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Diallo Neighbors Express Regrets

February 25, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ Candles, flowers and written messages piled up Friday at Amadou Diallo’s Bronx apartment building as news spread that four white police officers were acquitted in his shooting death.

``This community is going to be hurting for a while,″ said Freddie Montalvo, who lives in the Soundview neighborhood where the African immigrant died in a hail of 41 bullets. ``It sends the wrong message to young cops: They can get away with it.″

A dozen protesters chanted ``Murderers!″ as they surrounded a parked car and beat on it with their fists. ``Justice for Diallo,″ read one poster.

Uniformed police officers arrived with blue barricades and watched silently as more than 100 people of all ages milled around, discussing the news that Officers Kenneth Boss, 28, Sean Carroll, 37, Edward McMellon, 27, and Richard Murphy, 27, had just been cleared of the Feb. 4, 1999, shooting.

``Justice has not been served,″ said Mario Maria.

Added Amy Boyd: ``It’s so unfortunate that someone could get killed that way.″

Two people held up black wallets. ``It looks like a gun!″ someone shouted sarcastically. The officers contended during their trial that they fired in self-defense after Diallo reached for an object they thought was a gun. It turned out to be a wallet.

``Today’s message is, `Don’t move or you might get shot,‴ said Robert Torres, 33, a truck driver who lives two blocks from Diallo’s home. ``The first thing to do when you get to your door is thank God.″

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