In February 1999, four plainclothes NYPD officers fired 41 shots at Amadou Diallo, an unarmed 22-year-old Bronx resident, peppering his body with bullets and killing him. Sixteen years later, one of those cops is getting a promotion.

All four of the officers who shot Diallo were charged with murder, and all four were acquitted. Three of them have since left the force. Not Kenneth Boss, who fired five of the bullets. He will be promoted to sergeant this week.

The extraordinarily grisly circumstances of Diallo’s death are worth remembering. The four officers—Edward McMellon, Sean Carroll, Richard Murphy, and Boss—observed Diallo standing outside his building. It was after midnight, and he had just returned from getting food. The officers later said he matched the description of the suspect in a serial rape investigation. Nineteen of their bullets hit him.

From a 1999 article in the New York Daily News:

Amadou Diallo, 22, a street peddler who immigrated from Guinea in West Africa, was pronounced dead at the scene, his bullet-riddled body crumpled faceup in the well-lighted vestibule of his building on Wheeler Ave. in Soundview.

His wallet and a beeper lay next to him.

Two of the cops Police Officers Edward McMellon, 26, and Sean Carroll, 35 didn’t stop firing until the 16-bullet cartridges in their 9-mm. handguns were spent.


More than a dozen bullet holes scarred the walls and an inner door of the vestibule; others were found near apartment doors, and one lodged in the living room wall of Diallo’s first-floor apartment. There were no civilian witnesses to the shooting, police said.

Boss “Worked his ass off,” for the promotion, an anonymous police source told the Daily News. “He passed the test. He should be left alone.” Congratulations to him.

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