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So that's why she wasn't arrested?

In the wake of the disastrous WCBS-2 Andrew Kirtzman interview on Sunday, Virginia Fields went on NY1 Tuesday night looking for soft-ball questions from The Road to City Hall's Dominic Carter.

Contrary to Kirtzman, Carter seemed to readily accept Fields' odd explanation that while she never said the Diallo shooting was a crime, she always thought in her own mind that it was.

While Carter did raise the same issues raised by Kirtzman and Wayne Barrett (Village Voice), he didn't press her or scrutinize her explanations as to why she wasn't arrested in 1999 when many other elected officials and activists were submitting themselves for arrest.

She stated it was "my choice" not to be arrested as it conjured up memories of her being arrested as a teenager in the South in the 1960's, but that she was otherwise active -- participating in rallies and going to Albany for the Diallo trial after it was transferred out of the Bronx.

While Carter was just lapping the blather up, he failed to recognize the incongruity of Fields' remarks. As long as she puts forth her arrest as a teenager as one of her qualifications to be the next New York City mayor, voters should question why she shied away from being one of approximately 1,200 people arrested during the Diallo protests. Surely, it wouldn't be fear of torture or confinement; protesters were routinely being given Desk Appearance Tickets (DAT) and most of the charges were ultimately dropped. At most, it would have been an inconvenience. She could have sent a powerful message that many others -- David Dinkins, Charles Rangel, Gregory Meeks, Nydia Velazquez, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee and Freddy Ferrer -- sent. But as she said last night, it was her choice not to take the elevator to Police Plaza.

If Virginia Fields cites her participation in the 1960's Civil Rights movement, but in 1999 refused to stick her neck out for a just cause, and has such a measly explanation for it in 2005, what should voters think about her principles?

And that's what this is really all about ... whether or not C. Virginia Fields is a principled person, or just an opportunist seeking relief from term-limits.

To see how the other 1,200 were treated, click below.

New York to dismiss Diallo protest arrest cases

April 5, 1999 -- More than 1,000 people arrested while protesting the killing of African immigrant Amadou Diallo can expect to have their cases dismissed.

Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morganthau has decided to make a motion to dismiss all 1,175 cases this Wednesday, according to his spokeswoman, Barbara Thompson.

During 15 weekdays last month, protesters blocked the entrance or lobby to the New York Police Department headquarters and were arrested for disorderly conduct or trespassing.

"While the demonstrators did commit minor violations of law, the demonstrations were nonviolent, and they caused neither personal injury or damage to property," said Thompson, explaining the rationale for the dismissals.

The arrests were essentially by appointment, with lawyers for the activists handing over lists of volunteers planning to be arrested.

The demonstrators had been complaining about four police officers who shot at the unarmed Diallo 41 times on February 4, striking with 19 bullets and killing him in the vestibule of his Bronx apartment building.

When the demonstrations started, the officers had neither been formally interrogated nor arrested by authorities. The officers have since been indicted for murder, causing the protests to stop.

The first of the arrest cases is scheduled to be heard Wednesday in the city's summons court, a forum for violations less than a misdemeanor. These charges, no more serious than a traffic ticket, could have brought fines of $250 and a maximum 15 days in jail.

Most of those arrested spent five to seven hours in custody, "an appropriate sanction for this type of offense," Thompson said.

Among the more notable people arrested were former New York City Mayor David Dinkins; U.S. Representatives Charles Rangel, Gregory Meeks, and Nydia Velazquez, all of whom are Democrats from New York; Bronx Borough President Freddie Ferrer; actors Susan Sarandon, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee and film director Jonathan Demme.

The four officers -- Sean Carroll, Edward McMellon, Kenneth Boss and Richard Murphy -- are free on $100,000 bail each. All four pleaded not guilty to murder last Wednesday.

State Supreme Court Judge Patricia Williams will set a schedule for pretrial proceedings at the next court hearing, April 30, in the Bronx.

The officers' attorneys have said that Diallo, a 22-year-old street vendor from Guinea, did not obey their instructions and that police thought he was reaching for a gun when the shooting began.