Diallo Fallout Spurs Boycott
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Minority lawmakers unhappy with the Amadou Diallo verdict vowed to boycott Monday’s session of the state Legislature to protest the lack of movement of bills to combat police brutality.
Organizers called on black and Hispanic lawmakers to instead gather in front of the Bronx building where the West African immigrant was killed by four white New York City policemen in February 1999. The officers were acquitted of all charges last week.
Among the bills which have not passed the Legislature in recent years are those to require New York City police officers to establish residence in the city and to limit the number of rounds policemen can have in their guns.
``Those are the type of things that we felt should have come out of the Legislature and perhaps saved this individual’s life,″ state Sen. Larry Seabrook said Wednesday.
Seabrook said he expected most of the 30 members of the state Legislature’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus to attend, as well as sympathetic white legislators. He said supporters are also urging parents in the Bronx to have their children skip school and attend the demonstration.
``This is not a black or Latino issue,″ Seabrook said. ``This is people of good will and this is about justice.″
Also Wednesday, the White House called Diallo’s shooting death a tragedy for his family, but stopped short of commenting on the acquittals.
``Given the fact that the Department of Justice is currently reviewing it, there is not a whole lot more that the president feels appropriate to say,″ White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said.
Amnesty International also urged Police Commissioner Howard Safir on Wednesday to thoroughly investigate the fatal shooting.
In Washington today, former New York City Mayor David Dinkins joined about 100 protesters and nearly as many members of the media outside the Justice Department. Inside, the Rev. Al Sharpton and Reps. Charles Rangel and Jose Serrano, both D-N.Y., met with Justice Department officials to push for the filing of federal civil rights charges against the officers.
``These are difficult cases to prosecute. The standard that we have to meet on the federal side is a high one, but we will look at the case,″ Deputy U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder promised.