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  Transcripts

Breaking News

Police Officers Acquitted on all Charges in Diallo Shooting Trial

Aired February 25, 2000 - 4:43 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: And our breaking news this afternoon is in an Albany, New York courtroom, where the judge has begun the process of reading of the verdict. He's about to call in the jury in the Amadou Diallo murder case, the killing of the West African immigrant by four New York City Police officers.

JUDGE JOSEPH TERESI, NEW YORK STATE SUPREME COURT: To assure easy communication between the foreperson and the jury and the court and so that all may be heard clearly what is said in order that the verdict may be accurately recorded, it is essential that all honor of the decorum of the court and remain quiet. These rules also apply to the members of the press and the media present in the courtroom.

I require that the representatives of the press and media remain in their seats and refrain from conversations among yourself or with others until the court officers grant you permission to leave in the courtroom. Everyone will remain seated until directed by the court officers to leave. If anyone has a pager or a cell phone, please turn it off immediately. Be assured that at the earliest appropriate moment all those who wish to leave will be allowed to leave the courtroom.

Bring the jury in.

WATERS: The judge of New York State Supreme Court, Judge Joseph Teresi, calling the jurors in. You see all four of the defendants and their attorneys at the defense table awaiting the word from the jury of four blacks and eight whites, deliberating now into its third day and reaching this verdict with counts ranging all the way from second- degree murder to reckless endangerment.

TERESI: Good evening.

JURY: Good evening.

TERESI: I've received your note that you reached a verdict. Is that true, madam foreperson?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes, Your Honor.

TERESI: Would you please stand, and the clerk will address and you take the verdict. UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: With respect to defendant Kenneth Boss, what was your verdict in reference to the charge of murder in the second degree under the first count of the indictment?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury, hearken to your verdict as it stands recorded, you say that you find the defendant Kenneth Boss not guilty as charged of murder in the second degree under the first count of the indictment.

So say you all?

JURY: Yes, we will.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: What was your verdict in reference to the charge of murder in the second degree under the second count of the indictment?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury, hearken in to your verdict as it stands recorded, you say that you find the defendant Kenneth Boss not guilty of the charge of second degree under the second count of the indictment.

So say you all?

JURY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: What was your verdict in reference to the charge of manslaughter in the first degree as a lesser included offense under the first count of the indictment?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury, hearken to your verdict as it stands recorded, you say that you find the defendant Kenneth Boss not guilty of the charge of manslaughter in the first degree as a lesser included offense under the first count of the indictment.

So say you all?

JURY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: What was your verdict in reference to the charge of manslaughter in the second degree as a lesser included offense under the second count of the indictment?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury, hearken to your verdict as it stands recorded, you say that you find the defendant Kenneth Boss not guilty of the charge of manslaughter in the second degree as a lesser included offense in the second count of the indictment.

So say you all?

JURY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: What was your verdict in reference to the charge of criminally negligent homicide as a lesser included offense under the second count of the indictment?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury, hearken to your verdict as it stands recorded, you say that you find the defendant Kenneth Boss not guilty of the charge of criminally negligent homicide as a lesser included offense under the second count of the indictment.

So say you all?

JURY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: What was your verdict in reference to the charge of reckless endangerment in the first degree under the third count of the indictment?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury...

TERESI: Quiet please.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: ... hearken to your verdict as it stands recorded, you say you find the defendant Kenneth Boss not guilty of the charge of reckless endangerment of the third degree under the third count of the indictment.

So say you all?

JURY: Yes.

TERESI: Mr. Carroll, you want to rise, please.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: With respect to defendant Sean Carroll, what was your verdict in reference to the charge of murder in the second degree under the first count of the indictment?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury, hearken to your verdict as it stands recorded, you say that you find the defendant Sean Carroll not guilty of the charge of murder in the second degree under the first count of the indictment.

So say you all?

JURY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: What was your verdict in reference to the charge of murder in the second degree under the second count of the indictment?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury, hearken to your verdict as it stands recorded, you say that you find the defendant Sean Carroll not guilty of the charge of murder in the second degree under the second count of the indictment.

So say you all?

JURY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: What was your verdict in reference to the charge of manslaughter in the first degree as a lesser included offense under the first count of the indictment?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury, hearken to your verdict as it stands recorded. You say that you find the defendant, Sean Carroll, not guilty of the charge of manslaughter in the first degree as a lesser included offense under the first count of the indictment.

So say you all?

JURY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: What was your verdict in reference to the charge of manslaughter in the second degree as a lesser included offense under the second count of the indictment?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury, hearken to your verdict as it stands recorded. You say that you find the defendant, Sean Carroll, not guilty of the charge of manslaughter in the second degree as a lesser included offense under the second count of the indictment.

So say you all?

JURY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: What was your verdict in reference to the charge of criminally negligent homicide as a lesser included offense under the second count of the indictment.

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury, hearken to your verdict as it stands recorded. You say that you find the defendant, Sean Carroll, not guilty of the charge of criminally negligent homicide as a lesser included offense under the second count of the indictment.

So say you all?

JURY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: What was your verdict in reference to the charge of reckless endangerment in the first degree under the third count of the indictment.

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

TERESI: Quiet, please.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury, hearken to your verdict as it stands recorded. You say that you find the defendant, Sean Carroll, not guilty of the charge of reckless endangerment in the first degree under the third count of the indictment.

So say you all?

JURY: Yes.

TERESI: Mr. McMellon please rise.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: With respect to defendant Edward McMellon, what was your verdict in reference to the charge of murder in the second degree under the first count of the indictment?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury, hearken to your verdict as it stands recorded. You say that you find the defendant, Edward McMellon, not guilty of the charge of murder in the second degree under the first count of the indictment.

So say you all?

JURY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: What was your verdict in reference to the charge of murder in the second degree under the second count of the indictment?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury, hearken to your verdict as it stands recorded. You say that you find defendant, Edward McMellon, not guilty of the charge of murder in the second degree under the second count of the indictment.

So say you all?

JURY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: What was your verdict in reference to the charge of manslaughter in the first degree as a lesser included offense under the first count of the indictment?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury, hearken to your verdict as it stands recorded. You say that you find the defendant, Edward McMellon, not guilty of the charge of manslaughter in the first degree as a lesser included offense under the first count of the indictment,

So say you all?

JURY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: What was your verdict in reference to the charge of manslaughter in the second degree as a lesser included offense under the second count of the indictment?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury, hearken to your verdict as it stands recorded. You say that you find the defendant, Edward McMellon, not guilty of the charge of manslaughter in the second degree as a lesser included offense under the second count of the indictment.

So say you all?

JURY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: What was your verdict in reference to the charge of criminally negligent homicide as a lesser included offense under the second count of the indictment?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury, hearken to your verdict as it stands recorded. You say that you find the defendant, Edward McMellon, not guilty of the charge of criminally negligent homicide as a lesser included offense under the second count of the indictment.

So say you all?

JURY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: What was your verdict in reference to the charge of reckless endangerment in the first degree under the third count of the indictment?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury, hearken to your verdict as it stands recorded. You say that you find the defendant, Edward McMellon, not guilty of the charge of reckless endangerment in the first degree under the third count of the indictment.

So say you all?

JURY: Yes.

TERESI: Mr. Murphy, please rise.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: With respect to defendant Richard Murphy. What was your verdict in reference to the charge of murder in the second degree under the first count of the indictment?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury, hearken to your verdict as it stands recorded. You say that you find the defendant, Richard Murphy, not guilty of murder in the second degree under the first count of the indictment.

So say you all?

JURY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: What was your verdict in reference to the charge of murder in the second degree under the second count of the indictment?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury, hearken to your verdict as it stands recorded. You say that you find the defendant, Richard Murphy, not guilty of the charge of murder in the second degree under the second count of the indictment.

So say you all?

JURY: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: What was your verdict in reference to the charge of manslaughter in the first degree as a lesser included offense under the first count of the indictment?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury, hearken to your verdict as it stands recorded. You say you find the defendant, Richard Murphy, not guilty of the charge of manslaughter in the first degree as a lesser included offense under the first count of the indictment.

So say you all?

JURY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: What was your verdict in reference to the charge of manslaughter in the second degree as a lesser included offense under the second count of the indictment?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury, hearken to your verdict as it stands recorded. You say that you find the defendant, Richard Murphy, not guilty of the charge of manslaughter in the second degree as a lesser included offense under the second count of the indictment.

So say you all?

JURY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: What was your verdict in reference to the charge of criminally negligent homicide as a lesser included offense under the second count of the indictment?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury, hearken to your verdict as it stands recorded. You say that you find the defendant, Richard Murphy, not guilty of the charge of criminally negligent homicide as a lesser included offense under the second count of the indictment.

So say you all?

JURY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: What was your verdict in reference to the charge of reckless endangerment in the first degree under the third count of the indictment?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Was your verdict unanimous?

UNIDENTIFIED JURY FOREPERSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED COURT CLERK: Members of the jury, hearken to your verdict as it stands recorded. You say that you find the defendant, Richard Murphy, not guilty of the charge of reckless endangerment in the first degree under the third count of the indictment.

So say you all?

JURY: Yes.

TERESI: You may sit down.

Mr. Warner, I have examined the verdict sheet. The markings on the verdict sheet are consistent with the verdicts as announced by the foreperson. You wish to poll the jury?

ERIC WARNER, PROSECUTOR: Well, in light of the court's asking of the jurors whether that was the dominant verdict and I've heard no concern no dissension from anybody. So, no.

TERESI: Thank you.

Members of the jury, for your dedicated service here as jurors, for the care, concern, attention, and obvious concentration that you have given to your deliberations, I extend to you each my sincere, thanks. Obviously, this, nor for that matter, any court can function without a jury such as yours.

Your personal sacrifice and serving as jurors is most certainly one of the highest duties to which any citizen can be called. In the fulfillment of your responsibilities as trial jurors, you have reflected the best traditions of all three men.

Now, you are about to return to your homes, and to your usual daily endeavors. For your information, our law jealously guards the secrecy of all trial jury deliberations, that is what you discussed in the jury room. You need answer to no man or no woman concerning your deliberations. What you said, what your fellow jurors said, what you talked about, what you decided, may remain locked in that secrecy, which has surrounded your deliberations.

The book is closed on this case, you need open it to no man or no woman. Now, you are dismissed, go with the full knowledge that you have fulfilled your duties as jurors. Again, for your faithful service as jurors, I extend to you and each of you my sincere thanks, and the thanks of your community and your state.

When you leave this courtroom, all spectators are to remain seated. You may retrieve your personal possessions and belongings from the jury room, the court officers will escort you out. Thank you very much. You're dismissed.

WATERS: Judge Joseph Teresi of the New York State Supreme Court telling the jurors with his thanks that the book is closed on this case. And you see the wave of relief and emotion across the defense table, as six counts -- two of second-degree murder, two of manslaughter, one of criminal negligent homicide and reckless endangerment -- are all dismissed against the four New York City Police officers, not guilty on all counts.

Maria Hinojosa, it's over.

MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is, Lou. Two and a half days and a year and some days after the event, all of the officers are found not guilty. These officers shot at Amadou Diallo 41 times, he was hit 19 times.

Clearly the prosecution was not able to prove their case. They were not able to prove that there was not justification. Clearly under the New York state law that the judge reminded the jury when he instructed them and told them to begin deliberating, he reminded them six times under New York state law, if an officer or individual feels that he is threatened than he is justified to retaliate with deadly force. Clearly, the jury believed that these officers were threatened. They believed that these officers thought that Amadou Diallo did have a gun in his hands when he turned at them. They believed the defense attorneys and clearly did not believe what the prosecution's case presented.

WATERS: What's going to happen with these four men -- Kenneth Boss, Sean Carroll, Edward McMellon and Richard Murphy -- Maria, do you know?

HINOJOSA: Well, they have said that their lives have been on hold since the moment that this event occurred. They have not spoken -- except for one of them -- have not spoken to the media during this entire time. Clearly, there is a tremendous amount of relief. Several of them, all of them, really, wiping back tears soon after the announcement was made. Several of them breathing deeply. Sean Carroll holding on to rosaries as he has been doing throughout the trial. I'm sure that they will say that they will now be able to go home to their families and be in peace.

Sean Carroll, when the trial started, did say he was very sorry, that at one point he wanted to sit down with the Diallo family and explain how sorry he was. Mrs. Diallo, on the other hand, kept hoping. Her words was that the truth would finally come out. The truth has come out, but apparently the jury believed these officers and that their actions were justified.

WATERS: We heard some rumblings in the court as the verdicts were being read, Judge Teresi admonishing the spectators to be quiet, please. I imaging that's indication that we're going to hear some dissatisfaction with these verdicts in the hours and days to come.

HINOJOSA: Lou, in fact, behind me, as word came out that there was a verdict, people rushed -- demonstrators, probably, those in support of the Diallo family, rushed to the spot that they have been taking for the past three weeks. As the not guilty verdict came through, you could begin to hear them chanting and groaning, oh, no. Oh, no.

Mrs. Diallo and Reverend Al Sharpton have said that they are asking for calm in the streets of New York. Al Sharpton, Reverend Al Sharpton, has said he will head back to the Bronx immediately and ask for calm.

Mrs. Diallo throughout the entire process asking for peace and unity. I'm sure that those will be the words she will be saying tonight as she returns to New York, probably to be with her family, her two brothers who are with her here, and to come to terms with this decision.

WATERS: All right, Maria Hinojosa is up there in Albany, New York, where the verdicts are in. Not guilty on all counts, six of them against the four men, four New York City police officers, accused of everything from murder through manslaughter to criminal negligent homicide down to a lesser count of reckless endangerment, not guilty on all counts for those four men.

We've now been told that the jurors will have nothing to say about their deliberations in this matter.

We have Roger Cossack, CNN analyst, legal analyst, on the line, who probably will be having something to say about how this all turned out.

You've been closely following the case, Roger. Anything about this surprise you?

ROGER COSSACK, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Lou, this was a very, very difficult case for the prosecution to prove right from the very beginning. When Maria talks about the truth coming out, remember this, that it was the prosecution's job to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. And it's not -- and what the jury has said basically was, look, we were not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that these police officers were not telling the truth when they perceived danger.

It was a very difficult case for the prosecution, because once the witness came in and corroborated the fact that one of the police officers yelled. gun, it was -- and they said they saw something that they thought was a gun, how was the jury then to come back and to say, well, they weren't telling the truth. They knew it wasn't a gun or they weren't acting reasonably when they thought it was a gun. And once the shots begin to get fired, horrible as it was, it was the activity.

So it was a very difficult case for the prosecution to prove. Once the police officers testified, look, we thought he was reaching for a gun, I don't know what else the jury could have done.

WATERS: Roger, there were already folks suggesting earlier in the day that this change of venue to Albany, New York may play a big part in these not guilty verdicts that we're hearing now, that if the case had remained in the Bronx, in the community where the shots were fired, it might have a difference outcome. Do you have a view on that?

COSSACK: Well, of course, you know, one can speculate that the problem here is the way the police in the Bronx and that the people of the Bronx have the best idea about the way they're treated by the New York City Police. But look, that really also -- if, in fact, that wouldn't have given these four men a fair trial then it would have been unfair. Albany is obviously not the Bronx. You know, one can speculate of, you know, whether or not there should have been some place other than Albany. But the courts decided Albany.

I would like to point out that this was a racially mixed jury that found unanimously that all of these men were not guilty. So for that matter, that's where it was. It was in Albany, and to say anything else would be pure speculation on my part.

WATERS: Right, I understand that.

We're seeing pictures now from outside the courtroom, where we see a police line up in case of folks who may be dissatisfied with these verdicts acting in an untoward manner.

The jurors have told CNN that they will not be speaking about their deliberations in the case, the judge telling them earlier that the book is closed on this case, and you have every right to remain silent about it, and that apparently was their choice. So all the rest will be the dialogue what we hear between folks in the Bronx community and -- surrounding this case.

And one of the questions I imagine, Roger, that will be asked is, does this kind of a case, this highly charged kind of atmosphere between police and the community and the racial implications send up any kind of red flares about any pulling of guns on suspects down the line?

COSSACK: Well, you see, Lou, I think even though this is a case that ended in acquittal for the police officers -- and as I pointed out, it was a very difficult case for prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that these police officers weren't telling the truth when they felt they were in danger. I still feel it's important for this case to be brought and for the message to be sent out that when activities, suspicious activities, highly suspicious activities like this happen, that a police officer will go on trial. There may be an acquittal, but nevertheless the message will be sent out that you will be held accountable.

WATERS: All right, Roger Cossack, CNN legal analyst.

We also have on the line Joseph Tocapina, who is the attorney for Abner Louima, the man who is involved in the other police brutality case in New York.

Mr. Tocapina, I understand you've been watching the proceedings here.

JOSEPH TOCAPINA, ATTORNEY: Yes, I have. Let me correct one thing off the start. I don't represent Mr. Louima, I represent one of the police officers in that case.

WATERS: All right.

TOCAPINA: I just wanted to clear that up.

WATERS: Things are moving fast here. I'm getting conflicting information, OK.

TOCAPINA: I'm sure they are. I'm sure they are.

WATERS: All right, your reaction, then, to what you just saw?

TOCAPINA: Listen, one thing you have -- everyone has to at least acknowledge, no matter whether they're happy with the verdict or unhappy with the verdict, is that this jury really put in a good hard day of deliberations. And obviously, they've been deliberating for well over 20 hours. They didn't take their job lightly. They didn't take the evidence lightly. They read -- had significant portions of the trial read back to them, so, you know, you have to at least applaud the jury for really spending the time to really give a verdict that they were morally OK with. And obviously, they put their time in and they returned a verdict that they believe the prosecution did not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. I guess they believe that these officers responded reasonably when they felt threatened, and they, in fact, did feel threatened.

WATERS: Do you agree with our legal analyst Roger Cossack, who said the prosecution had a tough job here from the get-go?

TOCAPINA: Oh, they absolutely had -- Roger's right, they had a very tough job. Obviously, they had standards that really favored the police officers because of the fact that they were cops. They were able to get certain charges under the law that allowed the jury to view the evidence very favorably for the police officers. I mean, obviously they were able to hear a self-defense charge in a case where Mr. Diallo was not armed. They were able to get charges based on their role as police officers that the normal citizen would not get. And I don't disagree with that. I think that was the appropriate thing to do. I think the judge charged them properly, and I guess this jury was not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that these cops did not act reasonably.

WATERS: All right, Joseph Tocapina, defense attorney with the Abner Louima case.

We understand there's some new information coming out of Albany, and Maria Hinojosa is in Albany.

Maria, what's the story. HINOJOSA: Lou, Mrs. Diallo had been expressing a tremendous amount of concern about what her reaction would be in the courtroom when she heard this verdict. She said to me she was very concerned what she would do if the officers started hugging each other. What we do know that she did was she was silent at first, and then tears began to stream down here face. She held each of her brothers' hands on either side of her, and clearly very moved by this. She is a very firm woman. She has been saying all along that she's very concerned that this might happen, that the officers might be found not guilty. But with this plea -- or rather, with this verdict, clearly what the jury is saying is that they are agreeing with the police officers who said all along this was a tragedy, but not a crime. They were charged with criminal acts, but they were found not guilty. So in their words, "This was a tragedy, but not a crime."

Mrs. Diallo expected to retreat for a few moments with her family and supporters to the second floor of the Albany courthouse. She is then expected to make a statement outside and perhaps join us here on CNN.

WATERS: And, Maria, we see that bank of microphones outside the front of the courthouse. What are we expecting out there? Attorneys from both sides perhaps?

HINOJOSA: The defense attorneys had told us that if their clients were found guilty, that it was going to be very improbable that they would be speaking to us. But they said that if they were found not guilty, that there would be a good chance that they would come out and talk to the media. I am assuming that that's what their plan is, that they will come out, they speak to the media, and if possible, will offer their clients, the four police officers, an opportunity to speak to the media to say what they have to say and their own reactions.

All four of them very moved. They were hugging after the verdict had been read, and some of the tension had died down. They were hugging each other, crying. They have now said that they want to retreat with their families. They can remain on the police force if they do decide to do that. So we will see where they plan to go. They'll they all live in New York. They'll all be returning to New York City, or the metropolitan area, to be with their families after this verdict has cleared them of all charges.

WATERS: And the jury has indeed said that it will not speak anymore about this case?

HINOJOSA: We apparently do not know that. We're hearing mixed messages about whether or not they will speak to us. This was a jury of seven white men, four African-American women, one white woman. The forewoman was an African-American woman. Several of the jurors had experience with the Bronx. Some of them had lived in the Bronx, had been raised in the Bronx, had visited the Bronx every now and then. So this is a jury that had some experience with the Bronx.

But they were never taken to the crime scene. The prosecutors decided not to take this jury to the crime scene to see the vestibule, where, in fact, the bullet holes are still there, where you would walk in and you would still see the messages for Amadou Diallo, where right now there's a shine set up for Amadou Diallo in that place on Wheeler Avenue where he was shot at.

WATERS: All right, Maria Hinojosa, you stand by there. We will continue on with this story, which again, is happening in Albany, New York. The four New York City Police officers whom you've just heard from Maria, may return to their jobs on the New York City police force. That's one of the bits of information we have yet to learn this afternoon, in addition to reaction from attorneys on both sides.

The four police officers have been found guilty of -- found not guilty -- excuse me -- not guilty on six counts, two of second-degree murder, two of manslaughter, one of criminal negligence -- criminally negligent homicide, and one of reckless endangerment, not guilty on all six counts.

Here's how it went just a short while ago in the New York State supreme courtroom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERESI: Members of the jury, for your dedicated service here as jurors, for the care, concern, attention and obvious concentration that you have given to your deliberations, I extend to you each my sincere thanks. Obviously, this court, nor, for that matter, any court, can function without a jury such as yours. Your personal sacrifice in serving as jurors is most certainly one of the highest duties to which any citizen can be called. In the fulfillment of your responsibilities as trial jurors, you have reflected the best traditions of all free men. Now you're about to return to your homes and to your usual daily endeavors. For your information, our law jealously guards the secrecy of all trial jury deliberations. That is what you discussed in the jury room.

You need answer to no man or no woman concerning your deliberations. What you said, what your fellow jurors said, what you talked about. what you decided, may remain locked in that secrecy which has surrounded your deliberations. The book is closed on this case. You need open it to no man or no woman.

Now you are dismissed. Go with the full knowledge that you have fulfilled your duties as jurors. Again, for your faithful service as jurors, I extend to you and each of you my sincere thanks and the thanks of your community and your state.

When you leave this courtroom, all spectators are to remain seated. You may retrieve your personal possessions and belongings from the jury room. The court officers will escort you out.

Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATERS: And that's how it ended in Judge Joseph Terisi's New York State supreme courtroom in Albany, New York, all four New York City Police officers found not guilty of the six counts against them.

It's all over now, except the analysis and further developments around the courthouse. We'll have our cameras turned on there. We'll continue following the story.

We're going to take a break right now and continue on when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WATERS: We're in the Bronx. Yes, we're in the Bronx right now. These are live pictures, where we're expecting the mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, to be addressing media. We are following up on the story which broke just minutes ago in the Albany, New York courtroom of Judge Joseph Terisi, where those four New York City Police officers accused of murdering Amadou Diallo in the Bronx were found not guilty on all the counts against them. Maria Hinojosa is in Albany, keeping a close watch at the courthouse there, where she has been for some time closely following this case -- Maria.

HINOJOSA: Lou, clearly with this decision, the jurors are saying that they agree that this was a tragedy but not a crime. Right now, there are some sounds of protesters behind me here in Albany. I can see some police cars, and fire trucks and ambulances just about two blocks away from the courthouse.

This verdict basically follows the same precedent that has been set: No New York Police Officer has ever been found guilty of second- degree murder or first-degree manslaughter. This jury is following that same precedent. They clearly believe that these officers felt that they were being attacked, that therefore they were able to use self defense. Part of the other justification rule in New York State law was that if the officers thought there was a robbery going on, they could also act in self defense, or if they were making an arrest for a felony, they could also act in self defense.

Amadou Diallo was a 22-year-old West African immigrant. He grew up in a middle-class home in Africa, also lived in Asia. His parents, when they were together, ran a ruby business in Asia and in Africa.

Mrs. Diallo now has decided to set up a foundation, called the Amadou Diallo Foundation, to help African American -- rather African immigrants to New York and Africans in her hometown.

The shooting took place on February 4, 1999 at 12:40 in the morning. Forty-one shots were fired; 19 bullets hit Amadou Diallo.

Here's a little more background on the case.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HINOJOSA: It was a cold night in the Bronx last February when the call came in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KENNETH BOSS, NYPD: ... I need a bus forthwith and a boss.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HINOJOSA: Send a bus, the police term for an ambulance, and a boss. Four white police officers had shot an unarmed black man 19 times in a spray of 41 bullets.

PROTESTERS: No justice, no peace!

HINOJOSA: Coming on the heels of allegation police had sodomized another black man in a precinct bathroom, the shooting escalated anger that New York police had lost control. Over 1,000 New Yorkers would get arrested protesting the shootings, an extraordinary coalition of races and celebrities and politicians.

PROTESTERS: No justice, no police!

HINOJOSA: The officers claim they were only following police procedure, saying they stopped Amadou Diallo because he was acting suspiciously. It was a routine search by the New York Police Department's street crime unit, a team credited with lowering crime rates. Quickly, Diallo's death became highly politicized. Was it another example of the perils of racial profiling, or a regrettable risk of aggressive policing? New York's mayor, shunned at the victim's funeral, steadfastly defended the police. The case eventually made its way into national politics.

BILL BRADLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would issue an executive order that would eliminate racial profiling at the federal level.

VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The first civil rights act of the 21st century will be a national law outlawing racial profiling.

HINOJOSA: The victim's mother, Kadiatou, struggled to understand how her college-bound son who worked as a street vendor could have been mistaken for a suspect.

KADIATOU DIALLO, MOTHER: I can't understand why somebody can be killed. I can't understand. It was nothing. No justification at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He definitely resembles the description of the rapist.

HINOJOSA: But at the trial, the police officers insisted they had not engaged in stereotyping. They said they had made an honest but tragic mistake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I rubbed his face, please don't die.

HINOJOSA: A mistake with implications for the entire justice system and police conduct in minority communities.

Maria Hinojosa. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HINOJOSA: Well, Mrs. Diallo has said, and her supporters have said, that Amadou Diallo was a victim of racial profiling. That's what will be seen across New York and across the country. What kind of a message does this verdict send in terms of the police actions?

We are expecting any moment now for the Diallo family to come out and address the media as well as the lawyers and the four officers who were found not guilty of all charges.

The trial was moved from the Bronx where the shooting took place on February 4 here to Albany because of pretrial publicity. Soon after the shooting occurred, more than 1,000 people arrested saying that they were concerned with police misconduct. At this point, this jury saying that the police were following police procedure when they -- resulted -- when they took this action against Amadou Diallo, shooting at him 19 times in a hail of 41 bullets. They said they believed he had a gun in his hand, and clearly the jury believed what they had to say today -- Lou.

WATERS: All right, Maria. We'll be back to you.

Also, shortly, we're expecting to hear from Rudolph Giuliani who will be talking with reporters at city hall. It's all in reaction to the verdicts read within the past 30 minutes in the New York State Supreme Courtroom in Albany before Judge Joseph Teresi, finding for New York City police officers, Kenneth Boss, Sean Carroll, Edward McMellon and Richard Murphy, not guilty of all six of the counts against them ranging from two counts of second-degree murder down to reckless endangerment -- not guilty on all counts.

We continue following this story from here at CNN Center, and more after a break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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