Nearly a year after New York City police killed an unarmed West African immigrant in a hail of 41 bullets, jury selection in their case got under way this morning in an Albany court.
The 12 jurors and four alternates who are ultimately chosen will have to decide if the four white officers accused of shooting Amadou Diallo, a black man, are guilty of murder.
While potential jurors were being screened by Justice Joseph Teresi and attorneys inside the third-floor courtroom, a demonstration was under way outside the courthouse. A hundred protesters who had traveled from Harlem to Albany by bus chanted "Amadou, we love you" and "No justice, no peace."
With the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has repeatedly said the case is an example of racist police brutality, Diallo's parents stood grim-faced before the protesters.
In a surprise decision last month, an appeals court moved the racially charged case to the state capital, agreeing with the defense that pretrial publicity and protests in New York had made it impossible for the officers to get a fair trial there.