NYPD Confidential - An Inside Look at the New York Police Department
Home Page
All Columns
Contact Leonard Levitt
Search this site
Printable versionSend to a friendEmail Leonard Levitt

Diallo prosecutor fires powerful shot

February 24, 2000

Four cops may have fired 41 bullets at Amadou Diallo. But Bronx Assistant District Attorney Eric Warner had the final shot.

Warner's powerful summation Tuesday, after what many felt was until then a listless presentation, put the prosecution team back in the ballgame. His claim that Diallo, an unarmed African immigrant, was "doomed" because of what Warner said was police officer Sean Carroll's preconceived notion that Diallo was a criminal riveted the courtroom.

With the jury beginning deliberations yesterday afternoon and Carroll and his three Street Crime Unit co-defendants facing murder charges, at least one defense attorney acknowledged the effectiveness of Warner's summation and said afterward that the verdict could, as he put it, "go either way."

If there was a criticism of Warner's summation, it was that he downplayed the shooting's racial angle. As a former top NYPD officer put it, "Diallo wasn't shot because he was black. But if he was white, he wouldn't have been shot."

The Quiet Man. Seated in the last row of the courtroom every day has been an unassuming, gray-haired man. He is Kevin Gilmartin, the Internal Affairs Bureau inspector credited with breaking the so-called blue wall of silence in the Abner Louima case.

So what's Gilmartin doing at the Diallo trial? First, he and three other IAB members are said to be monitoring the bars for late-night revelry by members of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, who have come to Albany to support the four officers on trial.

In addition, Gilmartin is monitoring the trial in case the officers are acquitted and the Police Department has to consider bringing departmental charges. Many in law enforcement believe that decision will be influenced by City Hall and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's Senate bid. The mayor could be in a tough spot. He told police academy graduates at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday that he generally will give police the benefit of the doubt. Let's see how much that benefits Carroll and his co-defendants-if there is an acquittal-while the Rev. Al Sharpton cries for their scalps as he's promised to do.

Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect. Those are some of the words used to describe Albany Police Department spokesman Jim Miller. Miller was seen shoveling snow, clearing the Albany courthouse's parking spots to allow press trucks to park. Now can you imagine that in New York City?

« Back to top

© 2000 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.