Duty to protect, serve

I know I’m greedy, but the parents of Amadou Diallo really should have received more.

On Jan. 6, Saikou and Kadiatou Diallo settled for $3 million in their lawsuit against the city of New York instead of the $81 million they initially sought.

Forty-one bullets riddled the body of their 22-year-old son as he stood in front of his home on Feb. 4, 1999. Four policemen, who said they felt threatened, pulled their triggers on an unarmed Diallo.

The shooting exposed the barbaric conduct of policemen toward members of the black community.

The family’s attorney has maintained that the settlement was the cities way to atone for the behavior of the four officers.

But did $3 million really settle the score?

These same policemen were acquitted of criminal charges because the incident was a “mistake.” All four officers remain employed by the city of New York to this day. One has even planned to sue the police department to be reinstated to his former patrolling duties.

An example should have been made of these, especially when it seems the cases of excessive force and racial profiling have continued since his death. Including the death of a 350-pound black man, beaten to death in Cleveland.

The court should have granted the family the entire $81 million. That was the judicial system’s opportunity to send a resounding message to law enforcement: reckless behavior by police will not be tolerated.

Their duty is to protect and serve the people, not to make firing targets out of every black person who reaches into his or her pockets for identification. It seems as though nothing has been gained or learned from the murder of Amadou Diallo.

Monica Harden is a senior magazine production student from Hockley, Texas. She is an Assistant Opinions Editor for The Famuan. Contact Monica Harden at mharden82@aol.com