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Monday, February 14, 2000 FULL SHOW | HEADLINES
2000-02-14

One of Four Police Officers on Trial for the Murder of Amadou Diallo Killed Before

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The Amadou Diallo murder trial resumes in Albany, New York this morning. Four New York City police officers are accused of murdering the unarmed Bronx man in a hail of forty-one bullets, nineteen of which hit him. [includes rush transcript]

Diallo, a Guinean immigrant, was shot to death on February 4, 1999, as he stood in his apartment vestibule. The officers’ attorneys have told jurors that each plans to take the stand to explain why they fired forty-one shots at Diallo. Officer Sean Carroll is expected to testify as early as today.

In a joint defense, the officers claim Diallo contributed to his own death by lurking in the darkness around his own home. They also allege he refused orders to halt for questioning.

Also expected to return to the stand today is witness Schrrie Elliott. Defense attorneys gambled when they put Elliott on the stand. Labeled a "hostile witness," she testified that Diallo fell early during the shooting, and that shots continued after Diallo was down.

One of the officers, Kenneth Boss, had killed another civilian. Last week, US Attorney Loretta Lynch determined that Boss will not face federal civil rights charges in the 1997 fatal shooting of another black man in Brooklyn. In that case, 22-year-old Patrick Bailey was killed after Boss shot him outside his home on Halloween night. Family attorneys said that Boss allowed Bailey to bleed to death. Boss refused to talk to internal affairs investigators of the Brooklyn District Attorney, who issued a controversial report last year finding that the shooting had been justified because Bailey had been wielding a gun.

The family is seeking to reopen the case.

Guests:

  • Lloyd Bailey, father of Patrick Bailey, who was shot to death by Kenneth Boss.
  • Charles Baron, community activist and spokesperson for the Bailey family.
  • Mark Mishler, attorney who is observing the trial in Albany.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN:

After a rocky start, the defense in the murder trial of four white police officers is poised to look for help from its star witnesses: the officers themselves. Attorneys for officers Sean Carroll, Kenneth Boss, Edward McMellon and Richard Murphy have told jurors each plans to take the stand to explain why they fired forty-one shots at Amadou Diallo on February 4th, 1999, killing the unarmed man in his apartment vestibule. Carroll may take the stand as early as today.

Last week, the defense attorneys gambled by subpoenaing witness Schrrie Elliott, who had refused to greet with them to testify. She told the jury someone called, "Gun!" before the shooting started. But the move backfired on cross-examination, when Elliott testified she watched from across the street as four plainclothes officers cornered Diallo and opened fire without telling him to stop. Breaking into tears, she also said shots continued after the street vendor fell to the ground. The Supreme Court Justice, Joseph Teresi, declared Elliott an adverse witness. The ruling opened the door for the defense to question her about her past drug arrests and to use her statements made to a grand jury, the FBI and a TV reporter to try to show that she had changed her story.

We’re going to turn first to Albany, to Mark Mishler, who is an attorney who has been monitoring the trial. We also hope to go live to the trial, and we’re going to be speaking with the father of a young man, Patrick Bailey, who was killed by one of the officers who are charged with murder in the Diallo case.

Mark Mishler, thanks for being with us.

MARK MISHLER:

Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN:

Can you just update us, give us a little context, because we’ll probably be going in and out of this trial today, if it starts on time. And it may make sense to our viewers; it may not, because that’s sort of the nature of how actually these court proceedings work. But tell us, until now, where we are and what we expect to see today.

MARK MISHLER:

Well, I mean, what’s happened so far is the prosecution has presented its direct case, its main case, and the defense began its case the end of last week or middle of last week. One of the key witnesses for the defense, as you mentioned, is Ms. Elliott, and who apparently gave some surprising testimony to the defense. They have now asked and have been given permission to treat her as an adverse witness. And what that means is the — you know, typically when put on your own witness, you can’t try to discredit your own witness. And so, in this case, it’s a little unusual: they are being given permission to do that, and apparently that will happen today. And we know some of the things that they are going to use to discredit her, apparently, which includes her criminal record and possibly statements that she made relating to the Diallo case that apparently are inconsistent with what she testified to last week. So I would expect this to take much of the day today. That would be my expectation.

AMY GOODMAN:

So, it might be that the police officer, the first, Sean Carroll, who was one of the two shooters who shot Amadou Diallo sixteen times, might not take the stand today.

MARK MISHLER:

Right, and as you mentioned, Amy, it is of course difficult to predict exactly what’s going to happen in a trial, and it’s — Judge Teresi is known for and is living up to his reputation of moving this along very quickly, so it’s a little hard to know.

AMY GOODMAN:

The other question of admitting this video, which was an interview that Schrrie Elliott did with a reporter last year, saying that Amadou Diallo remained standing for much of the time of the shooting, even if she did say that and she now says something else, she wasn’t under oath last year when she said that on television. What would it go to, just saying that you can’t trust her? I mean, it’s —

MARK MISHLER:

Right, I think that’s probably what the defense is attempting to accomplish at this time, that they want a jury to conclude that there’s nothing that can come out of Ms. Elliott’s mouth that can be trusted, because she will, I’m sure in their words, you know, say a different story depending on who’s asking or when she’s asked. And I think it’s an effort to try to neutralize anything that they view as damaging what she testified to last week.

AMY GOODMAN:

I want to bring in some of the guests that we have right now, because there’s no telling when exactly the trial will start, and we do want to go to that. But I’d like to keep you on for as long as you can stay, Mark Mishler, because I want to ask you questions about whether or not the previous record of these officers, civilian complaints against them, will be allowed into this trial, and if not, why not.

We’re joined right now by Lloyd Bailey, who is the father of Patrick Bailey. Now, longtime listeners to Democracy Now! will remember that just after Amadou Diallo was shot, we had Mr. Bailey on this program, as well as his lawyer, to talk about this case that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention. Last week, US attorney Loretta Lynch determined that Kenneth Boss, one of the officers now on trial for killing Amadou Diallo, will not face federal civil rights charges in the 1997 fatal shooting of another black man in Brooklyn. In that case, twenty-two-year-old Patrick Bailey was shot after Boss shot him outside his home on holiday — on Halloween night. Family attorneys said that Boss allowed Bailey to bleed to death. Boss refused to talk to internal affairs investigators of the Brooklyn District Attorney, who issued a controversial report last year, finding that the shooting had been justified because Bailey had been wielding a gun, they said. The family is seeking to reopen the case, and we’re joined by Patrick Bailey’s father, Lloyd Bailey, as well as a spokesperson for the Bailey family, Charles Baron.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now!

CHARLES BARON:

Thank you very much.

LLOYD BAILEY:

Thank you very much.

AMY GOODMAN:

Why don’t we start off — and either one of you can decide which one would like to start off — by describing what happened with Patrick Bailey? And then we’ll ask Mark Mishler about whether this would be relevant to this case. Charles Baron?

CHARLES BARON:

Well, what happened on October 31st, 1997, Patrick was in a confrontation with a local drug dealer on his block in East New York, Brooklyn, and the drug dealer fled from the block after the confrontation and sought police officers. I find that interesting. But anyway, the drug dealer went and got four police officers and brought them back to the block, and they saw Patrick standing in front of his home on his way out to go to the store. All the eyewitnesses to that said Patrick had no gun. The police officers ran up on him at night, and they didn’t have their regular uniforms. They had the turtlenecks with the NYPD thing on the collar and blue slacks, so he couldn’t tell whether they were the drug dealer’s friends coming back for revenge. Patrick ran into the house. Kenneth Boss led the police officers in chasing Patrick in the house. Patrick ran in the house and ran down to the basement. When he got to the top of the stairs to run down to the basement, that’s when Kenneth Boss opened fire at a fleeing perpetrator, whatever they call them, at Patrick.

AMY GOODMAN:

How do you know fleeing?

CHARLES BARON:

Because we know eyewitnesses who were in the hall with him — Deborah Chuck was in the hall with him —- and from the wound entries. We had an independent autopsy. The bullet went down in his right thigh and punctured a femoral vessel, and the second bullet went downward in his right buttocks and punctured an iliac vessel, a blood artery. So he was headed downward. Forensic evidence says that, eyewitnesses say that, except for Kenneth Boss and the cops.

They changed the whole story. Then it went to when the cops arrived on the block, they saw Patrick pointing a shotgun. Now, they claim even when they found the shotgun, it was inoperable and unloaded. We know black youth who had candy bars and were shot and killed; keys, shot and killed; a wallet, shot and killed. You’re going to tell me that a young black man would point an inoperable shotgun at four police officers with nine-millimeters and make it in the house? They said they chased him in the house after he pointed the shotgun at them. He would have died on the spot, and if he did get in the house with the supposed shotgun, why would Kenneth Boss knock the door down when a shotgun just went on the other side? Certainly he would have held up and called for backup, which is part of the procedure, and say, you know, a guy went on the other side of the house with a shotgun. Kenneth Boss says, after he broke in the house, he then saw Patrick paused in the hallway with the shotgun, and then Patrick grabbed the young lady who was with him, held her with his right hand, facing Boss -—

AMY GOODMAN:

This is what Boss said?

CHARLES BARON:

This is what Boss said. Facing Boss, pointing the shotgun with his left hand. So they’re facing him, and that’s when he said his life was in danger, and he opened fire. Either he has boomerang bullets that can make it on the side after them being up — why would you open fire if he had a hostage like that? And the young lady was taken to the hospital, because she was wounded in the back of her leg. All of it was lies. Patrick fell down the stairs. They cuffed him. He bled to death. It took them forty-five minutes to get to the hospital that was three minutes away.

AMY GOODMAN:

Explain that part. So he was shot twice?

CHARLES BARON:

Twice.

AMY GOODMAN:

And what happened after he was shot?

CHARLES BARON:

After he was shot, he fell down the stairs. They cuffed him. They put their knees in his chest and said, "We should kill you," and a racial slur. And then they went in the basement. They were rounding up other people, because his friends were in the basement. They claim that they called the EMTs. He got shot at 11:37 — 11:35. The EMTs didn’t show up until 11:46. They didn’t get him out of the house until 12:09. What was going on? And if you look at — ask for the report from D.A. Hyne’s office, they claim that Patrick, who was — wanted to be a stockbroker and was a very decent young man and had no prior arrest record — a landlord tenant dispute, that was it — he tells the EMTs, "Leave me alone, I want to die. I don’t want to go to jail, leave me alone. I want to die." And that’s what took them so long to get him out the house? And then when they get him out at 12:09, Mr. Bailey and I took the ride from the home to the hospital, and we stopped for lights and made it in three minutes. So, 12:09 to 12:20, it takes you to get to the hospital, and then, worse yet, Brookdale Hospital only detected one wound, gave him blood transfusions, and the iliac artery was still open.

AMY GOODMAN:

And he died.

CHARLES BARON:

And he died at 6:00 a.m. in the morning, the next morning, November 1st.

AMY GOODMAN:

Mr. Bailey, what are you calling for?

LLOYD BAILEY:

Well, right now I’m calling for justice for my son, Patrick Bailey. That’s what I’m asking for: justice. We plead with the District Attorney office, and he claimed that he going to look over the papers again. I really don’t know what that mean, when he say he just going to look over it, but he’s not going to promise us anything. I mean, it’s plain. It’s clear that you could see all kind of cover-up in those documents that we have. So, I don’t know. We just hoping that we get some justice from this case.

AMY GOODMAN:

Mark Mishler, I know you have to leave, but hearing this story, and I’m sure you’ve heard of it before, the Bailey case, will this be allowed in when Kenneth Boss takes the stand?

MARK MISHLER:

Well, first thing I want to say is that, of course, it’s relevant, and it’s something that we would want the jury in the trial of Boss and his other officers, we would want the jury to hear. And the difficulty legally is that there are rules about, when one is a criminal defendant, whether prior incidents can be brought up in front of the jury. Judge Teresi did make a pre-trial ruling that said that this and other incidents would not be able to be brought up. However, he left open the possibility that if the defense does what’s called "open the door" to this, that the prosecution would be able bring this and other incidents up.

AMY GOODMAN:

And how does the defense open the door?

MARK MISHLER:

Well, that may be a battleground in the next several days. We may see that unfold. The defense — it’s going to be a matter of judgment for Judge Teresi as to whether they ask a question of their own clients and witnesses that in some way would compel allowing the prosecution to bring up the Bailey case and other instances of prior misconduct.

AMY GOODMAN:

We have to break for stations to identify themselves. We’ll be back in a minute. We’re speaking with attorney Mark Mishler, who’s been monitoring the trial in Albany, New York of the four New York City police officers charged with the murder of Amadou Diallo. We’re also joined in the studio by Charles Baron, a spokesperson for the Bailey family, as well as Mr. Lloyd Bailey, who is the father of Patrick Bailey, who was killed by Kenneth Boss in 1997. You’re listening to Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now! We’ll be back in a minute.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN:

You are listening to Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now!, the Exception to the Rulers. We’re going to go live right now to the trial in Albany just for a second to see what is happening. I think the judge is now saying he’s not quite ready to begin, the Supreme Court Justice, Judge Teresi. But we will go to him in just a minute.

We are expecting that today the first testimony will be Schrrie Elliot, who was on the stand last week for the defense, but she ended up being declared an adverse witness, and it’s expected she will be there now. This is the courtroom.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And I ask whether the person who appeared in the videotape was you. You recall that?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And the person whose identity is obscured in the videotape is you, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

AMY GOODMAN:

This is Stephen Worth, the defense attorney, questioning Schrrie Elliot.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    I asked you further whether anyone had forced you or threatened you or coerced you into making that video. You remember that?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And did anyone force you or threaten you or coerce you to make that video?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    No.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And you remember that I asked you whether you knew that you were being videotaped when you were being videotaped?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And you did know that you were being videotaped, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And remember that I asked you whether — the way that the videotape happened, remember where I asked you some questions about how the videotape happened?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    I don’t remember.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    OK. Is it true, Ms. Elliot, that you came up to a reporter by the name of Scott Weinberger on the street about two weeks after this incident happened?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    Up until that time, you hadn’t spoken to anybody about the — any people, law enforcement or any reporters or any lawyers or anybody about what you saw, right?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    No.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    When you say no, you’re agreeing with me, right?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yeah, yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    OK. So the first person that you spoke to about this was Scott Weinberger, right?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And then he asked if you would do a videotape with him, right?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And you did a videotape, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And is it true, Ms. Elliot, that you told him that the person — that one of the police officers said out of his own mouth that, "He’s got a gun," meaning Mr. Diallo has a gun? Did you tell Mr. Weinberger?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    I don’t understand that.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    OK. Let me try it again. In this first interview with Mr. Weinberger on the videotape, did you not say to him, "He said out of his own mouth he’s got a gun," meaning a police officer?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

AMY GOODMAN:

You are listening to — you are listening to Court TV in the courtroom in Albany, New York, and this is the beginning of the day for the defense right now, who has brought back an adverse witness, Schrrie Elliott. Stephen Worth, the defense attorney for one of the four police officers charged.

Mark Mishler, the attorney who’s been monitoring the trial in Albany, is on the line with us, can only stay for a minute. Again, lay out the significance of Schrrie Elliott and what the defense is going to try to do to her today.

MARK MISHLER:

Well, I think what the defense is going to try to do is neutralize her so that there is nothing that a jury can take from her that would be harmful to the police officer defendants, and the way that they’re going to do that is to try to make sure the jury understands that she has given more than one account of what she observed the night that Mr. Diallo was killed. And therefore the jury will be told, quite explicitly, you know, you can’t believe anything she says; even if it sounds like it’s helpful to the prosecution, just discount it.

AMY GOODMAN:

Mark, we are back to the trial right now. Again, Stephen Worth questioning Schrrie Elliott about the videotape testimony she gave last year to a reporter, Scott Weinberger.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    You’re agreeing with me, I want to just be clear. You have to answer out loud.

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    OK. Now, there came a time approximately two weeks ago, on a Tuesday, when you did another interview with Mr. Weinberger. Do you recall that?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And again, at the time that you did this interview, you weren’t threatened or — withdrawn. I’ll continue. At the time you did the second interview about two weeks ago with Mr. Weinberger, again, you were not threatened or coerced or forced to, in any way, make the video, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    No.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And you made it voluntarily, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And again, you knew that you were being videotaped, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And again, during this videotape, Mr. Weinberger asked you who said the word “gun.” Do you recall that?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And again, last week, out of the presence of the jury you were shown a snippet of videotape, and you were asked if that fairly and accurately showed what you said and what Mr. Weinberger said. Remember that?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And the videotape fairly and accurately shows what you said and what Mr. Weinberger said. Correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And it hasn’t been altered or cut out or anything left out or anything like that, right?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    I don’t know.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    Well, what you see up there is what you said and what he said, right?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And at this time I’d ask that the second snippet be played, Your Honor.

    JUDGE TERESI: Go ahead.

AMY GOODMAN:

This is the snippet of videotape that was on television on NBC last year. You’re listening to Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now! It’s being played in the courtroom in Albany in the murder trial of four police officers. Here we go.

    SCOTT WEINBERGER: What did you hear the officer say?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    "Gun." And that’s it.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And what we’ve just looked at is the conversation, what you said to Mr. Weinberger about two weeks ago, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    Now, during that same conversation, you were asked some questions about whether Mr. Diallo was standing during the shooting, mostly standing for the shooting, or mostly down for the shooting. Do you recall being asked those questions?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And again, last week, out of the presence of the jury, you were shown a snippet of videotape, and you were asked if it fairly and accurately showed your conversation with Mr. Weinberger about that issue. Remember?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And you looked at the videotape, right?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And does it fairly and accurately show the conversation that you and Mr. Weinberger had about whether Mr. Diallo was standing during the shooting?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And again, were you forced or threatened or coerced in any way when you made those statements?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    No.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And again, did you — were you aware that you were on videotape?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    Your Honor, at this time I would ask that the third snippet be played.

    JUDGE TERESI: Go ahead.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    Before it’s played, Ms. Elliott, I’m going to ask you after the videotape what your words were on the videotape, OK? So I’m going to ask you to pay particular attention to these words, alright?

    SCOTT WEINBERGER: Was the gunfire more when he was standing, or was the gunfire more when he was laying down?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    When he was standing. It was a little bit — it was after it initially started. Like I said, like three to four seconds [inaudible].

AMY GOODMAN:

That was the videotape.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    Is that you on the videotape?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    You say to Mr. Weinberger that it was more when he, meaning Mr. Diallo, was standing, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    When it initially started.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    Right. And then you say it initially started for three to four seconds, he’s still standing, right?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    Ms. Elliott, first, to go back to February of last year, a year ago, the first time you spoke to anybody, as you told us, anybody involved with the case or any reporter or any law enforcement was Scott Weinberger, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Excuse me?

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    The first time you spoke to either anybody in the press or anybody in law enforcement was Scott Weinberger, right?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And then he played his videotape on a local TV station, right?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And that was on February 24th, right?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    I’m not sure about the date.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    OK. A couple of weeks after the incident, right?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And then, remember that after you had spoken to him and after he aired his videotape, that on March 15th, 1999, you went to talk to some US attorneys in the United States attorney’s office in downtown Manhattan.

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And when you went there that day, that was the first time that you were speaking to anybody in law enforcement, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And when you went to that interview, you went with an attorney, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    Actually, you went with two attorneys, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    You went with a man by the name of Kevin Thie [phon.], correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And you met — Mr. Thie is here today, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    Could we have Mr. Thie stand up, Your Honor?

    JUDGE TERESI: Yes, he is standing.

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    He is standing.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    The man in back?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    That’s Mr. Thie, right?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And you also went with a man by the name of Mr. Pollard, is that correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And Mr. Pollard is also here today, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    Could we have Mr. Pollard stand up, Your Honor?

    JUDGE TERESI: Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    Thank you. And when you went to the United States attorney’s office, you saw two assistant United States attorneys, Andrea Labov and Katherine — that’s L-A-B-O-V — and Katherine Baird, B-A-I-R-D. Remember? Two female assistant US attorneys?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And also there were two assistant district attorneys present at that time, as well, right?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And one of them was Mr. Rosenfeld, who’s here in court, right?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And another was a man by the name of Mr. Talpe [phon.].

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    So there was two assistant DAs, two United States attorneys, and two lawyers for you, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And it’s true that when you were questioned — and there was also an FBI agent there by the name of McAndrew — McAndrews — McAndrew, no “s.” Remember him?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And is that — to the best of your recollection, is that everybody who was there?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes. Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And the purpose, again, of you being there was to tell what you knew about what you saw, right?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And you told them what you saw, right?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And what you told the United States attorney is that one of the officers yelled “Gun,” correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And in fact, you told the United States attorney three separate times that one of the officers said “Gun,” correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    You didn’t say, "I don’t know who said gun," right?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    I don’t remember. I said one of the officers said “Gun.”

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And as you sit here today, you know that it was one of the officers who said “Gun,” correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    STEPHEN WORTH:

    And if Mr. Levin or one of these assistant DAs stands up and asks you, “You don’t know who it is?” you’re not going to change your answer, are you?

    PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY: Objection.

    JUDGE TERESI: Sustained.

AMY GOODMAN:

Defense attorney, lead defense attorney, Stephen Worth, questioning the hostile witness for the defense, Schrrie Elliott, about why her statements to a local reporter in New York last year contrasted with her testimony last week that shook the defense, because then she said that Amadou Diallo was mainly down when he was shot, that there were no warning comments to Diallo, but they haven’t proved that otherwise today. They are just saying that she heard a police officer say “Gun.”

Now, the defense attorneys are convening, talking to each other, as Schrrie Elliott remains on the stand. And it looks like Stephen Worth is going to go back to questioning Schrrie Elliott.

You are listening to Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now! Today we expect it’s possible that a police officer will take the stand, as well, but now another of the defense attorneys looks like he is about to begin questioning Schrrie Elliott. Again, last week she said that she wasn’t sure who said “Gun,” it could have even been Amadou Diallo. Now they’ve shown her videotape where she said it was the police officers who said it, and she is agreeing that she said that last year. Let’s take a listen again, live in the courtroom in Albany, New York, the trial moved from the Bronx, which is overwhelmingly black and Latino, to one of the whitest areas of New York.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    And you were asked certain questions by the various attorneys, and you gave answers to those questions, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

AMY GOODMAN:

This is defense attorney James Culleton, the defense attorney for Richard Murphy.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Do you remember, on direct examination, Mr. Patton, gentleman seated over here with the brown glasses, stood up and asked you how long the shooting lasted? Do you remember being asked those questions?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    No.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    OK. Let me see if I can refresh your recollection. Page 1332. Do you remember being asked these questions last week by Mr. Patton? Question: Do you know how long the entire shooting event took? How long was that? Answer: I don’t know. Question: No idea? Answer: No. Remember being asked those questions by Mr. Patton and giving those answers?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    OK. Now, you testified in the grand jury with respect to this case, did you not?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Can you repeat that again?

    JAMES CULLETON:

    You testified in the grand jury back on March 22nd, 1999, in connection with this case, and you told the grand jurors what you saw and what you heard, is that correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes. Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    And when you testified in front of the grand jury, you were under oath, were you not?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    OK. Do you remember being asked this question in the grand jury by Mr. Rosenfeld, the gentleman seated over here? Question — on page LR19, beginning on line 9. Question: About how long would you say the shooting lasted? Answer: Couple of seconds. Remember telling that to Mr. Rosenfeld, being asked that question and giving that answer in the grand jury back on March 22nd, 1999?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Probably.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Excuse me?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Probably.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Well, was your recollection better back then in March of ’99 than it is today, in February of the year 2000?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    I don’t understand what you mean by that.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    OK. Well, it’s over a year since this happened now, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Did you remember things more clearly back closer to the incident than you do today?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Now, you were answering questions by Mr. Worth.

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Mister...?

    JAMES CULLETON:

    And in his — Mr. Worth, the gentleman who just stood up and asked you questions.

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Oh, OK.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    He asked you questions last Wednesday, and he asked you questions today, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    And Mr. Levin, the gentleman seated over here in the middle, he asked you questions last week, did he not?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Now, remember Mr. Levin asking you questions in this courtroom last week?

AMY GOODMAN:

Levin is the prosecutor.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    On page 1318. Do you remember Mr. Levin asking you these questions? Question: And you don’t know who said “Gun”? Answer: No. Question: It could have been the man inside saying gun? Answer: Yes. Remember being asked those questions by Mr. Levin last week?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yeah, but I didn’t understand what he meant.

    JAMES CULLETON: Excuse me?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    I didn’t understand what he meant.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    But you did when you made this statement to the FBI.

AMY GOODMAN:

You’re listening to Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now!, as we break for stations to ID for just a minute, and then we’ll go back live to the courtroom in Albany, New York, where four white police officers are on trial for the murder of Amadou Diallo. Right now, the adverse witness for the defense, Schrrie Elliott, is being questioned by defense attorneys, currently by James Culleton, who is the defense attorney for Richard Murphy, who is the police officer who shot the least number of shots, four, and it is believed none of them actually pierced Amadou Diallo. You’re listening to Democracy Now! We’ll be back in a minute.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN:

You’re listening to Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now!, as we rejoin, live, the trial of the four police officers charged with the killing of Amadou Diallo. James Culleton, defense attorney for Richard Murphy, is now questioning the adverse witness, a hostile witness, Schrrie Elliott, about statements she made this week and last week and what she said last year to a local TV reporter. She’s one of the only eyewitnesses to the shooting of Diallo.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    — were you?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    No.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Now, last week you were asked questions by Mr. Levin as to what you saw Mr. Diallo doing. Correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    And I believe you told us you were walking down Wheeler Avenue, and you could see what was happening from where you were standing. Is that fair?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    You were across the street?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    You were a little on a diagonal — diagonally across that; you could see what was happening in front of you. Is that fair to say?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Now — and you testified in the grand jury as to what you observed that night, did you not?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Isn’t it a fact that you told — well, let me do it this way. Remember being asked these questions in the grand jury? Question, on page LR10, beginning on line — beginning on line 9. Question: Now, the place where these men went to, did you see if there was anybody at the location? Answer: It was a man standing on the stoop. Question: At the time, did you know who the man was? Answer: No. Question: What part of the man could you see? Answer: His back. Remember being asked those questions in the grand jury?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    And you gave those answers?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    So you saw a man on the stoop who later turned out to be Mr. Diallo, and you could see his back. Is that fair?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    When you first saw Mr. Diallo, did he have — standing on this stoop — or, withdrawn. When he was standing on the stoop, was he standing outside the vestibule, or was he standing inside the vestibule?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Right there in that area.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Was he outside or inside, if you recall?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    He was inside.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Alright. Well, remember being asked these questions in the grand jury, on page LR10, and giving these answers? Beginning on line 16. Question: When you said he was standing on the stoop, where was he in relation to the sidewalk and the steps in that area? Answer: Like on the — on the — up the stairs, right there. Question: Was he inside the building or outside the building? Answer: Still outside the building. Question: And what part of this man could you see? Answer: His back. Remember giving those — being asked those questions and giving those answers?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    So, you could see the man’s back, and he was standing on the stoop on the outside of the building, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    It’s the same thing.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Exactly. Now, at the time that you observed him, did he have any hands in his pocket?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    When? When?

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Did he have his hands in his pocket, when you first saw him standing on the stoop?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    No.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    No? Did you ever see him put his hands in his pocket?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    And when did you see him put his hand in his pocket? When did you see him put his hands in his pocket?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    When he was turning around.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Well, remember being asked these questions in the grand jury, Miss Elliott, and giving these answers? And I’m referring to page LR44, beginning on line 9. Question: Ms. Elliott, before, when you first saw the man standing in the doorway — OK, getting back to that moment when you first observed him, where was his hand? Answer: In his jacket pocket. Question: It was already there? Did you see him put his hand in the — in the jacket pocket? Answer: No. Question: And after you saw the man with his hand in his jacket pocket, did you see his hand again, his right hand, as you were demonstrating, ever come out of the jacket pocket? Answer: No. Remember being asked those questions and giving those answers?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Well, a year ago, approximately, you say his right hand was in his jacket pocket when you first saw him, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    And according to your testimony, he never took his hand out of his jacket pocket. This is his right hand. Correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    For the entire incident, he never took his hand out of the jacket pocket?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    And his left hand, that was by his side, was it not?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Did he always have his hand by his side?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Only when I seen him.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Only when you seen him, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    And you stayed there, did you not, until the entire shooting ended?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Correct? And that’s when you ran away. Is that true?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    And when you ran away, you didn’t hear any more shots as you were running, did you?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    No.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    So, all the shots were fired while you were standing there, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes. Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    And during that entire time that you recollect, his left hand was at his side. Is that your testimony?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    And his right hand was always in his pocket, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Did you ever see him put his hands up in the air, like, "I surrender"?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    No.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Did you ever see him take his hand out of his pocket, his right hand out of his pocket, as he was turning?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    No.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Now, there came a point in time, as you told us last week, that — and as we just went over, you heard one of the police officers yell “Gun.” Is that correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Before you heard the word “gun,” did the man start to turn?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    I don’t remember.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Excuse me?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    I don’t remember.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    OK. Well, let’s go back to your grand jury testimony.

AMY GOODMAN:

This is defense attorney questioning hostile witness, Schrrie Elliott.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Do you remember being asked these series of questions in the grand jury on March 22nd, 1999, beginning on line — excuse me, page LR37, beginning on line 10? Question: OK, please show us again how it was the man who had been shot turned, and please finish. Let us see how he was standing right up until the moment you heard the word “gun.” Answer: Like this. Question: That’s as much as he turned? Answer: Yes. Mr. Rosenfeld, indicating the witness’s turn counterclockwise, with her left side towards the grand jury and the right shoulder starting to turn, move towards the grand jurors. Question: Did he get any farther around that you remember seeing? Answer: I didn’t see him. Question: At the last moment when you saw the man, as you’re standing, please continue standing, how was he standing? Like...? Answer: Like this. Mr. Rosenfeld, indicating you were standing to the side. Remember being asked those questions and giving those answers?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Mr. Rosenfeld continued. Question: How much of his right side did you see with his hand in his pocket? Could you still see it? Answer: No. How much — Question: How much did he turn? Answer: Like, how I am. Question: You’re saying his side was to the police officers? Answer: Right. Yes. Question: What side of him were you looking at? What part of him could you see? Answer: This side. Mr. Rosenfeld, indicating the left side. Remember being asked those questions and giving those answers?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    And then, he said, "OK, and is that when you heard the word?" — meaning the word “gun,” and your answer was yes.

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Remember being asked those questions and giving those answers?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    So, as you remembered it a year ago, the man turned in a counterclockwise direction with his left side facing the police officers who were on the sidewalk, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    And that’s when you heard the word “gun,” correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    And that’s when the shooting started, correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

AMY GOODMAN:

Schrrie Elliott is the only known eyewitness to the shooting. She has been deemed adverse witness by the defense. They originally brought her on to shore up their case. Then she said that Amadou Diallo was down through most of the shooting. Now she is being questioned by James Culleton, an attorney for one of the police officers.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Now, last week in the trial, Mr. Levin asked you some questions. Page 13 — 1 — 1319, beginning on line 2. Remember being asked this question last week by Mr. Levin? Question: And when they shot him, he fell down immediately, right? Answer: Yes. Remember being asked that question by Mr. Levin and giving that answer?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Is that — is that what happened?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Now, you were also asked questions last week by me, where you indicated what — that when he fell down, he fell on his back. Remember being asked that question and giving that answer?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    That’s what you saw? You could see him on his back. You testified to that last week. Correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    And I believe you told us last week that when you saw him on his back, his head was in the upper left-hand corner as you look into the vestibule and his feet were facing —

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    The right, bottom.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    Excuse me?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    The bottom to the right.

    JAMES CULLETON:

    The bottom on the right-hand side. Correct?

    SCHRRIE ELLIOTT:

    Yes.

AMY GOODMAN:

You’re listening to defense attorney James Culleton, who is the attorney for Richard Murphy, one of the four police officers of the New York City Police Department who are charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Amadou Diallo. We are live in the courtroom in Albany, New York, but have to wrap up the show for our national audience, though on Pacifica Station WBAI in New York, we’ll be continuing throughout the day.

Again, Schrrie Elliott, the only known eyewitness in the shooting, started testifying last week, did little to help the officers’ case, as their defense began on Wednesday. She may have even hurt their case. The defense had hoped that Elliott would corroborate the defense’s claims that one of the police officers cried "gun" before the gunfire started. The lawyers had hoped she would support the officers’ claims that they reasonably feared for their lives when they followed — fired on Diallo, but things did not quite work out that way.

Today she is being confronted with her grand jury testimony, as well as an interview she did with a local reporter in New York on WNBC soon after the shooting of February 4th, 1999, and being asked to explain some contradictions. But she has yet to say that she heard any of the police officers, though she is now saying she heard them say “gun” — she has yet to say that she heard any of them identify themselves or warn Amadou Diallo before they opened fire.

Again, James Culleton, who represents Richard Murphy, the defense attorney — Richard Murphy is the police officer who fired the least number of shots — that’s four bullets. And so far it has been said that those four bullets did not penetrate Amadou Diallo, raising some interesting questions about whether he can be charged with the murder, though it is believed that because he was part of the group of people who killed Amadou Diallo, that, if found guilty, he would be found guilty as an accessory and charged with the same charges.

Well, that does it for today’s program. We started the show by talking about another of the police officers, Kenneth Boss, and whether, when he testifies — and by the way, all four police officers are expected to testify; it may be even as early as today — whether his previous shootings will be brought in. And so, we spoke with Mr. Lloyd Bailey, who’s the father of Patrick Bailey, who was shot and killed by Kenneth Boss in 1997.

Before we go, I wanted to give out the phone number of Charles Baron, the family spokesperson, because this is a case I believe you’re going to begin to hear about, even nationally, because when Kenneth Boss testifies, they will be in Albany holding a news conference. Charles Baron.

CHARLES BARON:

You can call us at (718) 722-7604.

AMY GOODMAN:

A little slower?

CHARLES BARON:

(718) 722-7604. And we’ll be there in force when Mr. Boss takes the stand.

AMY GOODMAN:

And you’re calling for the Brooklyn District Attorney to reopen —

CHARLES BARON:

Not the District Attorney. The US attorney —

AMY GOODMAN:

The US attorney.

CHARLES BARON:

—- to convene a civil rights grand jury to reopen the case and look at civil rights violations, because, you know, we’re outraged that it cannot be submit -— and I heard them say that this is not — the defendants are not treated like this, but when you go in the black community and black defendants are on, they bring in the background, and these folk are not above the law.

AMY GOODMAN:

Well, New York State Supreme Court Justice Teresi has said that the background can’t be brought in, but if the defense opens the way with comments they make, they might be able to bring it in.

CHARLES BARON:

Yeah, I understand that, but I’m saying that it is brought in with black defendants in black communities.

AMY GOODMAN:

Well, that does it for today’s program. Charles Baron and Lloyd Bailey, thank you very much for joining us. We’ll be going live to the courtroom each day if the trial occurs during the broadcast of Democracy Now!

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