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Astor Place guard named for cousin, tragic victim of ’99 police shooting

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Amadou Diallo works days as a security guard at the Chase bank at Astor Place and Lafayette Street.

The name might sound familiar. An immigrant from the African country of Guinea, he said he is, in fact, named after a cousin who was killed in a well-known, tragic New York City incident 24 years ago. His namesake was wrongfully gunned down by police in the Bronx, in a case of wild overreaction.

Also a Guinean immigrant, the elder Amadou Diallo hawked videos and socks for a living on E. 14th Street near First Avenue. Early on the morning of Feb. 4, 1999, that Diallo was returning home from a meal when a group of undercover Street Crime officers rolled up on him. They were searching for an armed serial rapist.

The undercovers ordered him to show his hands. He retreated up his stoop and reached for his wallet. Fearing Diallo was going for a gun, an officer opened fire, causing himself to stumble backward off the stairs and fall. In further panic and chaos, the other police also started shooting. The vendor was horrifically cut down in a hail of 41 bullets.

But the innocent victim’s name and spirit live on in the East Village, in the guardian of the Chase bank.

This Amadou Diallo, who is an American citizen, lives in the Bronx with his wife, Wada, and their kids, who attend public school. In his current job, he said he enjoys meeting “people from all over the world” who use the bank branch.

As for his slain relative, he referred to him as a “martyr.”

In an e-mail in early July, Diallo said, “I love New York. Back in Guinea, I did teach students I.T. computer science, the occupation I hope to return to doing here in America. Recently, my family and myself observed our Muslim holiday Eid. And today, as I write this, we are celebrating the Fourth of July. Happy independence, everyone.”

More recently Diallo e-mailed The Village Sun excitedly, “The Astor Place revolving CUBE is back on site!”

Tony Rosenthal’s famed “The Alamo” sculpture a.k.a. “The Cube” was restored to the plaza outside the bank this week after a stint in the repair shop to fix its damaged spinning mechanism.


  1. Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz July 23, 2023

    The horrific police killing of the elder Amadou Diallo was obviously tragic for him and his loved ones. I fail to understand why anyone would want to bear his name. He was a victim of an utterly stupid and racist attack by jittery cops. I’m generally not superstitious but such a name could bring bad luck.Hope I’m wrong.

  2. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg July 23, 2023

    The police murder of Amadou Diallo was not “tragic” but CRIMINAL. Not an act of God, but a crime and human rights atrocity.

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