City Settles Lawsuit Over Diallo Shooting
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The city has reached a $$3 million settlement with the family of Amadou Diallo, who was killed in a hail of 41 bullets fired by police in the Bronx five years ago.
As first reported by NY1, the city's Law Department confirmed the settlement Tuesday morning.
Following the announcement of the settlement, the Diallo family said they are ready to move on with their lives.
“Most interesting is the recognizing of the mistake, and that the city apologized for killing my son. This is more important for my family,” the victim’s father, Saikou Diallo, told NY1 in an exclusive interview with reporter Andrew Siff.
Four plainclothes police officers who mistook Amadou Diallo for a serial rapist shot the 24-year-old African immigrant in the vestibule of his apartment building in the Soundview section on February 4, 1999. Diallo was unarmed, but the officers said that he did not heed orders to stop and that they thought he was pulling out a gun when he reached for his wallet.
The wrongful death lawsuit filed by Diallo’s family had originally sought up to $$80 million, and a trial had been scheduled to begin in March.
“I believe that this was closure for the family,” said Omar Mohammedi, Saikou Diallo’s attorney. “They had to move on, and they think this was a good time for them to just do whatever they have to do and not have to deal with this issue over and over again.”
“There is no amount of money that can replace a human life, and definitely for Amadou there is no value that will be ever enough for him,” said Kadiatou Diallo, Amadou’s mother. “But I want to emphasize one thing, though: I want to say that all the changes that the NYPD had implemented happened because of the death of Amadou.”
The fatal shooting prompted public outcry over police brutality, but the four officers were acquitted of criminal and departmental charges.
The city’s corporation counsel, Michael Cordozo, said in a statement: “In the split second they had to react, the police mistakenly believed that Mr. Diallo had a gun and discharged their weapons, causing Mr. Diallo's death. The mayor, the Police Department and the city deeply regret what occurred and extend their sympathies to the Diallo family.”
“You’ve got to understand we’ve got 37,000 police officers out there doing dangerous jobs,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “Everybody isn’t always in a situation covered by textbooks. We can always learn from ourselves. We also have to remember that money is not a substitute for somebody’s life.”
“We must remember what a tragedy this was,” said Pat Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. “It was a tragedy for the Diallo family, which lost a loved one. It was also a tragedy for those police officers who went to work that day and were put in a very untenable situation, thought their lives were in danger and then went through the trial and were acquitted. It changed their lives as well.”
Two of the officers involved in the shooting still work for the Police Department, and the other two are now firefighters.
Rudolph Giuliani, who was mayor at the time of the shooting, released a statement saying, “This incident was a horrible tragedy, and I again extend my condolences and sympathies to the entire Diallo family.”