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Amadou Diallo/NYPD Trial: 2000

"gun! He's Got A Gun!"

The defense put each of the officers on the witness stand. Sean Carroll testified about the unmarked police car's cruise down Wheeler Avenue. He related that he had seen a man who stepped back into the vestibule as if he didn't want to be seen. He told how he and McMellon approached, asking for a word with the man and telling Diallo to "Show me your hands." Then, said Carroll, Diallo "started removing a black object from his right side" and "it appeared he had pulled a weapon on my partner." Carroll said he shouted, "Gun! He's got a gun!" And when he saw McMellon fall backward off the steps, he thought Diallo was shooting.

McMellon testified, "All I knew at that moment was that he was pointing a weapon in my direction and Sean and I were going to die."

Sobbing as he testified, Carroll said that after the shooting he looked at what was in Diallo's hand, "And I seen it was just a wallet." He held Diallo's hand, rubbed his face, and said, "Don't die, keep breathing. Please don't die."

A window of the stuffy courtroom was partly open as officers Boss and Murphy testified. Four floors below, some 100 protestors chanted, "No justice, no peace." The judge ordered the window closed as the officers backed up their partners' story that Diallo had had a gun and that they had feared for their lives. The defense cited state law that permits killing in self-defense by police or anyone else. Murphy, who fired the fewest number of shots—four—said that he was sure he would find a gun when the smoke cleared. "Over and over," he testified, "I said, I can't believe there's no gun."

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1995 to PresentAmadou Diallo/NYPD Trial: 2000 - Unarmed And Law Abiding, "every Police Officer's Nightmare", "gun! He's Got A Gun!"