Kenneth Boss, one of the officers who fired 41 shots at Amadou Diallo on Feb. 4, 1999, is getting a promotion.
Diallo, a street vendor, was unarmed when he encountered four plain-clothed police officers outside his apartment building. While they claimed he reached for a weapon, after firing dozens of bullets, the officers realized the West African immigrant was merely trying to grab his wallet. Diallo was hit 19 times.
Boss fired five bullets at Diallo, and is the only officer involved in the incident who still remains on the force. Now, he’s a sergeant.
Diallo’s mother, Kadiatou Diallo, called the move a “stab in the heart.”
“You have so many police officers out there who deserve to be promoted, and this man is being promoted?” she said in the New York Daily News.
“For doing what? Killing my son? I don’t have any hatred or revenge in my heart, but my life was changed forever that day. This is a stab in the heart.”
According to NYPD officials, Boss’ promotion is mandated solely by department policy and did not need to be reviewed or approved.
Reverend Al Sharpton, who led citywide protests and served as an advisor to Diallo’s family after his death, called the promotion “disgraceful.”
“I think it’s disgraceful and sends the wrong signal at a time when nationwide we are raising the question of police reform,” he said.
“This was one of the most obvious cases of police brutality,” Sharpton continued. “He could have been thrown off the force immediately after it happened.”
Shapton is planning to organize a rally outside of police headquarters, but Diallo’s mother, who has been outspoken about police brutality since her son’s tragic death, thinks Boss’ fellow officers should object to his promotion.
“Members of the NYPD should come out and say something against this,” Kadiatou Diallo said. “If they are brave enough, they will stand up for what’s right.”