From Sun Feb 27 07:05:41 2000
From: Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics) <>
To: '' <>
Subject: The Diallo Verdict
Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000 14:04:35 -0500

Letter to the editor of the New Britain Herald

By Sadu Nanjundiah, 26 February 2000

Ahmadou Diallo, an unarmed black African immigrant from Senegal with absolutely no criminal record was shot dead in a hail of forty-one police bullets by four, white, New York City cops over a year ago in the vestibule of his own home.

Yesterday he was struck with a forty-second bullet by the jurors in Albany who exculpated the officers of all the charges. The justice system killed him yet again in not finding even a modicum of egregiousness in the conduct of the N.Y. city police in this brutal slaying of an innocent man.

The message this verdict sends to people of color, especially African-Americans, is that racism is alive and well in the U.S.A. They are fair target for the police, and are presumed guilty until proven innocent.

The very same day this awful verdict came through, the U.S. State Department had the gall to issue a report critical of human rights in China ! It is so utterly hypocritical and disgraceful of this country's leadership to claim the mantle of morality and respect for life when it treats its own citizens of color inhumanely.

The U.S. has the dubious world record for having just incarcerated its 2 millionth prisoner, a majority of who are African-American or Latino. One in three black youths in New York City between the ages of 16 and 30 is either in jail or on parole. The enfranchisement of African-Americans gained through the Civil Rights movement has been thoroughly eroded through their conviction in record numbers for petty, mainly drug-related, crimes, thus effectively dis-enfranchising them. A disproportionately greater amount of money is spent in building prisons than schools. A majority of people on this country's death row (in the company of China, Iran and Saudi Arabia) are non-white. The Republican aspirant to the Presidency, George W. Bush, is gleefully unrestrained in his use of the death penalty against even abused women and mentally unfit people.

What hope is there for the people of color in this society? None whatsoever until there is a radical change in the rules of the game.

A common thread runs through the killing of Ahmadou Diallo —and Connecticut's own Malik Jones, Aquan Salmon and Franklyn Reid—and the gratuitous death visited by the U.S. military in Iraq (and earlier in Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Central America). It is the unfettered, guilt-free, killing of people who are made into the enemy, under the guise of protecting the interests of the plutocracy here. The utterly depraved indifference to life that is fostered by this culture is truly frightening.


Sadu Nanjundiah