Zongo Killer Cop Walks

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Killer NYPD police officer Brian Conroy is at home with his family. Ousmane Zongo’s wife and other relatives are back by his graveside back in Africa. Conroy killed Zongo two years ago after an unprovoked struggle. Yet, not a day in jail will the 27-year-old white ex-cop spend.

In what is a prime example of a text book definition of contradiction, Judge Robert Straus of State Supreme Court here in New York, told Conroy in front of a packed and breathless courtroom Friday: “Jail is not appropriate in this case.� The judge knew well that Ousmane Zongo would never hear those words. Straus slapped Conroy on the wrist with probation.

“The policeman killed my nephew, and they convict him and he's going free,� said stunned Mohamed Dibassy, Zongo’s uncle. Retired detective Marq Claxton, spokesman for the group 100 Blacks In Law Enforcement Who Care was disgusted: “He should have been convicted of manslaughter. He got negligent homicide, no jail time, and he still wants to appeal?�

Judge Strauss claimed inadequate police department training and supervision led to Conroy’s shooting death of Zongo. The judge spent an hour criticizing the police department. He blamed the NYPD, saying Conroy was “insufficiently trained, insufficiently supervised, insufficiently led on the day in question, by people who had the responsibility to make sure he did nothing but protect and serve rather than end up taking a life.â€? Eric Adams, who heads 100 Blacks, retorted:   “Black robes seem to be co-conspirators with those wearing blue uniforms. You can’t hide behind inadequate training.â€?

Zongo's widow, Salimata Sanfo, in a heart-wrenching letter to Judge Strauss had outlined the difficulty she has trying to explain to her two young children, Fataw, 7, and Fadilatou, 5, how their father had been killed in America; clearly, it was to no avail. Straus did have a sympathetic ear to Officer Conroy’s tearful plea when he begged that he be allowed to go home to his wife and five-month-old son.

“You will recognize every day that you took a life that shouldn't have been taken,� Straus admonished Conroy, building up expectations of many who believe officers can kill Black men with impunity. Then the judge let Conroy walk.

“This is the most hypocritical statement from the bench since State Supreme Court judge Gerald Sheindlin, ruled that there was ‘a nest of perjury’ in the Francis Livoti case of the killing of Anthony Baez,� said Claxton. “Judge Straus was trying to stay as ambiguous as possible when he said that there were problems with the police department operation, and he said that Conroy lacked time on the job, yet he was still not going to send him to jail for killing an innocent man.� He added: “The Department of Justice needs to appoint a monitor for the New York Police Department.�

“It can’t just end in the courtroom,� declared famed Attorney

Michael Hardy. “There must be some capturing of power that leads to legislative changes creating laws with teeth to dole out suitable penalties for overseers of a system which does not shield the people from those paid to protect and serve.�

The Zongo family’s co-counsel Sandford Rubenstein said that Straus’
verbal assault on the police department sets the family in good stead with their multi-million dollar civil lawsuit against the City.

The NYPD through spokesman Paul J. Browne claims it’s now instituted policy changes since the Zongo killing, an assertion dismissed by 100 Blacks.

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