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CNN Today

Jury Deliberates Fate of Police Charged in Diallo Case

Aired February 24, 2000 - 2:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: A jury is back at work trying to decide whether four New York City police officers should go to prison or go home to their families. The officers are white. The man they shot and killed in a volley of gun fire, Amadou Diallo, was black and unarmed. Jurors are weighing the defense claim the officers thought Diallo was armed, that he had a gun, and the prosecution's contention that police opened fire because of racial stereotypes.

CNN's Maria Hinojosa is covering that trial up in Albany, New York.

Where are we, Maria?

MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, the jury should be returning from lunch just about right now to resume their deliberations. They started at 9:15 this morning. Before they broke for lunch, they asked the judge to read for them the definition of manslaughter one. This is a complicated case. You have four officers with a total of 24 charges, and the counts and charges include: The first count is the most serious one, which is intentional murder, which means that the officers deliberately, and without justification, fired on Amadou Diallo and killed him. The second count is murder with depraved indifference, that the police acted recklessly and with disregard for human life and caused Diallo to die.

The lesser included offenses would begin with first-degree manslaughter, when a person intends to seriously injure someone and actually causes their death. Second-degree manslaughter, that with recklessness and ignoring the risk of death, a person causes the death of another. Then, finally, criminally negligent homicide, when a person fails to see in their actions the risk of death. And, finally, reckless endangerment: That would be endangering the welfare of innocent bystanders.

Meanwhile, in the Bronx, there was a peaceful rally and prayer demonstration yesterday, the people asking for calm no matter what the verdict may be; once again, Amadou Diallo's mother making it clear that she wants nothing but peace and unity among the races no matter what the outcome of this racially charged case might be, so that, in her words, there will be "no more Amadou Diallos."

Back here in Albany, the judge has ordered the jury to continue deliberating, if it takes that long, up until 11:00 p.m. tonight.

Reporting live from Albany, Maria Hinojosa, CNN.

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