Thanks and Remembrance for Amadou Diallo
Nayaba Arinde | 2/11/2009, 10:31 a.m.
€It€s tough,€ Kadiatou Diallo told the AmNews on the eve of the 10th anniversary of her son, Amadou, being gunned down in a fusillade of 41 bullets outside his home in the Bronx. €We [hed] an event on the fifth of February at Bronx Community College, where he was a student, to remember him and commemorate his passing.€
This woman seeks to offer inspiration to others with her work by comforting other mothers who have lost children to police bullets. Diallo is building a school in Guinea; granting scholarships to African students studying at the Bronx Community College; and offers profuse thanks to those who call to greet her and ask how is she doing.
For Diallo, it seems like it was yesterday that news spread in New York that four White cops had gunned down an unarmed Black man on his way home just after midnight on Feb. 4, 1999.
€The memory is so fresh. It€s not easy,€ she said. €For the whole week I have been going through that day every day. It has been 10 years. Babies have been born; people have moved on. Me? I€m not moving on. I keep living that day. But we can move on by keeping Amadou€s memory alive and working for positive change.€
Ten years ago on Feb. 4, 1999, Amadou Diallo, 22, was shot at 41 times by four New York police officers as he stood at his front door at Webster Avenue at his Bronx home. The names of Kenneth Boss, Sean Carroll, Edward McMellon and Richard Murphy became synonymous with police brutality.
The Guinean immigrant street vendor was unarmed.
A city of activists, residents, elected officials and the like joined Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network in immediately taking to the streets. There were marches in the Bronx, in Manhattan and across the Brooklyn Bridge. The reverend organized 1,200 protesters to march outside NYPD headquarters at One Police Plaza over a series of days as the community demanded arrests and prosecutions of the officers.
€It was probably the greatest multicultural act of civil disobedience in New York since the 1960s.We perfected a non-violent movement in New York,€ Sharpton said. €New York showed that mayors and cops, like everyone else, must have a dose of decency, common sense and willingness to communicate.€
Despite the global spotlight shining on the case on Feb. 25, 2000, all four officers were acquitted. Amidst the outrage, Sharpton demanded a U.S. Justice Department investigation.
The family moved on€"both Saikou and Kadiatou set up educational and humanitarian foundations in memory of their son. With famed attorney Johnnie Cochran representing the case, the family settled their civil suit with the city and the police department for $3 million.
Kadiatou Diallo and Sharpton spoke at a press conference in the President€s Conference Room at Bronx Community College on Thurs., Feb. 5 to announce this year€s academic scholarship winners and to announce a fundraising concert on June 30 to raise money for the Diallo Scholarship Fund.
€Amadou was an innocent young man. Look at Barack Obama: His father came from overseas, married a young lady, and his son became the president of the United States. We don€t know what Amadou would have done and what he would have become. I€m sure he would have done great things,€ Kadiatou Diallo said.