19 years ago on this date, a 23 year old Guinean immigrant named Amadou Diallo was murdered by four plain clothes NYPD police officers in his hallway after they unloaded 41 shots into Diallo in front of his Bronx apartment. The haphazard officers hit Diallo with only 19 shots; less than half of what was discharged from their weapons.
All four the officers involved were cleared of any wrongdoing after a mixed jury in the Empire State’s capital city acquitted the officers. Claiming the impossibility of a fair trial in NYC, an appellate court ordered that that the trial be switched to Albany. Amadou’s family filed federal and state charges of wrongful death and civil rights violations in 2001, which resulted in a $3 million dollar settlement from the city.
Interestingly enough, the Justice Department decided that Diallo’s civil rights were not violated.
Artists such as Immortal Technique and Wyclef Jean have referenced the tragedy in their songs, which became one of the most pivotal cases in the fight against police brutality.
Deaths at the hands of law enforcement such as Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, Trayvon Martin and Sandra Bland will always be a reminder that the challenge of injustice against Black and Brown people must be confronted.