Time and again his police officers would ride through certain neighborhoods, stopping and questioning young men, often without real cause, generally Black and Latino men.
Then came that night when four officers came upon a young African immigrant trying to get into his apartment in the Bronx.
Amadou Diallo [photo], armed with little more than his wallet, became target practice for the officers, all white, who said they saw him as a danger. Forty one bullets were fired.
Hard to believe that it happened ten years ago, but it's true. The family and activists are now celebrating the decennial of an event that shook the city.
The outrage peaked a number of months later, when the courts allowed the case to be transfered upstate, saying the officers could not get a fair trial in the Bronx or elsewhere in the city.
More perhaps than any other incident, the killing of Diallo propelled the Rev. Al Sharpton on a course toward credibility among many who looked at him with suspicious eyes, given his, well, shady background.
But there he was, back ten years, leading Ed Koch and David Dinkins and others in an updated civil disobedience campaign, protesting the action of the Giuliani police officers.
Defended always by Giuliani, the officers were set free and went about their lives, as the mother of Amadou Diallo -- the long-suffering Kadiatou Diallo -- and the father Sekou Diallo continued to seek redress of their painful grievance.
Here catch an obviously pained Sekou Diallo speaking at a rally (followed by Sharpton) after the announcement that the trial would be transferred upstate.