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Protests in Boston, New York Arise After Verdict in Slaying

By Michael Borucke

Protests rocked the nation last week after four New York City police officers implicated in the death of Amadou Diallo were acquitted.

In Boston, outraged citizens gathered at Government Center to protest the acquittals. Speakers at the rally expressed their “disgust at the unjust verdict” and at a “racist judicial system.”

In protest of the verdicts, many protesters raised their wallets, something which Diallo allegedly did before he was shot. The rally culminated in a march through downtown Boston.

Another protest occurred last Wednesday in New York after 23-year-old Malcolm Ferguson was killed by Louis Rivera, a New York police officer. Residents in the surrounding area, still upset over the verdict, were confronted by a squadron of police officers wearing helmets and riot gear.

Many of the protesters linked this recent shooting with the death of Diallo. Prior to his death, Ferguson attended the rally against the Diallo verdict, and was arrested along with dozens of others.

The NYPD’s description of Ferguson’s death stated that five plain clothes police officers were driving by a building noted for drug deals when “movement in the hallway” aroused their suspicion. Upon closer investigation, the officers observed three men in the midst of a drug deal.

The officers then allegedly flashed their badges at the men. Ferguson supposedly fled up the stairs, pursued by Rivera. After a scuffle on an upper floor, Ferguson was shot once in the face at point blank range. Although Ferguson possessed no weapon, six packages of heroin were found on his body.

During the riot, two protesters were arrested for throwing bottles at the police. News of this demonstration generated a pointed response from New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who said the shooting death of Ferguson was “a totally different situation” than the shooting death of Diallo.

While Diallo had no arrest record, Ferguson has been arrested nine times, with six of those arrests being drug-related. Reports indicate that the police did not know of Ferguson’s history when they shot him.

Giuliani asked the citizens of New York to give the officers the benefit of the doubt. “I would think if we can’t support our police officers in a situation like this, we can’t support our police officers ever,” he said.