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Killing of Amadou Diallo

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Killing of Amadou Diallo by white police officials with 41 bullets is a cruel act, unwise and illegal. It is unlawful to open fire on innocent individuals without any criminal charges against them.

Reckless and unjustified firing by the police officials is threatening, harmful and unsafe for civilians and pose risk and danger to their lives. The firing was baseless, unplanned and insensible that caused the death of an innocent black person, Ahmed Diallo, and puts the life of other innocent people in jeopardy (Court TV Online, 2000).

There was no clear move, no evidence, no charge against him and he was unarmed. But firing him on the basis that “they thought he was approaching a gun” was baseless. Police officials must not be allowed to fire unless they sense real danger with armed men (Bryan, 2000b), have evidence against any crime or the culprit is armed with guns. This was intentional cruel killing on the basis of racial discrimination.

Officials would be charged for following reasons

  • Firing on an unarmed man without having any evidence of crime against him
  • Reckless firing of 41 bullets of which 19 stuck him and killed him instantly and firing even after he’s dead
  • Racial discrimination against blacks

Firing on an unarmed man by police officials without having any evidence of crime against him is inappropriate (Ayoob, 2000).

Evidence show that four white police officers in plainclothes opened fire on a 22-year-old street peddler (Bryan, 2000a), Amadou Diallo, outside his apartment building in the South Bronx at 12:45 AM and shoot him unstopped without having any warrant, criminal charges and evidence of criminal activities against him. Namely the officers were Kenneth Boss, Sean Carroll, Edward McMellon and Richard Murphy of the NYPD Street Crime Unit (SCU) (Court TV Online, 2002).

The firing was totally unlawful and illegal. It is a kind of “official terrorism” on streets. The role of police officials is to protect civilians and act for their safety in all circumstances. They must be trained how to handle gun and where to open fire. They must have legal evidence or criminal charges against the culprits or sense danger before they open fire on anyone (Bryan, 2000b).

According to their claim if they sensed any danger from the deceased then their first step should be to move towards him and make an attempt to arrest him instead of opening deadly fire.

Reckless firing of 41 bullets of which 19 stuck him and killed him instantly

Around 41 bullets were fired and 19 killed him. Autopsy report also shows wide range of hemorrhage from every major organ of the body including heart, lungs, kidneys etc (Ely, Chief medical examiner).

The firing was reckless and official fired 41 bullets where only 1-2 were enough to kill him. There was no reason to open a deadly fire against him. If they wanted then only firing on his arms or legs to disable him to pick any gun or injure his threatening move was enough. Later arrest could be made.

Racial discrimination against blacks

The 22-year-old guy was black (Bryan, 2000a). According to the Carroll, who is one of the officials involved in killing of the Diallo, his looks fit with the man who had criminal record of raping several black women and had a handgun with him (Bryan, 2000b). As Diallo acted furtively and avoided facing officials or might have made a suspicious move, the officials opened fire on him (Ayoob, 2000).

As there is reportedly increasing number of criminal charges against black, the officials believed that as he’s black he might be involved in some kind of criminal charges. However, opening fire just on the basis the he was black and his image fit to another man who had criminal charges is not sufficient. This is a life threatening act and civilians’ life is in danger if officials keep firing innocent citizens with having any real evidence of charge against them (Ayoob, 2000).


Reckless and unlawful firing on innocent civilians indicates the unqualified and untrained attitude of the officials and racial discrimination against blacks. Does history show any such brutal killing of whites by police officials? What police officials did is “they assumed” that he was a criminal on the basis that his body image fit another black criminal. And the “they thought” that he was taking move to get a gun or with a gun and he might attack police (Court TV Online, 2002). At the time of killing it was possible that Diallo made some suspicious kind of move near his apartment that these officials thought him to be doing something wrong (Bryan, 2000a).

But opening fire only on the basis of suspicion is not enough. They should have strong evidence and warrant against any crime before they opened fire. It was mandatory to first confirm his appearance as it was night hour. Then firing with just one or two bullets was enough. But they opened fire and hit 41 bullets. They kept firing on him even when he was dead and fell on the floor. Probably his life and his body were so cheap that it did not matter for the officials to how many times they should hit him. As officials were four, all of them wanted to take part in the shooting (Ayoob, 2000).

I would recommend that there is a need for extensive training of police officials for the use of their guns. They are allowed to use guns only for the safety of civilian life and people to live with comfort so that police can protect them from any dangers. However, their attitude was just the opposite. They must be trained and use of the guns must be restricted for only emergency and adverse situations. Police must confirm the identity of a person before opening fire on him.

I have learned that there is a lot of racial discrimination against blacks and many are in jails because of this. Diallo is an example of such racial discrimination. He was killed without any criminal charges on the basis that he was black and suspiciously moving on the street.


Bryan, Robinson (2000a) A Look at the Parties in the Diallo Shooting Case.doc (260KB), Court TV Online      http://www.courttv.com/archive/national/diallo/biographies.html

Chronology of the Amadou Diallo Police Shooting Case rev Fall I 2006.doc (41KB). Court TV http://www.courttv.com/archive/national/diallo/chronology.html

Bryan, Robinson (2000b) Diallo Officers Self-Defense Case Hinges on Light and Autopsy Evidence rev Fall I 2006.doc (160KB). Court TV

Court TV Online, (2000). Diallos Parents Sue New York City for 81 Million rev Fall I 2006.doc (39KB) . New York Court TV Online, 2000.

Ayoob, Massad (2000)  Hallway Firefight – The Amadou Diallo Shooting rev Fall I 2006.doc (60KB). American Handgunner,  Nov, 2000

Dr. Ely. Diallo Autopsy Reports rev 031807.doc (96KB) . Office Of Chief Medical Examiner. New York City.

Indictment Against Officers in Diallo Shooting.doc (53KB) . Source: Court TV Online   Updated May 24, 2002, 2:00 p.m. ET

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