Yesterday afternoon, the jury deliberating the manslaughter case of Officer Bryan Conroy's fatal shooting of African immigrant Ousmane Zongo announced they were deadlocked again, declaring a mistrial. In May 2003, Zongo had been restoring art in one of the storage rooms at the Chelsea mini-storage; Conroy was working a sting operation there as well. They confronted each other in the dark, twisting warrens of the storage facility and what exactly happened has been at the heart of the trial: Did Conroy jump the gun by shooting Zongo? Did Zongo reach for Conroy's gun? The NY Times has some very interesting quotes from jurors, like "The majority of us thought he made an error in judgment. We feel on that day he acted unreasonably in causing the death of Mr. Zongo." and "I feel badly for him. I don't believe he's a horrible person. I don't believe he's a racist. He made a reckless mistake, but I respect the other jurors for their opinions, too." Plus, it turns out that the majority thought Conroy was guilty, with only one holdout, when the jury was deadlocked last Friday; then, another person joined the holdout.
Neither side is happy with the verdict, as the D.A.'s office will be trying Conroy again. Zongo's widow, who filed a $150 million civil suit against the city, was upset, but said she was angry at Conroy only, not the NYPD as a whole.
Photo by Bebeto Matthews/AP