Today we begin a series of shows focusing on Art and Revolution with Hulbert Waldroupe, an artist who recently weekunveiled a mural in honor of Amadou Diallo. Diallo, a 22-year old vendor from West Africa, was gunned down by fourpolicemen in a hail of 41 bullets two years ago.
Only last week New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik announced that the four officers would not bedisciplined. He based his decision on the findings of two police panels which concluded that the fatal shooting wasa mistake. But though the officers were cleared of wrongdoing, Kerik said they will be assigned desk jobs, withoutguns or badges, for an unspecified period of time. Diallo’s parents expressed anguish over the exoneration of thefour cops. Diallo’s mother, Kadiatou, said: “Whoever said [the cops] have done nothing wrong, they are wrong.” Shesaid, “I am saying to Mayor Giuliani the decision is wrong, I am saying to the police commissioner the decision iswrong… let’s make changes to prevent this from happening again.”
Like the case itself, the mural has stirred controversy. Painted on a storefront in the Bronx, the right side of themural is occupied by a large portrait of Diallo. To Diallo’s left are the four police officers, who are wearing KuKlux Klan hoods. In the middle is a statue of liberty, who holds aloft a gun and stands amid skulls. An Americanflag burns in the background, and across the top reads the mural’s title, “The American Dream.”
Within about an hour of the unveiling, a crowd of around 250 had gathered, and four police cars arrived. Policeasked Waldroupe to paint over it but he refused. Last Friday, someone painted out the police officers. Waldrouperestored the mural within hours.
- Hulbert Waldroupe, the artist who painted the Diallo mural.