Jeers, Cheers After Diallo Verdict
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Unfazed by a cold, pouring rain, angry protesters shouted ``Shame!″ outside the court where four white New York City police officers were acquitted Friday on all charges in the shooting death of an unarmed black man.
The family of Amadou Diallo appealed for calm.
``It is in the name of Amadou and his parents that I ask for your calm and prayers,″ said Diallo’s mother, Kadiatou Diallo as police on horseback patrolled the fringes of the growing crowd.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, while harshly critical of the verdict, urged the Diallo supporters to remain calm.
``We do not want to tarnish his (Diallo’s) name with any violence,″ Sharpton said. ``Let not one brick be thrown, not one bottle be thrown, not one evidence of violence come from us.″
About 40 Diallo supporters stood in the rain outside the court and taunted local police on hand for the verdict by raising their hands and yelling, ``Don’t shoot!″ They chanted, ``No justice, no peace″ and counted to 41 _ the number of shots fired by officers at Diallo.
The jury _ four black women, one white woman and seven white men _ deliberated for more than 20 hours over three days before acquitting Sean Carroll, 37; Edward McMellon, 27; Boss, 28; and Richard Murphy, 27.
The policemen and their families refused to acknowledge the pro-Diallo protesters or their supporters, immediately hustling into a waiting van as they left the courthouse. But once the crowd saw them, protesters began shouting ``guilty″ and ``murderers″ and continued the chant as their lawyers stayed behind to talk to reporters.
``We’re outraged and very angry at the verdict, but we’re not surprised,″ said Vickie Green of the Capital Region Justice for Diallo Committee.
Diallo’s parents appeared grim outside of court in their brief remarks to reporters. Saikou Diallo said moving this trial from the Bronx to Albany was ``the second murder″ for his son.
A handful of police supporters cheered outside the court as each verdict was read, but they were often drowned out by the Diallo supporters who shouted, ``Shame,″ and ``They say justified, we say homicide.″
A scuffle briefly broke out among factions of Diallo supporters. One faction was shouting in protest and the other wanted demonstrators to remain silent. Police quickly moved in and stopped the scuffle.
The crowd eventually totaled more than 100 people following the verdict. Protesters later started an impromptu march up from the courthouse and past the nearby state Capitol chanting ``No justice, no peace.″
Bronx resident Anthony Esposito said he came up for the trial to support the officers.
``These police officers had no support,″ he said. ``I wanted to be there, and I’m glad to see that they had their fair day in court.″
About a hundred people gathered near Diallo’s Bronx home after the verdict. With a dozen police officers watching silently, several protesters chanted ``Murderers!″ as they beat their fists on a parked car.