Saturday, April 26, 2008
NYC: Killer Cops Acquitted! Time to Fight Back!/ Nueva York: Dejan Libre Policias Asesinos! Es Hora de Pelear!
Sean Bell, was shot and killed, November 25th, 2006 by NYPD detectives who pumped 50 bullets into the car Bell was driving. On April 25th 2008 Judge Arthur J. Cooperman acquitted the three indicted Detectives on all charges, claiming that the police officers actions were ‘careless but not reckless’.
Although this ruling is shocking we were not shocked. What can you expect from a case tried by the Queens District Attorney, an ally of the NYPD? What kind of ‘justice’ can we expect from the state? What was shocking was that there was not an immediate explosion of rage. The police cockily assured the ‘public’ that although they were prepared for disturbances they didn’t expect any to break out. As of this point they more or less seem to be correct.
As the news of the acquittal spread distraught and angry Bell supporters poured out of the courthouse into the streets outside. A brief scuffle ensued as a fistfight briefly flared. After this brief confrontation tempers cooled while the Rev. Al Sharpton and others escorted the Bell family from the courthouse.
Later that day the people’s justice campaign organized a ‘speak-out’ at the Queens County courthouse. Several hundred people assembled to hear speakers ranging from right-on radical youth of color talking about their experiences with the NYPD, to bland ‘activist’ organizers talking about the need to register to vote and how the next step is to ask the federal government to get involved (!). People seemed angry but more than listening to speeches there was little offered until finally a march got together to heading to Jamaica, Queens the neighborhood where Sean Bell was murdered.
The march was very diverse and certain sections were much more militant than others. The organizers made it clear as we were leaving that it would be a ‘peaceful’ march, complete with marshals whom did little besides try and keep the march away from the police following the procession. There was much energy especially as we entered Jamaica with a huge showing of support from locals, honking horns, and joining the march. A couple of masked men stood on top of their car with their fists in the air.
As the march reached the spot where Bell was killed the speakers started again and we were told the march was over and that we should disperse. A smaller group however continued marching to the public housing projects where they spoke with local youth and then continued, growing in numbers as they made their way to the 103rd precinct. At the precinct the march was met with lines of riot cops. There were reports of bottles and bricks thrown at the police, newspaper stands were thrown in the streets, and police charged the remainder of the crowd. There are reports of a few arrests.
Hopefully the spirit of the second half of the march will continue and future demonstrations will allow people to express their rage freely without the need for marshals and speeches.
Let fury have the hour!