| NEW YORK, Feb. 11 — A week after a West
African immigrant died when police fired 41
bullets at him, the man’s father arrived in
this country to retrieve his son’s body and
call for justice.
"We hope and wish that this
American country has all
the legal institutions we
need to see those who
committed this crime to be
arrested and detained and
brought to justice," Saikou
Diallo said Wednesday
outside his son’s
Amadou Diallo, 22, who
left his native Guinea about
two years ago, died
instantly last Thursday after
he was hit by 19 of the 41
bullets fired at him by four police officers. The
attorney for the officers has said they fired at Diallo
in the vestibule of his Bronx home because they
thought he was reaching for a gun. Only his wallet
and beeper were found nearby.
Diallo’s parents, who are divorced, arrived in
the city separately. His mother, Kadiadou Diallo,
arrived Tuesday from Guinea and her husband
arrived Wednesday night from a business trip in
Saikou (left) and Kadiadou Diallo acknowledge a crowd of supporters at Newark International Airport
Family Talks With Lawyers
They will spend today talking to community leaders
and residents in Diallo’s Bronx neighborhood.
They may also meet with the mayor later today,
said Kyle Watters, who along with Johnnie
Cochran Jr., is representing the family. Watters
said the time and place have not yet been
Cochran, whose clients have included O.J.
Simpson and Michael Jackson, joined the Diallo
legal team on Wednesday, Watters said. He did
not immediately return a phone call seeking
Mrs. Diallo refused Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s
offer for financial assistance to bring her son’s
body home. The family would rather rely on
relatives for such assistance, Watters said.
He added that the decision was personal and
not political. "There’s no animosity between the
family and the mayor’s office," Watters said. "Any
reports that say that are the result of the media
trying to interpret things."
‘I Saw the Gunshots Which Killed Him’
Watters said the mayor was invited to the prayer
service to be held for the slain street peddler on
Friday at the Islamic Center of New York in Harlem.
A spokesman for the mayor could not immediately
be reached to find out if he planned to attend.
Watters said the family will spend Saturday
meeting privately with friends and relatives and
leave on Sunday to bring their son’s body home for
Police Commissioner Howard Safir, who left the
city two days after the shooting to attend a police
conference in Los Angeles, returned a day earlier
and was to meet today with the City Council’s
Black and Hispanic Caucus behind closed doors
to discuss the shooting.
Saikou Diallo visited his son’s apartment shortly
after arriving in the city, viewing the numerous
bullet holes and the bouquets of flowers and
candles left to memorialize the scene.
"This is the place where my son was murdered,"
said the father, who visited the scene with the Rev.
Al Sharpton. "I saw the gunshots which killed him. I
was very sad."
Refresher Training Ordered
The shooting has prompted the Police Department
to order refresher training in police tactics for its
elite Street Crime Unit, to which the four accused
officers were assigned.
"We’re bringing them back in, every member of
the unit, for refresher courses in both tactics when
they approach an individual, and also
communication amongst themselves, so
everybody knows they are on the same
wavelength," said First Deputy Commissioner
Informal refresher training began for the
400-plus member unit immediately following the
shooting, police said.
No weapons training has been reviewed
such lessons are given only at the department’s
firing range, said Inspector Michael Collins, a
police spokesman. The sessions are conducted
mostly during roll call by unit supervisors.
The citywide unit’s mission is to ferret out
crimes before they occur officers often are
assigned to patrol high-crime areas. The officers
who shot at Diallo were looking for a
rapist-murderer in his neighborhood.
A City Reacts With Outrage
Various organizations and officials joined the
growing chorus of voices outraged at Diallo’s
death. Manhattan Borough President Virginia
Fields outlined a number of initiatives she hopes
city officials will use to set a tone of respect
citywide when explosive situations like Diallo’s
Former Mayor Ed Koch criticized Giuliani for
failing to listen to the needs of his constituency by
not forcefully speaking out against the officers’
"Whether they’re black or white or Hispanic, or
whether they’re poor or middle class or rich in
terms of hearing them, when you’re the mayor, you
have to hear people," Koch said.
The officers Kenneth Boss, Sean Carroll,
Edward McMellon and Richard Murphy have not
yet been questioned. The Bronx district attorney
has not yet convened a grand jury to hear
evidence. The U.S. attorney’s office is monitoring
Donna De La Cruz