New York 1 News

December 17, 1999

Diallo Trial Moved to Albany

Sharpton Holds Protest

The Reverend Al Sharpton and a small group of supporters protested the venue change in the Amadou Diallo trial with a rally Friday outside State Supreme Court in the Bronx. The New York State Court of Appeals announced Thursday that it has decided to move the proceedings. The trial of the four officers accused of fatally shooting Diallo was supposed to get underway in the Bronx on January 3rd with Judge Patricia Anne Williams presiding. The change of venue means a different judge will now hear the case. Amadou Diallo's mother, Kadiadou, called the decision to move the trial out of the Bronx unfair and unjust. She also called on the Bronx District Attorney's office to appeal the decision. However, the DA's office says there is no precedent for appealing the change of venue decision. Attorneys for both sides say the decision took them by surprise. Jim Culleton, an attorney representing one of the four accused officers, says this means the appellete division has agreed with his argument that it would be impossible to pick an impartial jury in the Bronx. However, a lawyer for Amadou Diallo's family, Kyle Waters, says he thought the change of venue was denied a while ago. The Reverend Al Sharpton says he is "appalled" at the change of venue, but says he'll attend the trial no matter where it is held. The decision to move the trial isn't going over too well in Diallo's Bronx neighborhood either. Soundview residents say there is no reason for the change of venue, with many telling NY1 Thursday that the trial should be held in the Bronx because that's where the shooting took place. Diallo, an unarmed West African immigrant, was shot and killed in the entrance of his Bronx apartment building in February. Four NYPD Street Crime Unit officers fired 41 bullets at Diallo, hitting him 19 times. Officers Sean Carroll, Edward McMellon, Kenneth Boss and Richard Murphy are accused of second degree murder and reckless endangerment in connection with the February shooting. After serving 30-day suspensions, the four accused officers remain on administrative duty within the Police Department.