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It Took NYPD 41 Gun Shots to Kill a Muslim
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 apartment. 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 Vietnam.

Saikou and Kadiadou Diallo
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 confirmed.

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 comment.

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 burial.

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 Patrick Kelleher.

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 shooting occur.

Former Mayor Ed Koch criticized Giuliani for failing to listen to the needs of his constituency by not forcefully speaking out against the officers’ actions.

"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 the case.

Donna De La Cruz

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