Mort de Amadou Diallo à New York City
Kit R. Roane
Four Who Were on the Fast Track
New York Times — March 26, 1999
Following are sketches of the four police officers reportedly indicted yesterday in the Amadou Diallo shooting:
- Edward McMellon
Officer Edward McMellon, 26, joined the New York City Police Department nearly six years ago, after graduating from high school and then studying English at St. John’s University in Queens.
He started out in the 75th Precinct, which covers the tough neighborhood of East New York, Brooklyn. There, he gained a reputation of being active on the streets: over the course of his five years on patrol there, Officer McMellon made 86 felony arrests and 63 misdemeanor arrests. He had five civilian complaints filed against him, none of which were substantiated, and received three citations for excellent police duty.
He also wounded a man, shooting a suspect he said was wielding a loaded 9-millimeter handgun last June.
That shooting was found to be proper, the Police Department said.
By November 1998, Officer McMellon, who lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, was picked to join the elite Street Crime Unit, a move that would change his life. When he and his three partners confronted Diallo in the vestibule of Diallo’s Bronx apartment building on Feb. 4, Officer McMellon pulled the trigger of his 9-millimeter service pistol 16 times
- Kenneth Boss
Kenneth Boss, 27, grew up in Holbrook, N.Y., playing football and hockey in his youth. He took the police examination right after high school.
He was hired in January 1992 and was also assigned to the 75th Precinct in East New York, where, friends said, he enjoyed the pace of activity.
Then, in October 1998, he was assigned to the department’s Street Crime Unit.
By police accounts he did a good job there, receiving 23 citations for excellent police duty and two awards for meritorious police duty. In his career, he has made 97 felony arrests and 16 misdemeanor arrests.
On Halloween night in 1997, he shot Patrick Bailey, 20. Officer Boss said he fired after Bailey aimed a shotgun at him. Bailey was hit in the buttocks and thigh and bled to death.
Although the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office cleared Officer Boss of any wrongdoing, Bailey’s family has continued to claim that the officer shot the wrong man. A year after the killing, Officer Boss, who lives in Kings Park, N.Y., was promoted to the Street Crime Unit, an assignment seen as a fast track to being promoted to detective.
When he encountered Diallo on Feb. 4, he fired his gun five times
- Sean Carroll
Officer Sean Carroll, 35, joined the Street Crime Unit in February 1997, and until just a few months before the shooting of Amadou Diallo had been on desk duty, helping managers analyze computer data and crime statistics.
But colleagues said he was itching to get back on the streets, and felt life was passing him by.
His career had begun in 1993 after Officer Carroll was discharged from the Navy. He was placed in the 73d Precinct in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where he received two citations for excellent duty and made 68 arrests.
On the night of Aug. 11, 1997, while Officer Carroll was patrolling on Wilson Avenue in the Bronx, according to the police, he heard a bullet whiz by his head and fired back, but did not hit anyone. The gunman was never found.
He did not fire his gun again until Feb. 4, when he emptied his 16-shot 9-millimeter pistol at Diallo. After the shooting, he was seen crying.
Carroll now spends his days with his two children, a 10-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son, at their home in Babylon, N.Y., his neighbors said.
- Richard Murphy
Life was full of promise for Officer Richard Murphy when he moved with his wife from the College Point section of Queens to a quiet block of brick row houses in Fresh Meadows, Queens, last year. He had been on the force for more than four years, making nearly 120 arrests without ever firing a shot or receiving one civilian complaint.
He was climbing the ladder in the Police Department, and, by October of last year, he would make the jump from a patrolman in the 115th Precinct in Jackson Heights, Queens, to the Street Crime Unit.
Three months ago, he became a father. His new neighbors, many retired, most elderly, were ecstatic. They all stopped by to pamper his little boy, the youngest addition to a close-knit community.
When he encountered Diallo, Officer Murphy fired his weapon four times.