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One Dead After NYC Police Shooting

March 2, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ Authorities were investigating whether an officer fired intentionally or if his weapon accidentally discharged during a struggle in which an unarmed man was shot in the head and killed.

Police said Malcolm Ferguson, a 23-year-old paroled drug dealer, had fled after being stopped by officers Wednesday night.

The shooting occurred in the same Bronx neighborhood where unarmed West African immigrant Amadou Diallo was killed in a hail of 41 police bullets, in a shooting that sparked a wave of antipolice protests throughout the city.

Four white officers were acquitted Friday of all charges in the shooting, prompting more protests alleging police mistreatment of minorities.

Ferguson died just three block from the apartment building where Diallo died after police mistakenly thought he drew a gun. The object turned out to be a wallet.

News of police shooting another unarmed man initially drew about 100 angry protesters to the streets Wednesday night. But news of the victim’s criminal history _ including several felony drug arrests _ quickly distinguished the shooting from the Diallo slaying.

Two people were arrested for throwing bottles at officers.

Police also said they found several envelopes of heroin on Ferguson’s body.

Chief of Patrol John Scanlon said the single, fatal shot apparently was fired at close range because blood was found on the officer’s gun, but it wasn’t immediately known if the shot was intentional or accidental.

Police said Ferguson was one of three men stopped by four officers with the department’s plainclothes Street Narcotics Unit. He was chased down by Louis Rivera, an officer with 4 1/2 years of experience and a clean record, Scanlon said.

Police said Ferguson had nine prior arrests, most recently on Friday when he was detained for resisting arrest during a protest against the Diallo verdict.

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