Date: May 2003
Ousmane Zongo, a BurkinabĂ¨ arts trader who was residing in New York, was accidentally shot and killed during a police raid at a Manhattan warehouse. Police were investigating a CD and DVD pirating operation at the location where Zongo, 43, happened to repair art and musical instruments (ultimately, the location was never linked to the pirating scheme). Disguised as a postal worker, Officer Brian Conroy was monitoring a bin of CDs when he saw Zongo turn on a light. A chase ensued, and when Zongo came to a dead end, Conroy shot him four times, two of the shots hitting him in the back. Zongo left behind a widow and two small children.
Conroy was tried twice for killing Zongo; a mistrial was declared for the manslaughter charges, but he was convicted of criminally negligent homicide, sentenced to 5 years probation and 500 hours of community service. He was also fired from the department. In July 2006, Zongo's family received a $3 million settlement in a suit they filed against the city. They called the money an apology for his death. NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said that, in the wake of Zongo's murder, the department reinforced department-wide training for plainclothes officers to ensure that they underwent "rigorous" instruction prior to being deployed.