New York Senate candidate Clinton urges police reform
NEW YORK (CNN) -- U.S. Senate aspirant Hillary Rodham Clinton
used a Sunday church appearance to make her strongest comments to date on the Amadou Diallo case and to propose how to improve policing in New York City.
Speaking at Riverside Church on Manhattan's Upper
West Side, near Columbia University, Mrs. Clinton said many of the city's minorities "do believe, if Amadou had been a white man in an all-white neighborhood, he would still be alive."
Diallo, an immigrant from Guinea in West Africa, was shot 19 times in the vestibule of his Bronx apartment in February, 1999, after pulling a wallet out of his pocket. The four police officers, who are white, mistook his wallet for a gun and fired 41 bullets into the vestibule.
Last month, the officers were acquitted of second-degree murder charges by a jury in Albany, New York.
Police should be more diverse
Clinton told the church assembly that "too many people
are considered suspect because of the color of their skin."
She took a jab at Mayor Rudy Giuliani, her Republican Senate
opponent, and said "the leadership of this city refuses to
"I reject the false choice between effective policing and
mutual respect," she added."The police should truly reflect
the racial and ethnic diversity of this city."
President Bill Clinton had earlier said at a California fund-raiser Friday night, when commenting on the Diallo case, that he believes "if it had been a young white man, in a young all-white neighborhood, it probably wouldn't have happened."
New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani says the president's comments regarding the Diallo shooting are being used as a campaign issue to benefit Mrs. Clinton, Giuliani's opponent for a U.S. Senate seat.
Giuliani said he trusts the verdict of the jury, rather than President Clinton's opinion on the matter.
Mrs. Clinton's proposals
Some of Mrs. Clinton's proposals to reform the New York City
police department, which is 75 percent white, were:
More federal investment in technology research to help
officers find illegal weapons without stopping and frisking
Expand the Housing and Urban Development's "Officer Next
Door" program that helps officers buy homes in inner-city
Increase pay for police officers
Increase partnerships between churches and police
agencies to help troubled youths
Increase recruitment of minority police officers
CNN's Phil Hirschkorn and Frank Buckley contributed to this