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N.Y. AGREES TO PAY VICTIM’S FAMILY $3M New York City on Tuesday agreed to pay $3 million to the parents of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed immigrant who was killed in a hail of police gunfire in 1999. Anthony Gair of Gair, Gair, Conason, Steigman & MacKauf, who represented Diallo’s mother, Kadiatou Diallo, said the settlement is “most definitely the highest in New York” under the state’s wrongful death statute for a person in circumstances analogous to Diallo’s. Diallo was single, not supporting any dependents and earning less than $10,000 at the time of his fatal encounter with four undercover police officers in front of his Bronx apartment shortly before 1 a.m. on Feb. 4, 1999. A more typical settlement for someone killed in Diallo’s circumstances would be an award of about $275,000, Gair said. Recovery in a state wrongful death action is limited to the pecuniary losses suffered by the dead person’s heirs. Where death is instantaneous, as it was in the case of Diallo, who was felled by 41 bullets, recovery for pain and suffering is limited. The city’s generosity with Diallo’s parents showed that the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg “was willing to make amends and admit responsibility for what happened to Amadou Diallo, unlike the prior administration,” Gair said. The four police officers who shot Diallo — Sean Carroll, Edward McMellon, Kenneth Boss and Richard Murphy — were acquitted of all criminal charges in a trial conducted in Albany in 2000. The officers had contended that Diallo was behaving suspiciously when they spotted him on the stoop of his building. The officers testified that they thought Diallo met the general description of a serial rapist who remained at large. Rather than complying with their demands, the officers asserted, Diallo ran into the vestibule of his building and pulled what they thought was a gun out of his pocket. Instead, it turned out, he was holding his wallet. — The New York Law Journal

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