Sunday, April 29, 2001
Amadou Diallo’s parents expressed anguish yesterday over the Police Department’s exoneration of the four cops who killed their son, and urged supporters to “refuse to lose hope.”
“Whoever said [the cops] have done nothing wrong, they are wrong,” said Diallo’s mother, Kadiatou. “I am saying to Mayor Giuliani the decision is wrong, I am saying to the police commissioner the decision is wrong … let’s make changes to prevent this from happening again.”
Amadou Diallo’s parents speak out at Al Sharpton’s Harlem headquarters.
Kadiatou and Saikou Diallo flanked the Rev. Al Sharpton at his Harlem headquarters to denounce Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik’s decision Friday to put the cops back on the job — without guns or badges, but without punishment — based on the findings of two police panels that deemed the fatal shooting of the unarmed man a mistake.
“They are letting the police go free to kill and kill,” Saikou Diallo said.
Sharpton announced plans to compile a record of incidents of racial profiling, arbitrary stop-and-frisks and other interaction between cops and minority groups to build a civil class-action suit against the NYPD.
He also said the black community will target an unnamed major corporation that supports the police union.
Sharpton derided Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen for approving one of the cops, Edward McMellon, as a firefighter candidate and promised to protest at FDNY headquarters in Brooklyn.
“This week we will prepare for a huge visit to the Fire Department,” Sharpton said.
Meanwhile, Giuliani reiterated support for Kerik’s decision.
“The reality of the Diallo case is that it was tragic and horrible,” the mayor said on John Gambling’s WABC radio show.
“A mixed jury of four blacks and eight whites concluded that. As did the Clinton Justice Department, when they decided not to pursue a civil rights case. And that’s what the police panel concluded.
“All these people can’t be wrong. … You have to willing to adjust your attitude in the face of reality.”
With Michael O. Allen