New York Reacts to Verdict in Diallo Shooting TrialAired February 25, 2000 - 5:32 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: We go live now to New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani commenting on the not-guilty verdict in the trial of four policemen in the death of African immigrant Amadou Diallo.
MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI (R), NEW YORK CITY: It was a great tragedy. We express, once again, our sympathy, our condolences and our support to Mrs. Diallo to Mr. Diallo, to the Diallo family. There is no way that any of us, particularly those of us who are parents, can comprehend what it means to lose a child. It's the worst nightmare that any parent has, and it's almost impossible to live -- impossible at all to live the rest of your life having lost a child, unaffected by that. So again, we express our very deep and heartfelt sympathy to them.
We also express sympathy in the strongest terms to the four police officers who were involved in this case and to their families who have gone through also a nightmare, and probably even with the resolution of this case Judge Teresi's words that the book is closed on this case. For these police officers and their families, it's going take a long time to recover from what they've gone through.
This a was a great tragedy, but I think it's a tragedy from which we have to learn something. In fact, we should learn a number of things. First of all, it fills me with profound respect for being an American and for living in a country that has the right to trial by jury. And we often say that Americans have given their lives in order to protect and preserve the liberties granted in our Constitution. One of the most important of those liberties is the right of trial by jury, and I think any fair-minded observer in the trial in Albany, presided over by Judge Teresi, with 12 jurors, would have to say, as one commentators just said on Court TV, that it was an eminently fair trial, under very, very difficult circumstances.
In fact, I'm filled with profound respect for the entire justice system that we have that was able to deal with the some of the tremendous demands made on what the appellate division described as the carnival-like atmosphere created in an effort to rush to judgment.
I also commend the judge, not only for his conduct in the trial, but for opening the courtroom to cameras, because people can make their own judgment about this case. They don't have to listen to my views of it. They don't have to listen to opposing views of it or anyone else's. They had an opportunity to listen, and to see and to observe all of the witnesses, to observe the judge and the way in which he conducted the case, to sit by and listen to all the analysis that the jury went through, and they can draw their own judgment about this.
And I believe that that fact alone, the camera and the television coverage of it, has changed the minds of a lot of people about what happened, and again reminds us of the wisdom of trial by jury.
Thomas Jefferson, who is right behind me, once wrote to Thomas Paine, "I consider that the trial by jury is the only anchor ever yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its Constitution." And I think this jury of seven men, five women, eight whites, four African-Americans, a cross section of the community, some people from New York City and from the Bronx, I think this jury reaffirms our confidence in the American system of justice.
There are going to be people that have very, very of different viewpoints about this case. That's to be expected. It's a case to that touches on some of the most difficult emotions people have: fear of death, racism, the fear of other people -- all kinds of things. And they have every right to express their viewpoints about it. They have no right to break the law. And I expect that New Yorkers will conduct themselves in a decent way, and that New Yorkers will do what we most often do, that we will give an example of how a lawful and decent society reacts to a decision that had to be a very, very difficult one for those 12 jurors and for all of the people that are involved in it.
I also would be like to commend the New York City Police Department. We have, in New York City the very best police department in the United States. That been doesn't mean that we don't have a police department that makes mistakes. It doesn't mean that we don't have some police officers -- and I am not discussing the police officers on trial. I think the jury has spoken with regard to them. But it doesn't mean that we don't have some police officers that do criminal and terrible things, and police department acts swiftly and surely and in a very, very competent way to deal with that.
WOODRUFF: We've been listening to New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani commenting on the not-guilty verdicts in the trial of four New York City policemen in the death of the African Immigrant, Amadou Diallo.
Now let's listen to one of the defense attorneys for the police officers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The point is the police officers have to be able to do their job, and do it the way that's right, and we are going to just let them do their job, and when the evidence sports them, a jury will support them.
That's it. Thank you.
JAMES CULLETON, ATTORNEY FOR RICHARD MURPHY: I have a brief statement about that. I'd like to read. We've just seen what we hope is the final conclusion of a modern day Dreyfuss affair. Only a few months ago, the citizens of Bronx County were yelling "jacuse (ph)" and mob justice was in the air. The prosecutors heard the yelling and indicted the defendants for murder, twisting some of the facts and concealing others in the process. Most, but not all of the media, picked up the drumbeat and portrayed this case as one of racist cops engaged in stereotyping Mr. Diallo. But then there was a trial, and then the story was heard, and ironically, the ones that were unfairly stereotyped were the officer's themselves.
Fortunately, the legal system worked. It worked because of the hard work and dedication of a team of lawyers, and the judge and the citizens of Albany who were the members of the jury. Now it's a time for healing, and we must never let this happen again.
QUESTION: How do you suggest that healing happen?
CULLETON: How do I suggest that healing happen?
CULLETON: That people respect the verdict. People see who rendered the verdict, look at the record of the trial, look at the evidence of the trial, and they will understand what happened.
Thank you. Thank you all.
WOODRUFF: Again, these are attorneys for the four police officers, New York City police officers talking outside of a courtroom in Albany, New York in the case of these officers charged in the murder of African immigrant -- in the death of African immigrant Amadou Diallo last year. All four were found not guilty in a state courtroom in Albany.
Let's go back now to New York City.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
HOWARD SAFIR, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: ... the decision that they came to I think was dictated by the facts and evidence in this case. I also want to express my compassion to the four police officers, who also have gone through tremendous trauma as a result of this tragic circumstances. I've said this before and I'll say it again. I don't think anybody who is fair-minded believes that those four police officers left their homes that morning with any intention of shooting anybody, especially shooting Mr. Diallo. And I think that the verdict in this case is the proper one.
QUESTION: Does the minority community of New York City have a right to be furious, a right to be upset at this verdict?
MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI (R), NEW YORK CITY: People in America, whether minority or however described, have a right to whatever reaction they want. People have a right to their own feelings. I think that what I would ask everyone in New York to reflect on is the evidence and the facts rather than their presuppositions and their predispositions. We might be able to grow by that. I think that what happened in this case -- and when I commend Judge Teresi, for whom I have the highest regard having watched the way he conducted the trial, I really commend all the judges in New York. It took a lot of courage and it took a lot of independence for the unanimous appellate division to come to the conclusion that the activities of many, many people in New York City had led to such a carnival-like atmosphere that it was impossible for these defendants to receive a fair trial. And, I mean, I think that -- I hope that people concentrate on the evidence and the facts and put their prejudices and their biases aside.
We have racism in New York City unfortunately. We have racism in America. I believe New Yorkers actually do a better job of overcoming coming racism, anti-Semitism, prejudice than just than just about anybody else in the country. But that doesn't mean we don't have it.
We also have a vicious form of anti-police bias, which leads to entertaining every doubt possible against the police. And, you know, police officers are human beings also. So I would ask everyone to maybe try to re-examine what they originally thought about this case in light of the evidence that was presented at trial and the fact that a jury of 12 people that had no ax to grind here, no reason to be prejudiced one way or the other, people that come from very different walks of life, people of different races and different backgrounds, came to a unanimous position that these police officers why justified. That has to carry some weight.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)remain on the job, sir?
QUESTION: Do you think that there will be pressure -- that pressure should be brought to bear despite this verdict that the charges be brought to the Justice Department and federal civil rights charges be considered against the four cops?
GIULIANI: I know those rules. I know those rules like the back of my hand. I administered them maybe over a thousand times. This case doesn't fall within those rules. The crux of those rules is a conclusion by the Justice Department that someone did not receive a fair trial. And I don't know how any fair-minded person can look at how this case was conducted and not come to the conclusion that it fits wealth within the parameters of a fair trial.
QUESTION: Are these officers going to be restored to full duty or are they facing departmental interrogations or disciplinary charges?
SAFIR: These officers will remain on modified assignment. The Firearms Review Board will, now that all of the facts and all of the evidence is available, will review the facts and the evidence in the case relative to whether or not the shooting was within the departmental guidelines and policies, and then they would normally make a recommendation to me on whether or not there should be administrative charges and specifications brought against the officers.
QUESTION: What kind of provisions are being made, though, for perhaps the Bronx, where people may be extremely upset about this? What is the police department doing exactly?
SAFIR: I expect that the citizens of the Bronx like the citizens of the rest of this city will accept the decision of the criminal justice system and will react calmly, as they normally do. We are also prepared for all contingencies.
QUESTION: Do you expect a time, Commissioner, when these four police officers will be back on regular duty?
SAFIR: That will be a function of the administrative process that we will now go through as we would go through with any police officer. And if they are found to be within guidelines and policy, the answer to that is yes.
QUESTION: How long will that process take, Commissioner?
SAFIR: I'm not going give you a time, because I'm going to leave it to the firearms review board to review the evidence, and I'm not going rush them.
QUESTION: Mrs. Clinton referred to this as the "murder" of Amadou Diallo some time ago. Do you have any comments on that now?
GIULIANI: No, this wouldn't be the right time to discuss that.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) saying that this case exemplifies how they need to be more informed in the police department (OFF-MIKE)
GIULIANI: I would think this would be a time for reflection on maybe a different political dialog. I mean, one of the things that I think intelligent people would conclude from this case is that maybe the presuppositions aren't all correct, and maybe we need to look at look at things somewhat differently and maybe the bells and whistles of the past were some of the wrong ones.
And there's a -- one of the things that I've said and believe very, very strongly is that for us to come to a different level of understanding requires tremendous movement on both sides. It requires the police making enormous efforts to understand diverse communities better and continuing to make those efforts. And I think this police department has done that. And even when they've done it, like all of the effort they made in trying to recruit a more diverse class, they were basically criticized for it. And it turns out that the class they recruited is more diverse than ever before.
I think maybe a little -- a substantial amount of time should now be spent on the prejudgment of the police, the prejudice against the police. I mean, there's got to be a willingness to take a look at the fact that an awful lot of people did things that treated these police officers as if they had no rights, were not citizens, tried to get this case resolved in the streets. A unanimous court had to rebuke that and change it and turn that in a different direction. But one of the feelings I had today as I listened to this is I said to myself -- because I spent much more of my life in courts than I have as a politician -- you know, thank god for America and thank god for our court system. Thank you.
QUESTION: Mayor, you spoke a few minute ago about a vicious kind of anti-police bias that you said you saw in the city. How do you think the city and you and the police commissioner -- what should you be doing to try to counteract that anti-police bias?
GIULIANI: All discussions should be reciprocal discussions. The police should show complete willingness to try to change any procedure, reexamine any procedure and try to do everything that they can to make the police department more diverse, more understanding, to understand the nature of the communities in New York City.
One of the great tragedies of this is that Amadou Diallo was an immigrant. Immigrants are very special people in New York City. My grandparents were immigrants. Yours were, I think. I think -- this is a wonderful process that's going on with people from Africa, people from Asia, people from South America, other parts of the world coming to New York. They're kind of renewing what New York City is all about. And this man was an innocent man and a decent man. And it's a great tragedy that his life was lost.
Police officers, our police officers in New York City, try to learn all of the practices, all of the cultures, all the cultural difference. We probably don't always do the best job of training everyone. Maybe not every police officers picks it all up. But we have to continue to make superhuman efforts to increase that, and there's a sincere desire to do that. And I think honest and decent people would say that this police commissioner and the police department have done that, if you'd give them credit for what they're doing.
At the same time, on the other side, on the side of the people who protest against the police and blame them for every ill in society, they have to reexamine what they're doing, how they operate, how they scapegoat the police, because that happens as often if not more often. And you can't make progress unless there's a reciprocal willingness to look at both. And the police have invested tremendous efforts in trying to figure out thousand do this better. Now the people that constantly attack the police, maybe they should take a better look and why they're doing it, how they're doing it, and let's move this out of politics.
WOODRUFF: New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani joined by the police commissioner of New York City, Howard Safir, both of them urging the public, urging any of those who they said might have made a "rush to judgment," in their words, to assume that there was a case of police brutality here in the case of Amadou Diallo's death, urging people to think again.
Again, a jury in Albany -- a state court in Albany has found four New York City police officers not guilty in the death last year of an African immigrant, Amadou Diallo. This was the scene in the courtroom as the officer's heard the verdict by 12 jurors. They were eight white and four African-Americans. The trial had to be moved to Albany from New York City because of a fear of -- stated by a judge of pretrial publicity.
We have a statement that has just come to CNN by the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, Mary Joe White. This statement was put out by the Justice Department here in Washington. In it, Ms. White announced that as in -- and I'm quoting:
"As in cases of this kind, her office, in conjunction with the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, will review all the available evidence with respect to the death of Mr. Diallo, including the evidence available to the District Attorney's office in Bronx County, to determine whether there were any violations of the federal, criminal, or Civil Rights laws."
That comment coming from Mary Joe White, who is the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, that is indeed the district covering the Bronx where this case happened.
We are going to take a break. When we come back, more live coverage in the aftermath of this acquittal of the four New York City police officers. We expect to have a statement by the mother of Amadou Diallo. We'll be right back.
WOODRUFF: Outside a courthouse in Albany, New York, the mother of Amadou Diallo, Kadiadou Diallo, walking along with Civil Rights activist Al Sharpton.
The shouts you hear, the chants you hear, from people in the area -- apparently across the street -- very unhappy about this verdict -- not guilty verdict in the case of four New York City police officers acquitted in the death of African immigrant Amadou Diallo -- 22-year- old Amadou Diallo shot to death in February, 1999.
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: We come tonight, first saying that this is not the end, this is only the beginning. We said from the beginning that we would pursue this in the federal courts. We had to take a detour to Albany. That did detour is over. But let it be clear, that we will not rest until we get justice.
You cannot build a house on a weak foundation. The foundation of this venue change made it where we had no chance, in our opinion, of real justice. But we will go forward with that and our strategy on that starting tomorrow.
I've been asked by the family to go to the streets where Amadou lived to let the people know that we've not given up, but that we do not want to tarnish his name with any violence. Let not one brick be thrown, not one bottle be thrown, not one evidence of violence come from us.
We are fighting violence. Violent men that the shoot an unarmed man 41 times, and then stand up in court and try to act like there's justification for that. Do not confuse us with the violent ones and the reckless ones.
So, those that believe in Amadou should not betray his memory by acting like those that killed him. Don't be a traitor. Be one that is willing to go for the long haul for justice. We are on our way to dealing with the federal government so we can clear up in this land that any man has the right to stand on his doorstep. Any man in this nation has the right to look down his street. Any man has the right to expect the police are protecting him, not shooting him. And Amadou Diallo will be the symbol and will be the substantial case that we believe the federal government must turn this around.
So, they brought us to Albany. They did what we expected. Now, the next round will belong to the people.
Mrs. Kadiadou Diallo.
KADIADOU DIALLO, MOTHER: In honor and respect of all those who stood with us since they won, I thank them with all my heart. It's in the name of Amadou and his spirit that I ask for your calm and prayers.
As we go on for the quest of justice, life, equality, I thank you all. This justice means not for Amadou only, but justice means for all the people. The killing of Amadou was wrong. I want to be able to pursue that. And with the family, with the people together, will want to achieve justice in peace. I thank you all. God bless you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen of the press. First of all, I thank you very much for updating this event from the beginning until now. You stood under the rain, under the sun, to give the information for those in need.
Furthermore, I thank all the community for the love and peace they have shown to me and my family. Some of the people have wanted jail for Amadou. Some people have stood under the sun and this cold weather rallying here in Albany almost 30 days. Some are traveling from New York to Albany day and night. And others have been living in New York and Washington. I thank you all for that. I am very, very satisfied, and I thank you very much.
Second more, the first tragedy: killing Amadou or murdering him on February the 4th, was Amadou murdered. Witnessing this trial from Albany to -- from Bronx to Albany is the second murder attemptative (ph) for Amadou. Finding this, four police officers who murdered Amadou are not guilty any charges, is a murder for all the community.
Particularly, the youth, the people in color, everybody. You had the high risk to suffer the same fate as Amadou. Let's all pray together to find justice and dignity and under-dignity, and peace for Amadou and for everybody. Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just wanted to say so -- whoops, I'm sorry -- just so we'd be clear. I think you know that prior to this trial, we did have an extensive meeting with the Attorney Generals office in Washington and with the second in command, Eric Holden, who promised us that he would carefully survey and review this case. During the course of the trial, we again contacted the Justice Department because of some great concerns we were feeling, not as an afterthought, but as the trial proceeded. We are planning to meet again with them and submit a proposal, suggesting that the government take action. We believe they will, and I think it will work out in the end for justice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi.
I think that Amadou Diallo's basic right to live was violated, and we know that is the beginning, not the end. Seeking justice will take a long time, and it's hard job and hard work, and this is the beginning, not the end, and we will seek justice in federal government with the federal court.
WOODRUFF: We have been listening the attorneys prosecuting the case in the death of African immigrant Amadou Diallo, who was shot 41 times by four New York City police officers just a little over a year ago.
Just quickly to recap, a jury in Albany, New York -- the trial was moved from New York City to Albany. The jury found all four officers not guilty both on murder counts and on counts of manslaughter.
Let's go now to CNN correspondent Maria Hinojosa, who has been covering this trial in Albany -- maria.
MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, as expected, Mrs. Diallo has spoken. She has told us that she was going to take a few minutes after hearing the verdict and then would come out and address the public. She thanked her supporters. She has said to me in the past that she believed her supports were her greatest source of strength throughout this entire year that's she's been dealing with this. We do expect that she will be approaching us soon to speak with us.
Earlier today, we heard -- we do know that Reverend Al Sharpton is going to be presenting a federal case for federal civil rights abuses here. We know that this case has even made its way into presidential politics. At the presidential debate, just earlier this week actually, the case of Amadou Diallo was discussed. We know that Robert Johnson is now speaking with the district attorney from the Bronx who was originally going to take this case in the Bronx. We also know that even Hillary Clinton has expressed her condolences to Mrs. Diallo. Mayor Rudy Giuliani, just a few moments ago, also expressing his condolences. Mrs. Diallo had told me that she had never spoken to him before.
Let's listen to Robert Johnson now.
ROBERT JOHNSON, BRONX DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I'm here before the grand jury. And while this was their right, the grand jury investigating the death of an unarmed man really had no choice but to come down with an indictment that included charges of murder. What they had was an individual shot at 41 times and struck 19 times. That having been done, my office undertook to do a thorough, professional and where need be, passionate prosecution to bring the facts before this particular jury in the best way we could. We are satisfied that we did that. We although -- although we disagree with the jury verdict, we are satisfied that the people of Albany who sat on this jury, gave it their full and fair attention.
No one can ever say what the difference would have been had this case been tried in the Bronx. However, I feel very, very strongly that the appellate division was totally incorrect in changing the venue. The defense motion indicated that jurors in the Bronx would put aside -- and he feels that they have -- and be fair an impartial. Their own poll indicated that. There's no question that 12 fair people could have been found in the Bronx. We are satisfied that these 12 were fair also.
QUESTION: Do you think you'll get a civil rights investigation here by the federal government?
JOHNSON: Well, there's no way of saying whether the murder charge made it more difficult to get a conviction. I think the jury considered each charge separately, so I really don't believe it did. They worked their way down, as you know, by the notes that they set. They considered the charges individually. Those charges were always potential charges, and I think the result was what it was.
We don't explain an acquittal. I don't question what juries do. We weren't in the jury room. It's an adversarial proceeding. Both sides put forward their best case. I think, I told my lawyers, in fact, that I think this was a textbook prosecution, because although it was not an easy case, it was put together extremely well. There were some decisions made that were controversial, but I think as people saw what happened in summation, they understand where those decisions were going.
In fact, the decision not to cross examine Professor Feick (ph), I think was an ideal one, because if you heard his testimony, you perhaps could even perceive him as a people's witness on what he was saying in terms of what officers should have done. So we felt his testimony was very limited, we felt that we didn't want to take the opportunity to bring out what had been kept out, and we made some tough decisions, but the jury had to deal with all of it.
QUESTION: The officers said in court -- if they had sent that to the grand jury, would the indictment end up was up warranted?
JOHNSON: If the officers said -- I'm sorry.
QUESTION: If they said in testimony in court, if they had told that to grand jury, would the indictment be warranted.. JOHNSON: One can never know what would happen had they testified in the grand jury. However, I can the point to the case of officers Brosnan and Crowe, who shot two gentlemen, Rosario -- well, not gentlemen, two armed men -- Rosario and Vega, and the Bronx grand jury heard the evidence, heard the officers story and declined to bring charges in a case which was very, very -- people questioned the actions of the officers very strongly.
So I think people will be fair in the Bronx, and we can't go back and say what would have happened had they gone to the grand jury.
With respect to federal courts, that's a decision for the United States attorney to make. And I think they will apply the federal law. I know U.S. attorney White very well. They've been watching this case from the beginning, and they will do what's fair and appropriate in this case.
QUESTION: Do you think this was a fair trial?
JOHNSON: Do I think it was -- I think Judge Teresi did an excellent job of moving the case along. Obviously, in any trial, there are going to be some rulings that one side or the other disagree, but yes, this was a fair trial, although we disagree with the result.
I explained to them I think they did a textbook job. One of the things they did, and one of the things that the layperson might not have known, was that in cross examining Boss and Murphy less aggressively and cross examining Carroll and McMellon, the team actually felt that they got more information, elicited more information, that we could use on summation. So sometimes, more -- less is more, and we felt that we were in a position to make all the arguments in summation that we wanted to make. You heard the summation. It was a passionate one. So yes, we felt we did the appropriate thing, with respect to every witness.
I spoke with Mrs. Diallo after the verdict. I did not have an opportunity to speak to Mr. Diallo.
Mrs. Diallo, what I told her was that we gave it our best effort, that we will continue to be there for her. We have a crime victims assistance unit that works with victims long after the cases are over. Whatever she needs, we will try to provide to her. We told her that we would do whatever we could legally to cooperate with the U.S. attorney and whatever we could do legally to cooperate with the civil attorneys.
Well, you know, the death of Amadou Diallo was so unfortunate and so unnecessary, but one of the things that because of the dramatic nature of his death, because of the violent nature of his death, because he was unarmed, I think this case really affords a real opportunity to get people's attention. There could be no more graphic case to get the message out that the community has been trying to be send for so many years, that yes, there are people that question the way the police department approaches people, and yes, there are times when innocent people are approached in an overly aggressive manner. So I think this case really affords a great opportunity to do that.
Well, I think in my community, I know the people in my community, although they disagree sometimes, really feel very much the need for good policing, and the people are ready, willing to support good policing. We do not want crime in our communities, and I think we will -- I know we'll continue to do that.
What we are saying is, please, please be mindful of the fact that can't sacrifice people's rights in order to police the community.
Thank you all very much.
WOODRUFF: With protesters nearby shouting their disapproval of the acquittal al of four New York City police officers in the death of African immigrant Amadou Diallo, we were just listening to Bronx district attorney Robert Johnson explain how the prosecution tried to make its case, but in the end, failed.
Let's go now to the Bronx to CNN's own Deborah Feyerick -- Deborah.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, there's the sense here on Wheeler Avenue, outside of Amadou Diallo's apartment, that justice was not served. Residents in this community describing their feelings as pain, anger, even fear. One young woman saying that the cops acquittal in the case, maybe this can happen again, and maybe there won't be a penalty.
... in this community describing their feelings as pain, anger even fear, one young woman saying the cops' acquittal indicates that maybe this can happen again and maybe there won't be a penalty.
Now as far as what's going on here on Wheeler Avenue, there are about a hundred people outside of Amadou Diallo's apartment. Earlier they were chanting, murderer, murderer. Police officers have effectively closed off this entire block. They put up barricades just a few moments ago. They're trying to seal this area and keep everything under control.
Now, one man who I spoke with said that had this jury, had this trial been in the Bronx, that he feels that it would have been a much different verdict, and that was the sentiment echoed by several people here.
Right now, though, everything is under control. Police are keeping it that way. There are about 60 police officers here and again a crowd of about a hundred. The weather is turning a little nasty, so it's unclear as to whether more people will come out. But there is a sense of anger. There's a sense that these police officers should have served at least some time.
Reporting live from the Bronx, Deborah Feyerick. Back to you, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Deborah, we did hear the mother of Amadou Diallo, Mrs. Kadiadou Diallo, tell reporters and others in Albany just a few minutes ago that she was asking for them to come to the area around their apartment building so they could pray in the aftermath of this verdict. What effect do you think that might have? Of course they are now in Albany. It will take some time for them to work their way back to New York City and to the Bronx. But what effect do you think that will have on the atmosphere there?
FEYERICK: Well, that could be a call for people to come out. We do see some people trickling, people coming in twos. One man did just bring a sign talking about life, and he's going to be in front of the apartment building. So given that this is a Friday night, given that people are getting home from work, just learning about what the verdict may be, there could be a rather large crowd. And the folks who were here, who are here right now, really riled up and really very upset that there was a complete acquittal.
WOODRUFF: All right, Deborah Feyerick reporting from the Bronx, the neighborhood where African immigrant Amadou Diallo was shot and killed by four New York City police officers just a little over a year ago.
To recap our lead story at this hour, a jury in Albany -- meeting in Albany, New York, has found all four officers not guilty in the death of Mr. Diallo, 22 years old when he died.
We're going to wrap up this portion of our live coverage. We will have much more as the evening wears on.
I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. I'll leave you now.
When we come back, CNN's "WORLDVIEW."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: What was your verdict in reference to the charge of reckless endangerment in the first degree under the third count of the indictment?
UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.
UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?
UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP) WOODRUFF: Just one portion of the reaction of four New York City police officers who, just about an hour ago, were found not guilty by a jury in New York state in the slaying last year of an unarmed African immigrant in the Bronx in New York City, Amadou Diallo, 22 years old. He was unarmed at the time of the shooting. It has been a celebrated case of much controversy swirling around it ever since it happened February 4th of last year. Today, a jury in Albany, where the trial was moved, found all four New York City police officers not guilty of charges of murder or manslaughter.
We're going to be doing much more on this story in the moments to come. Now, let's listen to some reaction from the mother of Amadou Diallo.
She spoke with reporters outside the courthouse in Albany.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KADIADOU DIALLO, MOTHER: It's in the name of Amadou and his spirit that I ask for your calm and prayers.
As we go on for the quest of justice, life, equality, I thank you all. This justice means not for Amadou only, but justice means for all the people. The killing of Amadou was wrong. I want to be able to pursue that. And with the family, with the people together, will want to achieve justice in peace.
I thank you all. God bless you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, in New York City, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani expressed his support for the New York City Police Department, asked Americans to rethink any assumptions they may have made in this case, and he again expressed his sympathy to the Diallo family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR RUDOLPH GIULIANI (R), NEW YORK CITY: The death of Amadou Diallo was a great tragedy. We express once again our sympathy, our condolences and our support to Mrs. Diallo, to Mr. Diallo, to the Diallo family. There is no way that any of us, particularly those of us who are parents, can comprehend what it means to lose a child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Those comments made by the mayor at the same time he spoke of what he called a vicious anti-police bias on the part of many in New York City.
Let's go back to Albany, New York, now, to CNN correspondent Maria Hinojosa, who has been following this case from the beginning -- Maria.
MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, just about right now there has been a column of about a hundred demonstrators who came from New York City. There have been daily bus loads coming up from New York City to be part of this case. They have just told me that they're on their way back. They do not know if they're going straight the Bronx.
Just about an hour after the not-guilty verdicts were read, Mrs. Diallo addressing the public. She has become something of a symbol for all of these demonstrators who are taking her words asking for calm and peace and unity in the aftermath of this not-guilty verdict.
Reverend Al Sharpton, one of her supporters, saying that there will be a civil rights case, a federal civil rights case pursued. They have let us know that. They, in fact, have let us know that the second -- even before closing arguments had begun, they had told us that they were going pursue a federal civil rights case against this.
We have heard from Mayor Giuliani as well expressing condolences to Mrs. Diallo. She had told me that he had never contacted her in this past year. Today, he expressed condolences as well as Police Commissioner Howard Safir.
At this time, we know that Mrs. Diallo is continuing to ask for peace in the streets. There are about 150 demonstrators or so gathering in front of where the shooting took place on Wheeler Avenue in the Bronx. There has been a shrine set up there throughout this past year after the shooting took place. The bullet holes are still very much present in that vestibule, in that tiny vestibule where the shooting took place. About a week and a half ago, I was there with Mrs. Diallo. You can still see the bullets that went all the way into the small apartment where Amadou Diallo lived. He was 22 years old, he came here from West Africa. He said to his mother and she said to me that he loved the United States so much ever since he was a child. In fact, when he went on a vacation to Japan, he went to visit a U.S. military base.
In his bedroom -- his very small bedroom that he had in the Bronx, a huge poster of Michael Jordan. He was a huge fan of the NBA. He had saved up about $8,000 to $10,000 in the three years that he had been working in New York as a street vendor, and his dream was to go to college and study computers. And he was going to start that about a week after he was killed.
WOODRUFF: All right, CNN's reporter -- correspondent, Maria Hinojosa, who has been covering, as we say, this case literally from the beginning. She's been reporting just now on the trial in Albany, New York.
For more now on reaction to the not guilty verdicts in the Diallo murder case, let's go to "The Village Voice" investigative reporter Peter Noel. And he joins us from New York.
Peter Noel, are these verdicts consistent with the evidence presented in this case on the prosecution -- on the part of the prosecution and the defense?
PETER NOEL, "THE VILLAGE VOICE": Well, I'm not going try the case again, Judy. I'm not going try the case again right here. There's not much time. The issue is, here, what has been consistent is that every time African Americans or Latinos are gunned down by police officers, the mayor of this city, Rudy Giuliani, always gives police officers the doubt -- the benefit of the doubt. The mindset has been created by the mayor with his quality of life initiative. He caused -- and I will say this unequivocally -- Mayor Giuliani caused the death of people like Amadou Diallo.
WOODRUFF: Specifically, Peter Noel, we are -- I do hope to ask you a question, though, about this trial. I understand the point you're making about the mayor, but when you look at these verdicts, for many people who have not been following the trial, is it your sense -- I know you paid close attention to what went on in that courtroom -- is it your sense that the jury heard everything there was to hear and knew everything there was to know about this case?
NOEL: I think the prosecution did a terrible job. Many times -- first of, going into the case, a judge barred the prosecution from revealing any information at all about one of the officers, Kenneth Boss, who had killed a black man in Brooklyn. His background was never brought into question. The prosecution should have brought on Mrs. Diallo to talk about her son so that the jury -- she could have tugged at a jury's heart.
We had a police officer, Sean Carroll, who is crying crocodile tears that, you know -- I mean, what happened to Amadou Diallo. He was sorry about that. I mean, the issue is, here, if you have given the prosecution the tools to do the job and they don't do it, where can you get justice from? The prosecution did a very bad job in this case.
WOODRUFF: Let me ask you, Peter Noel, to just bear with me for a minute. I'd like to play back a comment made after the verdicts were announced by one of the defense attorneys, Stephen Worth. Let's listen to that, and then I want to come back to you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN WORTH, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: What made the difference is the boy's themselves. What they had to say is the truth. The evidence all backed up what the officers say is the truth.
QUESTION: What is their reaction?
WORTH: What's their reaction? Obviously they're relieved. They'd like to be here. We all recognize the fact that someone died here, that Amadou Diallo died in this incident. That's always remembered, but they're relieved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Peter Noel, are you suggesting in your comments? When you say the prosecution did a terrible job and that important evidence was not allowed in the courtroom, I hear you suggesting that you believe this case should be tried again.
NOEL: Yes, of course, on federal civil rights charges. I mean, had this case been tried in the Bronx, we wouldn't be talking about any federal case. I mean, they snatched -- they asked African Americans to play within the criminal justice system. They said, play by the rules. Then when you play by the rules, they change the rules on you. This case should have been tried in the Bronx.
WOODRUFF: All right, Peter Noel, investigative reporter for "The Village Voice" in New York, we thank you very much for joining us.
All right, and let's go back to the Bronx now to CNN's Deborah Feyerick who is there in the neighborhood where Amadou Diallo lived.
And, Deborah, you are there?
FEYERICK: Well, Judy, perhaps you can see the crowd that's standing just out front of Amadou Diallo's apartment, about a hundred people by our count -- and chants erupt every now and then, among them, "murderers, murderers" -- about 60 police officers, barricades have been set up all along here, Wheeler Avenue. And, effectively, they have closed this street to traffic, no cars coming in and out, although they are allowing pedestrians to come.
Now, I spoke to one woman. She said she came to the apartment right after she heard the verdict. She said when she did hear it, she cried. She said she was concerned that the acquittal of the four officers was an indication that this could set some sort of a precedent, and that puts all these people here in this community under a feeling that they are all at risk.
Now, another woman said that she was very concerned. She said she lives in this community and now she's afraid that walking down the block, she could be a target. That is the sense, that is the feeling here in this community: a sense of anger, a sense of pain and a sense of fear. They do feel that, had this trial been held here in the Bronx, that it would have been a very different verdict -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Deborah Feyerick.
And as we pointed out earlier, when Mrs. Diallo, the mother of Amadou Diallo, commented after the verdicts were announced, she appealed for calm, she appealed for there not to be violence, but she did say that she wanted her supporters to gather near the apartment building in the Bronx to pray with her.
At this hour -- and I'm now told that our correspondent in Albany, Maria Hinojosa, who's been covering this case all along, is back with us now -- Maria.
HINOJOSA: Judy, one of the people who have been involved in this case from the beginning, of course, Amadou Diallo's family. We are joined now by Saikou Diallo, who was Amadou Diallo's father.
Mr. Diallo, if you could tell me your reaction to the verdict, please.
SAIKOU DIALLO, AMADOU DIALLO'S FATHER: My reaction to the verdict: I feel disappointed for the final decision by the jury. I was expecting to get at least some conviction; if not total conviction, a few convictions. But telling, they are fill -- I mean free; they are not guilty for any convictions, and that makes me disappointed.
HINOJOSA: Just a few moments ago, you said you were satisfied. What were you satisfied with, Mr. Diallo?
S. DIALLO: Satisfied with the community support. All the community gives love and support, including the press, from the beginning, and the signing the messages on the wall from the people. I'm satisfied for that. I'm satisfied with the community's support. But the jury verdict is not satisfaction. I was disappointed.
But however, as Muslim, and we believe in -- in everything, we believe in God, we don't want violence. I don't want violence. I call for calm, not to make any violence, not to make any damage, not to kill anybody, not to rustle anybody's blood, not to battle anybody.
HINOJOSA: There are about a hundred or so people gathered right now in the apartment -- at the building where your son used to live. What would be your message, then, to these people who have come there?
S. DIALLO: My message to these people is to offer prayer and morale, not violence, not violence. We don't want -- I don't want violence.
HINOJOSA: And Mr. Diallo, your plans now? What will you do? There has been some talk of a federal civil rights case.
S. DIALLO: For me, I'm taking the case to the federal government. In justice -- you must take it to justice. I need justice for Amadou. Somebody cannot be shot right in front of his doorstep 41 times and they tell these police people they are not guilty for any charges or any count. I'm disappointed.
HINOJOSA: OK, thank you very much, Mr. Diallo.
S. DIALLO: Thank you very much.
HINOJOSA: Thank you very much.
S. DIALLO: Thank you.
HINOJOSA: That was Saikou Diallo who was just speaking with us here at CNN about his reaction.
We are joined right now by James Cullerton, I believe -- Mr. Cullerton, who is one of the defense attorneys. He represented Richard Murphy in this case.
Actually, it's Mr. Brounstein here -- we're just going to maneuver here -- one of the defense attorneys here in the case.
Mr. Brounstein, who represented Kenneth Boss, who fired five times, four times?
STEVEN BROUNSTEIN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Five times.
HINOJOSA: Five times.
And James Cullerton who represented...
CULLERTON: Richard Murphy.
HINOJOSA: Richard Murphy, who fired...
CULLERTON: Four times.
HINOJOSA: ... four times.
Gentlemen, your reaction to this verdict. Was this what you were expecting?
BROUNSTEIN: This is -- we're very pleased. This is what we were expecting from day one. We thought that, in all, we wouldn't get a fair trial. We did. The jurors listened to the evidence, they thought about the evidence, and they returned the verdict that was consistent with the evidence.
HINOJOSA: Mr. Cullerton, what does this verdict -- what message does this verdict send? It's been a tension on a national scale. What kind of a message does this verdict send?
CULLERTON: Well, I don't think it really sends any kind of a message. What it says is that four police officers can make a tragic mistake, and that's what happened here. A young man died. It's a tragedy, it's horrible, and our clients feel horrible about this. But these are four police officers out there on duty doing a job. Any police officer in the United States could find himself in this situation at any given moment. And I guess if there is any message, people make mistakes, but tragedies, that doesn't amount to a crime, and hopefully, everybody will understand that and there will be peace.
QUESTION: Now, there has been discussion about the fact that this was in fact a tragedy. What does this say in terms of police procedures? Can you tell us?
BROUNSTEIN: In terms of police procedures, the police officers have a tough job. They're placed in dangerous situations. I don't think there's a general message it sends at all. I think you have to look at situations one at a time. That's what happened here, and the jury made that determination, that this was reasonable conduct.
QUESTION: We haven't heard much at all from the defendants or from the men. Can you tell us what their state of mind is at this point?
CULLERTON: Well, right now, all four are very relieved. They know this was a horror that happened that night. They're trying to put their lives back together at this particular point in time. They want to be with their families. It's been a very trying time for them and an emotional time, just as it has been for the Diallo family, and their trying to move on with their lives. QUESTION: What's their state of mind? What are they thinking? We know that there were many tears that were shed when the not-guilty verdicts were read.
BROUNSTEIN: You know, right now, it's great relief that police have been exonerated. My client was vilified the press and vilified in protests in front of his home. It was a terrible, terrible experience, and he's pleased that that's finally over and people finally understand what happened. He took the witness stand -- he wasn't obligated to do so -- and he told the compelling truthful recitation of what happened.
QUESTION: What has been the sense of, let's say Richard Murphy? What has he been talking about to you over this past year before this trial began?
CULLERTON: Well, he really hasn't been talking about much. He realizes that this was a very serious, serious charge hanging over his heard. He knew in his heart, and he kept telling me the same story as to what happened from day one. He knew in his heart that although this was a tragedy, he did nothing wrong. He committed no crime. He was very sorry for what happened, but he was looking forward to telling his story, telling his side of the events, as to what happened, what he heard that night, and what he saw and why he reacted the way he did. He's glad that that's over now, and the jury heard that and they accepted that.
And quite frankly, it was broadcast on television, on Court TV and all the news networks, and hopefully, everyone saw what happened and that a fair trial was had here in Albany County.
QUESTION: Mr. Brounstein, can you tell us what Kenneth Boss, what his emotional sense was in the few hours, in the two and a half days of deliberations. What was going on in that room where all of the gentlemen were together?
BROUNSTEIN: You know, we had tremendous support from family and friends, which was great. But I have to tell you, a deliberation is emotional purgatory; it's torture. It was just great when the verdict was reached. I mean, you try to be as supportive as you can for your client, but as lawyers, we also feel the emotion as well. I don't know if you saw me in the courtroom. I was pacing back and forth for the past two days.
He's relieved. I'm relieved. Justice has been done. It's time to move on.
QUESTION: And where will they go, the gentlemen now, Kenneth Boss, Richard Murphy? What is their immediate plan? Are they heading back to New York City now?
CULLERTON: They're going home to their families.
BROUNSTEIN: Home. Home.
That's all. Thank you. (END VIDEOTAPE)
HINOJOSA: We've been joined by two of the defense attorneys representing two of the men who were found not guilty. Both of them fired the lesser number of bullets, four and five bullets each. They have said now that they will return to their homes in New York City. Of course, the case -- the trial took place here in Albany. It was moved from the Bronx because of concern -- an appellate court saying that there was pretrial publicity that might taint a jury.
Now these officers, who are on modified duty, will be going home to New York City tonight -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right. CNN's Maria Hinojosa reporting from Albany, where as you just heard, she spoke both with the father of Amadou Diallo, Saikou Diallo, who said, not surprisingly, he's disappointed in the verdict, but pleased with the support that his family has received from the community in New York and, indeed, around the world, and spoke with two of the defense attorneys for the four New York City police officers.
Quickly recapping, a jury meeting in Albany, New York has found all four police officers not guilty in the death of African immigrant Amadou Diallo a little over one year ago. They had been charged with counts of murder, manslaughter, or criminally neglect homicide. On all the counts against them, the jury said it was unanimous in finding all four officers completely -- all four of them not guilty. They were all acquitted.
This is the scene as the defense attorneys for the police officers left the courtroom, left the courthouse in Albany. This was a trial that started in the Bronx, was intended to be held in the Bronx, but had to be moved because of what of a judge described as potential pretrial -- as pretrial publicity.
We -- CNN has been covering this story, literally, for the last year. Right now. much of the story shifts from Albany back to the Bronx, where Amadou Diallo lived.
Let's go there right now to CNN correspondent Deborah Feyerick -- Deborah.
FEYERICK: Well, Judy, those people still in front of Amadou Diallo's apartment. And again, chanting erupting every so often. At one point, the crowd was chanting "murderer, murderer."
There is real a sense of almost betrayal here among many of the people. They feel that 41 shots is simply excessive. One man said, had this trial taken police here in the Bronx, he does feel that there would have been a very different outcome. And another woman confirmed that. She came here right after she heard the verdict. She said she cried when she heard it, because she felt that, with no penalty served, it was almost as if these police officers had gotten away with killing an innocent man. That is the feeling, that is the sense here.
So far, the crowd has not swelled. The numbers have not been greater. As you mentioned, Mrs. Diallo had urged folks to come to the apartment to hold some sort of a prayer vigil.
The weather kind of nasty right now. A few people, though, are in front of their house. and they are making their voices heard. They want to make sure that Amadou Diallo's death certainly is not forgotten.
We're going to move a little closer to the scent in just a few moments, and of course, we can bring you more from there in just a while -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Deborah, for those of us who don't know New York City, tell us about this neighborhood. It is the Bronx, it is part of New York City, one of the New York City Burroughs, but tell us about this apartment building. What is it like? We know that Amadou Diallo was shot in the vestibule, the entryway into his apartment building.
FEYERICK: Well, this area around here is considered one of the higher crime areas in New York City. The police who were on patrol that night were in this area because they were looking for robbers. They were also looking for a man believed to a serial rapist. That was the man that they initially mistook Amadou Diallo for. So there have been high incidents of those different crimes here in this neighborhood. But there's the sense of mistrust, a deep and profound mistrust between the members of this community and the police department.
One man who I spoke to earlier even said, look at faces of the police here. None of them, or at least none that he saw, were either black or Hispanic, and he said that that is a very significant problem in this area, and he said that the police really should be coming into these neighborhoods, aggressively recruiting, both black and Hispanics, so that at least in different communities, there is a balance. There is some sort of a situation whereby the police officers look at folks perhaps in a very different light, and that's the feeling here, that there should be more integration within the department. The department has tried to do just that.
But these people are angry right now. They feel that they've been betrayed.
WOODRUFF: And, Deborah, in that connection, we heard a little earlier this evening from both New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the New York City Police Commissioner Howard Safir, both of whom defended the New York City Police Department, saying yes, there are mistakes. These four officers have been found not guilty. And the mayor, in particular, went on to complain about what he called a vicious form of anti-police bias, and he appealed to people, not just in New York, but all over the country, to reexamine their own attitudes toward police. He said just because something like happened, he said, yes, it's a tragedy, but that does not mean that a crime was committed.
Deborah, let me just ask you again, right now, what is the security situation around there? How many police officers, how many people still out on the street? FEYERICK: Well, security here on Wheeler Avenue is very tight. Police officers have closed this block to any sort of traffic, although they are allowing people on the sidewalks. They don't want any cars coming by here. As a matter of fact, we wanted to park our truck right in front of the apartment. They said, no way, they wanted to keep that area clear.
There are about anywhere between 60 to 70 police officers. There's an overhead subway just in front of me here. Two police officers were on that earlier, sort of keeping an overhead view of what was going on.
Reporting live, Deborah Feyerick, CNN.
WOODRUFF: All right, Deborah, thank you very much.
And just again, to recap for you, if you have just been turning on your television set, a jury in Albany, New York has found four New York City police officers not guilty in the shooting death last year of African immigrant Amadou Diallo.
These were defense attorneys for the four officers as they left the courtroom. These are the officers themselves leaving the courtroom.
CNN will continue to bring you live coverage. This will be -- for more on the Diallo verdict, tune in to CNN "NEWSSTAND" about four hours from now.
Also the main topic on "LARRY KING LIVE" at 9:00 Eastern, guest host, Greta Van Susteren, CNN legal correspondent.
For now, I'm Judy Woodruff. That's all for "WORLDVIEW."
Coming up next, "THE MONEYLINE NEWS HOUR."
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