Advocates are calling on the Bronx District Attorney to drop charges against a Bronx man, who they say was just protecting his family when he allegedly killed a man in May. Bronx Reporter Erin Clarke has that story.
Mamadou Diallo, 61, has been called a hero — a husband who rushed to his wife's aid, beating and subsequently killing her would-be rapist, 43-year-old Earl Nash.
But now Diallo must wait until next month, when an official autopsy report is released, to learn if he will face assault charges.
"Here we are, where Mr. Diallo is being charged with just defending his wife who was about to be raped," said Darius Gordon, a community organizer for Citizen Action of New York. "Let's think about that for a second."
Saturday, supporters gathered at the scene of the incident that happened in May, calling on Bronx DA Darcel Clark to drop the charges against Diallo.
"A court has the power, at the next appearance in court, if the district attorney moves in the interest of justice, to dismiss all charges here," civil rights attorney Sanford Rubenstein said. "Show mercy and move to dismiss all charges."
They say as a result of the pending charges, Diallo can no longer work. His employer suspended his taxi driving privileges.
His family now survives on charity from friends and the community.
"We do acknowledge that a tragedy happened," community organizer Sami Disu said. "But Mamadou Diallo was just doing what any one of us would do."
But arguing that could prove tricky.
When asked whether dropping charges against Diallo would send a message that anyone could take justice into their own hands, Rubenstein said charges should be examined on a case-by-case basis.
"Justice in this state should be tempered with mercy," Rubenstein said. "We ask that that is what's done because of extenuating circumstances here."
And supporters say a failed criminal justice system led to unfortunate circumstances.
"Earl Nash was someone who had been cycled in and out of prison," said Tiffany Wheatland, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
"It's possible that had Earl Nash received the support he needed, he wouldn't have found himself in that situation on that day, and that the Diallo family would not be in the place they are now," Wheatland continued.
While the Diallo family was not at the gathering, Diallo's supporters said family members aware of the event, but it's a very difficult time for them.
Mamadou Diallo's next court date is Sept. 7.