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71 Arrested at Diallo Protest

March 24, 1999

NEW YORK (AP) _ Quietly refusing to move from the entrance to Police Headquarters, actors Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee were among 71 people arrested Tuesday in another of a string of daily protests against the police killing of an unarmed African immigrant.

The married activists were surrounded by hundreds of angry demonstrators chanting ``Arrest the four cops!″ _ a reference to the officers who shot 41 bullets at Amadou Diallo, hitting him 19 times.

Miss Dee sat on the pavement in front of one of the building’s two main entrances as Davis, 81, stood by. When they and other protesters moved to block the second entrance, officers led them inside and arrested them.

``I have to do it, I have no choice,″ Miss Dee said. ``Because I’ve got five grandsons and one son. ... I wake up thinking that could happen to them.″

It was the 11th day this month of such protests at police headquarters. A total of 391 people, including state Comptroller H. Carl McCall, former Mayor David Dinkins, and U.S. Reps. Charles Rangel and Jose Serrano, have been arrested at the demonstrations.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, whom some critics accuse of acting insensitively after the Diallo shooting, defended his response at a news conference.

``I think that my handling of this has been sensitive,″ he said.

Organizers have said the protests will continue until the four officers who shot Diallo on Feb. 4 are arrested.

A grand jury has nearly finished hearing evidence in the case. The Bronx district attorney’s office would not comment.

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