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#2978: NY Mayor Softens Tone on Shooting by Police (fwd)


Friday March 24 6:04 PM ET 
 NY Mayor Softens Tone on Shooting by Police ____By Grant McCool

 NEW YORK (Reuters) - Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, criticized as being
insensitive over last week's fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by
police, softened his tone somewhat on Friday, acknowledging the incident
was ``legitimate cause for concern.'' Haitian-American Patrick Dorismond
was shot in the chest in a scuffle with an undercover narcotics officer
in the early hours of March 16 outside a Manhattan bar. Key political
figures, including some supporters, have criticized Giuliani after he
 took the unusual step of releasing Dorismond's minor criminal record
and for failing to express sympathy to the bereaved family.

Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, on a visit to Harlem Thursday, said
Giuliani, ``is acting like a disturbed person.'' Giuliani is the
Republican candidate for a U.S. Senate seat against first lady Hillary
Rodham  Clinton in the November election.While addressing concerns
Friday about the third fatal shooting by police of an unarmed black man
in 13 months, Giuliani also pointed to a little-publicized statistic
that police shootings in New York were fewer than other major cities in
 the United States last year. ``Even if I am being accused of being
insensitive about it, and I do all the time, we have to deal with the
truth,'' Giuliani said on his weekly WABC Radio address ``Live From City
Hall ...With Rudy Giuliani.'' He cited statistics for 1999 that per
1,000 police officers the number of fatal shootings in Miami was 3; in
Washington D.C. it was 1.1, in Philadelphia it was 1, in Chicago it was
0.96, in Dallas it was 0.35 and in New York City it was 0.28.
 The three shootings occurred in different circumstances, but civil
rights activists and many residents drew parallels between them,
throwing the national spotlight on allegations of police brutality and
``stop-and-frisk'' tactics that minority communities say amount to
racial profiling. ``It is a cause of concern for some people, legitimate
concern for some people and a cause of political exploitation by some
people and sometimes its difficult to distinguish one and the other,''
Giuliani said. ``I want to assure you that I do distinguish between the
two.'' Dorismond, son of popular Haitian singer Andre Dorismond, was to
be buried Saturday. Of the two other shootings the most charged was the
Feb. 4, 1999 killing of African immigrant Amadou Diallo in a hail of 41
bullets in the Bronx. In another shooting on March 1 in the Bronx, a
plainclothes officer shot and killed Malcolm Ferguson, an unarmed man
who had several drug dealing convictions.