained to do what they did? Has anyone of these so-called experts ever looked into the past situations of men and women in the police department? And then ask the question: Why did they (the police) shoot that unarmed man? Has the police department trained the police officers the proper way? Or will the police departments around the country now train police officers to become less aggressive, giving way for an officer to worry about jail time and the loss of his financial status? Will this lead the police to turn a blind-eye in order to not get involved, and avoid their names being the target of political and community leaders? These are questions to be asked and answered. But the real questions should be asked to the people that care about their communities. These questions should not be asked to the followers of these self proclaimed community leaders who possibly couldn’t care less about the quality of life that surrounds their community, some of who live in another state, and may not concern themselves with the pursuit of happiness of the people that live in that community, but the media attention they can receive. This is one officers perspective, a perspective that some may not agree with, but it is honest, it is true, and it is heart wrenching. This is no hype, no media propaganda. This is the view of an incident that happened on a Bronx street on a winter’s night in 1999.

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Hopefully this will be a thought-provoking view, for not only the reader, but also the author. Just ask yourself these questions that I have posted, and I hope that you will understand my perspective. In the early morning hours of February 4, 1999 a tragedy occurred which would eventually separate the people of City of New York and its police department. On this morning, four members of the New York City Police Departments Street Crime Unit {SCU} were on patrol in the Bronx within the confines of the 43rd Precinct: a precinct in a neighborhood that is considered a high crime area. The four officers on patrol were: Police Officer Sean Carroll, 36, Police Officer Kenneth Boss, 28, Police Officer Edward McMellon, 27, and Police Officer Richard Murphy, 27. These four officers would, on this morning, come in contact with Mr. Amadou Diallo, 22, an African immigrant who now lived in the Bronx.

On this morning, slightly after twelve midnight, the four officers were assigned to plainclothes and had an unmarked radio motor patrol car (RMP) as their patrol vehicle; this is standard operation for the SCU. Their job is to keep an eye on the street for criminal behavior and prevent crimes when possible. The officers drove down the block of Wheeler Avenue at about this time of the morning. P.O. Carroll, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, looked to his right and saw what appeared to be a man peering through the vestibule area of 1157 Wheeler Ave.

P.O. Carroll knew from past crime patterns that when push-in robberies are committed, a lookout is usually placed on the outside of the building, while one or two men ring a doorbell. When the tenant opens the door, the perpetrators push in and rob, rape, and sometimes they will kill the tenant. These types of crime patterns have always had some type of force used. The force sometimes will be physical, and in a lot of situations guns are used. The lookout will alert the perps when a police officer or other persons approach.

At this time, P.O. Carroll told P.O. Boss, the driver of the rmp, to stop the rmp. P.O. Carroll exited the rmp, and as he approached the building, with his police shield displayed on his chest hanging from around his neck. P.O. Carroll instructed Mr.

Diallo to stop. Mr. Diallo turned away from P.O. Carroll placing his back towards the officer. After being told another time from P.O.

Carroll to turn around, Mr. Diallo stood facing the far left hand corner of the vestibule. This is when P.O. Carroll instructed Mr. Diallo to stop again and show his hands; Mr. Diallo at first did not comply verbally or physically.

Suddenly, Mr. Diallo quickly turned in a counterclockwise motion with his right hand extended just above his waist, and in his hand was a black object, an object in which P.O. Carroll believed to be a gun. The positioning of the other officers was also detrimental to this tragedy. P.O. Boss was just about left of and behind P.O.

Carroll at the time P.O. Carroll ascended the couple of steps into the vestibule. P.O. McMellon and P.O. Murphy were approaching the building at the same time as P.O.s Carroll and Boss entered the vestibule.

P.O. Boss also believed he saw a gun, when at this time P.O. Carroll seeing the black object yelled Gun, a common practice used by officers to inform other officers of a threat in the least amount of time. In fear for his life, and the life of his partners, P.O. Carroll fired his weapon at Mr. Diallo. P.O. Boss was also firing, when he attempted to back out of the vestibule and tried to get to cover.

P.O. Boss described the scene during his testimony during direct examination: I saw Mr. Diallo — he was in the back of the vestibule — he was crouched, he was down low — and he had his hand out — and I seen a gun — in his hand. P.O. McMellon had run up to the vestibule and fired four shots.

P.O. McMellon also saw Mr. Diallo crouching with an outstretched hand, after firing his shots, P.O. McMellon fell backwards down the few steps that led to the vestibule, he landed on his buttocks, breaking his tailbone. P.O.s Boss and Murphy thought that McMellon was shot.

All at the same time P.O. Murphy had fired five shots at Mr. Diallo in order, because at this time P.O. Murphy still felt that Mr. Diallo was a threat and also saw what appeared to be a gun in Mr. Diallos right hand, it subsequently turned out to be a black wallet in Mr.

Diallos palm. This entire episode lasted approximately five seconds, and a total of 41 shots were fired, with 19 of those shots hitting Mr. Diallo. Within hours of this tragedy there was public outrage led by the infamous Reverend Al Sharpton. Without any hesitance, Rev.

Sharpton was reaching out to the media and calling the four officers murderers. Without due process being admitted to the officers, the reverend had these officers tried, convicted, and hung. Mayor Giuliani quickly came to the defense of the officers as he usually does. He asked the media and the public to give the officers the benefit of the doubt until the investigation was completed. What followed was a protest in front of One Poli …


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