Amadou Diallo came to New York from his homeland in Guinea, West Africa to work and study. He worked long hours as a street vendor, selling socks and videotapes on Manhattan’s 14th Street. On the night he was killed, he got home from a long day of work around midnight and then stepped out again, possibly to get something to eat. Four cops, NYPD officers Sean Carroll, Kenneth Boss, Edward McMellon, and Richard Murphy fired 41 bullets at him as he stood in the narrow vestibule of his building, hitting him 19 times and killing him. Amadou was unarmed.
Under intense community pressure and almost 2 months after killing Diallo, the 4 cops were indicted by a grand jury for second-degree murder. After their indictments, the 4 cops were arrested, but released on bail almost immediately. They were suspended without pay for 30 days, but then returned to work on desk duty. Outrage mounted when it came out that cops searched Diallo’s apartment after they killed him, looking for something they could use to justify his killing. They didn’t find anything. In their trial on February 25th, 2000, the jury in Albany acquitted the officers of all charges.