In the early morning hours of February 4, 1999, NYPD Officers Edward McMellon, Kenneth Boss, Richard Murphy, and Sean Carroll, who were members of the now-defunct Street Crime Unit and were in street clothes, passed by Amadou Diallo’s Ford Taurus, citing Diallo matched the description of a known serial rapist. The officers claimed they loudly identified themselves as police and Diallo ran up the steps toward his apartment building. It was dark and Diallo was only accented with the inside vestibule light, casting him as a silhouette. Diallo reached into his wallet, prompting Officer Carroll to alter his colleagues by shouting “GUN!” The officers immediately opened fire, and when McMellon tripped off the stairs, the other officers believed he had been shot, escalating their use of force. The four officers fired 41 shots, of which 19 hit Diallo, killing him.
On March 25, 1999, a Bronx grand jury indicted the four officers on second-degree murder charges and charges of reckless endangerment. As a result of the media firestorm surrounding the shooting, an appellate court ordered the trial of the officers be changed to Albany, New York. All four officers were found not guilty by a mixed-race jury in Albany.
As a result of the Diallo shooting, the NYPD Street Crimes Unit was disbanded.
Bronx, New York
February 4, 1999