Kenneth Boss, one of the police officer’s involved in the 1999 shooting of unarmed Guinean immigrant Amadou Diallo, will be honored as “Sergeant of the Year” at the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association.
Diallo was reaching for his wallet in a dark apartment building when he was shot 41 times. Boss fired 5 of the 41 shots that ended in Diallo’s untimely death. In the years since his death, Diallo has remained one of the primary names associated with the movement against state sanctioned police violence against black people.
Boss and the other officers were eventually acquitted in the shooting. But while the other officers left the NYPD, Boss stayed and served on desk duty. At the end of 2015 he was promoted to Sergeant. Not very many people were happy about his promotion and there was an outcry when it was announced. Diallo’s mother was offended by the announcement.
“You have so many police officers out there who deserve to be promoted, and this man is being promoted?” said Diallo’s mother Kadiatou Diallo. “This is a stab in the heart.”
Sergeant Boss now works with the NYPD Aviation unit and is one of eight NYPD sergeants receiving the award on Tuesday. This honor is largely due to his actions in repelling from a helicopter to rescue a couple who had been stranded on a small island overnight.
The couple who were rescued, Jenny Ly (50) and Kevin Huynh (52) said that they had never heard of the Diallo case and were just glad to see Boss after being trapped on the island.
“He was very nice! First he came down and he asked me, ‘Are you OK? Do you need any medical attention?’” Ly told the NY Daily News. “He said, ‘You don’t need to do anything. Let me do all the work. Just hold my arm.’”
With this updated news of another honor for Boss, Diallo’s mother expressed though he’ll always be apart of her son’s killing, she hopes he continues moving forward.
“For the rest of his life, whatever else [Boss] does, he’ll be remembered as one of the officers involved with Amadou. I pray for healing. I wish for him to move on in a constructive way, to do good, and that is what he is doing.”
Below is a picture of Boss during the 1999 court case.