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Jury selection for the Ousmane Zongo manslaughter case against police officer Bryan Conroy started yesterday. In May 2003, Conroy was undercover in the Chelsea Mini Storage for a counterfeit CD sting. Zongo, an African immigrant, had been working in the storage facility, restoring African art stored there. When Conroy and Zongo approached each other in the dim, twisting hallways of the mini storage, it's unclear exactly what happened except that Conroy shot and killed the unarmed Zongo. Conroy claims that Zongo had lunged for his gun repeatedly, but prosecutors have argued that Conroy used excessive force; when police shot Amadou Diallo 41 times, mistaking him for a criminal, the relationship between New Yorkers and police was at an all time recent low. The NY Times does point out that the there were many factors involved: Zongo didn't understand much English; Conroy was a rookie cop; the mini storage was so dark; Conroy didn't know that other civilians were still in the facility.

Zongo's family has also filed a $150 million civil suit against the city for wrongful death. A translator for Zongo's widow said that while she's angry and upset, "She believes in American justice, that justice will be done."

Gothamist wrote about the shooting in 2003 and the description of the mini storage is indeed scary.