By Beth Roy
Whilst 4 manhattan urban law enforcement officials killed Amadou Diallo in 1999, the 41 photographs they fired echoed loudly around the country. In loss of life, Diallo joined a protracted checklist of younger males of colour killed via police hearth in towns and cities all throughout the United States. via innuendos of illegal activity, a lot of those sufferers can be discredited and, by means of implication, held answerable for their very own deaths. yet Diallo was once an blameless, a tender West African immigrant doing not anything extra suspicious than returning domestic to his Bronx condominium after operating not easy all day within the urban. Protesters took to the streets, effectively not easy that the 4 white officials be dropped at trial. whilst the officials have been acquitted, besides the fact that, horrified onlookers of all races and ethnicities despaired of justice. In forty-one pictures . . . and Counting, Beth Roy deals an oral historical past of Diallo's loss of life. via interviews with individuals of the group, with cops and legal professionals, with govt officers and moms of younger males in jeopardy, the ebook lines the political and racial dynamics that positioned the officials open air Diallo's condominium that evening, their palms on symbolic in addition to genuine triggers. With lucid research, Roy explores occasions within the court docket, in urban corridor, within the streets, and within the police precinct, revealing the interlacing clash dynamics. forty-one pictures . . . and Counting permits the reader to contemplate the results of the Diallo case for our nationwide discourses on politics, race, category, crime, and social justice.
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Additional resources for 41 Shots . . . and Counting: What Amadou Diallo's Story Teaches Us About Policing, Race, and Justice (Syracuse Studies on Peace and Conflict Resolution)
But Nickerson, the judge, said to the jury panel that was seated in the room, and it was amazing how once he said it, it seemed to end, he said, “This is not a case about race. This is a case about what happened in the bathroom. This is an assault case. ” That was Louima. In Albany, Judge Teresi treated the case as a straight homicide murder case. And while there were certain questions in the voir dire— you know, you didn’t want absolute haters on either side to take the jury box—the case was also treated as not about race.
Nowhere was the constructed nature of courtroom narrative more evident than during the closing statement of Sean Carroll’s attorney, 30 Foreground John Patten. To the public, both white and black, the power of Diallo’s case lies in his innocence. With the exception of stories that circulated for awhile about his false application for amnesty, nothing was ever reported to suggest that he was in any way criminal. Nonetheless, as John Patten built the argument for his client’s acquittal, with or without intention he also suggested a picture of the victim as somehow furtive, his gestures unlikely, warranting suspicion.
Police internal affairs investigations are secretive; the public is not invited into the process, ostensibly because they are judging personnel matters, but also because they are so often highly political. The aggrieved community is likely to be largely alienated from law enforcement as an organization, so people greet even a degree of disclosure of internal affairs processes with skepticism. Meanwhile, other civil organizations may conduct their own investigations. Human rights groups issue excellent reports on the problem of police force nationally.