From Tue Feb 29 13:06:47 2000
To: “''” <>
Subject: FW: DA Johnson of Bronx says case against 4 officers who killed Diallo was strong
Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 10:16:58 -0500

Diallo DA Fires Back at Jurors

By Donna De La Cruz, Associated Press, Tuesday 29 February 2000

NEW YORK—The district attorney in the Amadou Diallo case struck back at jurors who acquitted four white police officers of the unarmed black man's death, saying copious evidence was presented to merit convictions.

Robert T. Johnson also called for the resignation of the officers, who still face a police review, a possible federal probe and a potential civil lawsuit by the family of the West African immigrant, who died mistakenly last February in a hail of police gunfire.

Officers testified they thought Diallo was reaching for a gun when they confronted him in the vestibule of his Bronx apartment while searching for a suspect. Forty-one shots were fired, and 19 hit Diallo as he clutched his wallet.

Several jurors who acquitted the officers on all counts Friday in the racially charged trial said prosecutors gave them nothing upon which to base convictions.

Speaking at a Monday news conference, Johnson strongly disagreed, saying prosecutors did “a very good job.”

Officers' “mistakes, their misjudgments, their preconceptions, led to a violent and horrible death of an innocent person,” he said.

The case was made “loud and clear that Amadou Diallo was prejudged,” Johnson said. Of the jurors, he said: “I don't think anybody can say that they couldn't come to those conclusions if they wanted to.”

Rebuffing suggestions he step down, Johnson said that, instead, “somebody who policed in the way these four officers policed that night, they should resign.”

Stephen Worth, attorney for officer Edward McMellon, said Johnson “should respect the verdict.”

On the heels of several larger weekend protests in New York, a crowd of 200 gathered in Minneapolis on Monday, and dozens assembled in Baltimore.

Meanwhile, a New York Times/CBS poll found half of New York state residents disagree with the Diallo verdict, with 30 percent in agreement and 20 percent undecided. The 911-person phone poll carried a 3 percent margin of error.

Worth and lawyers for the three other officers—Kenneth Boss, Sean Carroll and Richard Murphy—say the men have not decided if they will return to policing.

The officers remain at desk jobs without their badges and guns, and it could be months before Police Commissioner Howard Safir considers restoring them to full duty or pursues disciplinary action that could include dismissal.

For now, Carroll is “reflecting and he is trying to decompress,” said John Patten, his attorney. “I just told him chill out, stay calm, be at peace. He needs to make his thought process become a little clearer first.”

Steve Brounstein, Boss' attorney, said his client “really wants his 15 minutes to be up, and he wants to fade back and live his life.”