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The defendants brighten up in their cheap suits; their unindicted, uniformed brethren let out a gasp. Not even the African Americans chanting "no justice, no peace" in the snowy park across the street from the county courthouse truly believe that these four officers deliberately murdered Amadou Diallo. This was a colossal fuckup caused by incompetent, poorly trained police officers packing far too much firepower. Go to the firing range sometime; you'll see. A 9mm squeezes off a dozen shots effortlessly. Diallo might still have been shot during the old .38 days, but he might have made it to the hospital alive. If the jury convicts at all, it won't be for murder. And if there's any justice at all, shouting "He's got a gun!" when you've never been more wrong about anything will carry a much harsher sentence than opening fire after hearing your partner shout such a warning.
For the first time in weeks the defense team susses out the jury's surly mood and rests without calling their previously scheduled expert on sight-line perspectives and perceptions. In the spirit of this fuck-the-trial moment, the D.A. turns down a chance to cross-examine the world's most boring human being. And just like that, it's sorta over: Closing arguments are scheduled for Tuesday, February 22.
The jurors, regardless of race, break out into wide smiles. We spectators can hardly believe it. School's out, and we head downstairs past the row of metal detectors in the lobby to relish an unexpected snow day. A young black woman wearing a "Justice for Amadou" badge, who will say only that her name is Kelly, tells me that the four cops deserve to walk free.
I'm stunned. "Really? How come?" I ask.
"Anyone who can sit through a month of that boring shit has suffered enough."
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