Criminal Justice Bias Essay

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The killing of the two black American young men Amadou Diallo and Louima were separated by about two years but Amadou's killing happened just before the trial of Louima's case. Amadou's killing drew a lot of public interest that was focused on the conduct of the New York Police. It was the only such heated debate since the Knapp commission of the 70s which disclosed corruption in the police department. Amadou was from a middle class family that migrated from Guinea. They were engaged in simple trade activities including selling items on the streets. Amadou was shot 41 times in his apartment house in Bronx. His life was brought to an end by a special crimes unit of a group of four policemen operating under cover. It is a New York born strategy for combating aggressive crime (Harring & Ray, 1999). There is no doubt that a crime was indeed committed.

The Theory of Criminal Behavior Related to the Selected Case

Crime, its practice and existence is perceived through the social construction of criminality and the factors that make it happen. According to the traditional theories in sociology, crime was caused by lack of norms. This was immersed in a feeling of lacking the desired social connectedness. The term anomie was commonly used to refer to this scenario. It was further popularized by Emile Durkhein (1897). He also used the term to describe suicide. Sociologists refined the definition of the term to refer to a state of lacking social conscience because one is disconnected. They also described it as criminality that possibly emanates from lack of hope to achieve one's aspirations. It is, therefore, safe and logical to say that criminality thrives on the premise that we have failed to socialize our children. It is also predominant because of lack of social opportunities for certain groups or sheer differences in the same. According to Durkheim, crime was a necessary evil in society. He advocated that crime should only be kept within reasonable boundaries (Seiken, 2016).

One outstanding feature of sociological theories is that crime is constructed by society. Society also holds some behavior as criminal in nature but they do not cause harm to anyone. Thus such behaviors are made criminal without sufficient supporting reasons. These crimes are commonly referred to as victimless crimes. Examples of such crimes include drug abuse, prostitution and the like. Therefore, according to this view, the entire society is engaged in the act of breaking the law at one point or another. One possible policy from sociological grounding would be to decriminalize the victimless crimes, if not drastically reducing their penalties (Schur, 1965).

The Biases and Assumptions that Influenced Participants in the Case Process


There was a federal organized investigation launched to probe the tactics of the aggressive tactics applied by the street crimes unit. Proponents of the unit claimed that the unit had helped New York to get rid of thousands of guns from the streets.
They pointed to the statistics that showed that the strategy had helped reduce violent crime in the Bronx and Northern Manhattan. The U.S. attorney's office ignored these claims. Following the legislation, in 1992, that was passed following the beating of Rodney King in los Angeles, the staff of the attorney's office sought to establish whether the police deprived African-Americans and Hispanics of their rights in the stop and frisk procedures. All the data including that of complaints and arrest incidents was turned over by the state. However, more recent data following police changes in procedures since Diallo's killing was withheld.


Dialo's case was marred by, arguably, the most bizarre evidence and conduct of the prosecution. The prosecution even declined to cross examine the final defense witness. The prosecution made no effort to rebut any evidence presented by the defense witness who claimed that the police did nothing wrong in the eyes of the law.

It was not hard to understand the behavior of the prosecution in light of the possible cover-up tactics that they used before. Incidents such as the sodomizing of Abner Louima in the bathroom of the station house in Brooklyn, the choking of Antony Baez after he hit a police cruiser with his football in the Bronx all pointed to the reasons why the prosecution could afford to behave the way they did in Diallo's case.

The four cops were guilty because of their activities within the Street Crimes Unit. It was possible to co-accuse the whole administration of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as conspirators towards the killing of Diallo. The huff in the so called fight against crime including criminalizing the poor and racial profiling of Hispanic and black youths and workers has become a norm, and is the root of Dialo's murder. Of course the role of the District attorney was not cut out to expose its systemic errors because it represents it. The victim of the case was dead. His killers had a field day in court because they faced no opposition.

Defense Attorney

The accused officers acknowledged having shot Mr. Diallo by mistake. The lawyers for the defense exploited the opportunity to make the testimony of the officers the central focus of the case by explaining that the officers had good reason to believe that Diallo was reaching for a gun. One of the Officers, Carrol in particular, reported having wept after he realized his mistake and moved to hold Diallo as he died from the gunshots. The defense lawyers laid blame on the victim, claiming that he had shown suspicious behavior and had refused to….....

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Editorial Board. (2000, February 28). Acquittal of New York City police: court sanctions murder of Amadou Diallo. Retrieved from World Socialist Web Site:

Durkheim, E. (1897). Suicide: A study in sociology. New York: The Free Press.

Fritsck, J. (2000, February 26). The Diallo Verdict The Overview; 4 Officers in Diallo Shooting are Aquitted of all Charges. Retrieved from NY Times:

Goldman, J. J. (2000, February 26). 4 White Officers Are Acquitted in Death of Diallo. Retrieved from Los Angeles Times:

Harring, S. L., & Ray, G. W. (1999). Policing a Class Society: New York City in the 1990s. Social Justice Summer, 26, 63.

Marsh, J. (2015, April 28). Can We Reduce Bias in Criminal Justice? Retrieved from Greater Good:

Mazelis, F. (2000, February 22). Amadou Diallo murder trial drawing to a close. Retrieved from World Socialist Web Site:

Schur, E. (1965). Crime without victims. Englewood: Cliffs.

Seiken. (2016, July 15). Three Theories of Criminal Behavior. Retrieved from Owlcation:

Weller, S. (2016). The Shooter. Retrieved from New York Media LLC:

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