Vigil marks 25 years since Amadou Diallo was shot and killed by NYPD officers
Saturday marked almost 25 years since NYPD officers shot and killed Amadou Diallo in the Soundview section of the Bronx.
His mother, Kadiatou Diallo, family members, faith leaders and elected officials gathered for a vigil to remember and celebrate his life.
On Feb. 4, 1999, four plainclothes NYPD officers shot at 23-year-old Diallo 41 times, killing him.
The officers claimed Diallo was reaching for a firearm, but he was reaching for his wallet, according to an investigation. The officers were charged with second-degree murder and were later acquitted.
"The way he was portrayed in the media, was heartbreaking for me. I had to find my voice and speak for him because he was no longer here to speak for himself. To give him back his identity, his story so people know who Amadou was,” Kadiatou Diallo said.
Amadou Diallo migrated to the United States from New Guinea. He spoke five languages and his mother said he had a passion to give back, learn and help those in need.
"Mom, I made it into college" Kadiatou Diallo said were her son's last words that he told her.
Almost 25 years ago, protests filled the streets demanding justice for Amadou. On Saturday, Wheeler Avenue was filled with residents and families who have been impacted by gun violence.
Kadiatou Diallo said she has turned her pain into purpose, now serving those in need through the Amadou Diallo Foundation.
"We give scholarships, and we have educational forums. I also have a school that we started in New Guinea to bring computer literacy for young people back home," she said.
Kadiatou Diallo said that this is the last year a vigil will be held in her son's honor. She said, however, if she is around to see the year that will mark 41 years since her son's death, she will make her way back to Wheeler Avenue to reflect on 41 years for the 41 shots that killed her son.