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View Full Version : Police acquitted over Sean Bell shooting


Apoleb
Apr 26th, 2008, 03:26 AM
I already made a thread on this, but for some reason the post is not appearing. Sorry if this only happened with me. Anyways:


Police acquitted over NY shooting


http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44588000/jpg/_44588185_bellcouple226ap.jpg Bell was due to marry his girlfriend Nicole, with whom he had a child



A judge in New York has acquitted three police officers who shot dead an unarmed man hours before his wedding.
Sean Bell, 23, who was black, was shot as he left a strip club in the suburb of Queens in November 2006.
Two detectives, Michael Oliver and Gescard Isnora, faced charges of manslaughter. A third, Marc Cooper, had been accused of reckless endangerment.
The case had generated accusations of police racism and brutality, and there were angry protests outside the court.
Mr Bell's fiancee, Nicole Paultre Bell, walked out of the packed courtroom as soon as Supreme Court Justice Arthur Cooperman cleared the three officers of all charges.
"The people have not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that each defendant was not justified" in firing, the judge said.
The defendants had opted to not be tried by a jury.
Undercover
Mr Bell and two friends were apparently trying to drive away from the Kalua club when the shooting occurred early on the morning of 25 November 2006.
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/shared/img/o.gifhttp://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44585000/jpg/_44585850_nypdcops226ap.jpg
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/v3/inline_dashed_line.gif

In pictures: Sean Bell verdict (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/7367761.stm)
Crowds stunned by verdict (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7368334.stm)


Mr Bell was killed and his friends both seriously injured.
Mr Isnora, who with his colleagues was investigating a prostitution ring, said he had followed the trio to their car because he believed they were going to carry out a drive-by shooting.
No gun was found in the car.
Critics argued the officers had used excessive force in firing 50 shots at the car.
A spokesman for a police union, Patrick J Lynch, told reporters that the verdict proved police officers could expect "fairness" in court.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement that he accepted the authority of the court to decide the case.
"There are no winners in a trial like this. No verdict could ever end the grief that those who knew and loved Sean Bell suffer," he said.
The US Department of Justice said it was conducting a review of the shooting to decide whether a federal crime had been committed.
Gasps
There was outrage at the verdict among Mr Bell's family and supporters.

Angry scenes outside court following the verdict


Inside the courtroom, Mr Bell's mother sobbed and gasps were heard as the verdict was announced.
Outside there were shouts of "murderers" from among the dozens of protesters gathered.
Some wept on each other's shoulders, while others shouted "No justice in America!"
Veteran civil rights campaigners Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson criticised the outcome, saying the case was about police accountability, not race. Mr Jackson said the decision was a "travesty of justice". Two of the acquitted officers were black.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7367198.stm

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I'm surprised there's no thread on this, and I'm disgusted that racism is not being seriously taken as a factor.

tterb
Apr 26th, 2008, 03:53 AM
I saw this at work today... shocking, really. I read that some of the main factors in the decision were the past criminal records and "demeanor" of the witnesses.

At best, this case sounds like a horrible misunderstanding. I'm not sure how I would react if people in normal clothes ran up to me while I was getting into my car, shouting "Police! Freeze!" Especially if I had been drinking. I don't know why I should take the officers' word that they thought a drive-by might occur - was there any solid evidence?

I know some people will say that the "suspects" should have just stopped and listened to the cops, but that's too simplistic for the situation. You see someone in normal clothes coming at you with a gun, isn't the natural instinct to flee?

Regardless, it's hard to see the justification for shooting 50 times at the car. Once you realized that NOBODY was shooting back, wouldn't the proper course of action have been to get in the car and follow the suspects?

I'd like to hear why they thought the guys were going to commit a drive-by before I make further judgment, but at the very least the officers should be fired, if not sued. 50 shots at people who weren't shooting back? Just wow...

Apoleb
Apr 26th, 2008, 04:19 AM
I don't know everything about the case but judging from the information you've given:

I'm not sure how I would react if people in normal clothes ran up to me while I was getting into my car, shouting "Police! Freeze!" Especially if I had been drinking. I don't know why I should take the officers' word that they thought a drive-by might occur - was there any solid evidence?

There's absolutely NO reason to take those people's words if they were in normal clothing. If I was him I would've probably done the same thing.

You see someone in normal clothes coming at you with a gun, isn't the natural instinct to flee?

Yep.

Regardless, it's hard to see the justification for shooting 50 times at the car. Once you realized that NOBODY was shooting back, wouldn't the proper course of action have been to get in the car and follow the suspects?

I'd like to hear why they thought the guys were going to commit a drive-by before I make further judgment, but at the very least the officers should be fired, if not sued. 50 shots at people who weren't shooting back? Just wow...

Again, agreed with everything.

This is beyond outrageous.

tterb
Apr 26th, 2008, 04:44 AM
Here's the recent CNN article:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/04/25/sean.bell.trial/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

I don't remember all the details myself from when the incident first occurred, but I would need a lot more evidence than what was presented in this article to justify opening fire on a car full of people that were "suspected" of planning a drive-by. I'm not sure the officers even took stand from the article, but it raises several questions... why were they there? Had they been drinking? Is the normal protocol when a suspect of a potential future crime flees to shoot first, ask questions later? It's hard to blame people for being scared of police officers when this kind of thing happens... without more to go on, it smacks of racial profiling and an extreme abuse of power. So if that's not the case, we need to hear more of the officers' stories, because until then, this case can only cause outrage.

In The Zone
Apr 26th, 2008, 04:48 AM
I don't understand how they were acquitted of reckless endangerment.

50 bullets in 2 minutes and those bullets going into neighboring homes and stores is not reckless endangerment when the fire was being returned?

Give me a break. Police are also citizens and have rules.

Like Jackson said, this is not about race. This is about the travesty of the justice system, how it is a game, and how it is not equally applied in all cases. These men were let go because they were policemen and no other reason.

( I'm from NY so I'm well aware. I actually go to school nearby ).

Apoleb
Apr 26th, 2008, 04:53 AM
Like Jackson said, this is not about race.

Umm, if these policemen were white, everybody and their mommas would be screaming "racism" (not that I think this wouldn't be valid). Just because the policemen are black doesn't exclude racism from the equation, ESPECIALLY that the policemen represent in some ways or another the mentality of a whole institution.

Donny
Apr 26th, 2008, 04:56 AM
I don't understand how they were acquitted of reckless endangerment.

50 bullets in 2 minutes and those bullets going into neighboring homes and stores is not reckless endangerment when the fire was being returned?

Give me a break. Police are also citizens and have rules.

Like Jackson said, this is not about race. This is about the travesty of the justice system, how it is a game, and how it is not equally applied in all cases. These men were let go because they were policemen and no other reason.

( I'm from NY so I'm well aware. I actually go to school nearby ).

You go to school in Jamaica? Wouldn't have guessed that.

But as to your point about this not being about race, I disagree. No group of unarmed white men will ever be shot 50 times by police officers. And certainly not with impunity. But, sad to say, everyone in NYC already knew what the verdict was going to be. Even the NYPD; they coincidentally had tons of cop cars and foot patrols in "impact" areas today. There's been at least a cop per corner within a five block radius of where I live. Probably expecting a riot of some sort.

In The Zone
Apr 26th, 2008, 04:56 AM
Umm, if these policemen were white, everybody and their mommas would be screaming "racism" (not that I think this wouldn't be valid). Just because the policemen are black doesn't exclude racism from the equation, ESPECIALLY that the policemen represent in some ways or another the mentality of a whole institution.

If that were the case, of course. It's an easy argument. I am not excusing that argument because of their ethnicities. I am excusing it because those policemen did not SEEK out the mission. They were put there. And were told what to follow and what to do. It's their judgment and why they did the things they did that needs to be in question.

Apoleb
Apr 26th, 2008, 04:58 AM
Here's the recent CNN article:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/04/25/sean.bell.trial/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

I don't remember all the details myself from when the incident first occurred, but I would need a lot more evidence than what was presented in this article to justify opening fire on a car full of people that were "suspected" of planning a drive-by. I'm not sure the officers even took stand from the article, but it raises several questions... why were they there? Had they been drinking? Is the normal protocol when a suspect of a potential future crime flees to shoot first, ask questions later? It's hard to blame people for being scared of police officers when this kind of thing happens... without more to go on, it smacks of racial profiling and an extreme abuse of power. So if that's not the case, we need to hear more of the officers' stories, because until then, this case can only cause outrage.

I think it boils down to whether it's justifiable for policemen in civilian clothes to intercept a man and show their guns at him. And this can only be justified if they thought that he's a criminal beyond any shadow of a doubt according to reasonable evidence. Clearly, this was not the case. Whether they thought he was going to run them over or not after they threatened him is not that relevant imo.

In The Zone
Apr 26th, 2008, 04:59 AM
You go to school in Jamaica? Wouldn't have guessed that.

But as to your point about this not being about race, I disagree. No group of unarmed white men will ever be shot 50 times by police officers. And certainly not with impunity. But, sad to say, everyone in NYC already knew what the verdict was going to be. Even the NYPD; they coincidentally had tons of cop cars and foot patrols in "impact" areas today. There's been at least a cop per corner within a five block radius of where I live. Probably expecting a riot of some sort.

St. John's. I told you that! I take the LIRR to Jamaica every day.

I am not doubting race playing a factor. But I don't think it's the strongest factor of them all. The policemen, their judgement and their actions are really the problem.

And then it goes to another argument that policemen are not tried fairly, etc etc.

I was stunned when I heard the verdict. The other two counts were difficult and needed SERIOUS evidence but reckless endangerment - not guilty? UH HELLO. No matter what color, race, age, gender, etc. Reckless endangerment at 4am on a weekday night is shooting 50 bullets in 2 minutes with no return fire. No doubts about it.

tterb
Apr 26th, 2008, 05:09 AM
^ But if their judgment was based off racial profiling, that brings race squarely back into the picture, does it not? If the judgment that these "three black men might go on a drive by tonight" is based off race, that makes it a huge issue.

Experimentee
Apr 26th, 2008, 05:14 AM
This is outrageous. Nothing can ever justify police shooting 50 times when no one is shooting back.

And I agree that they probably assumed the suspects were going on a drive by at least partly because they were black. If they were a group of white guys they wouldn't jump to such a conclusion based on little evidence.

Serenababy
Apr 26th, 2008, 12:53 PM
Umm, if these policemen were white, everybody and their mommas would be screaming "racism" (not that I think this wouldn't be valid). Just because the policemen are black doesn't exclude racism from the equation, ESPECIALLY that the policemen represent in some ways or another the mentality of a whole institution.

THIS WAS NOT NO DAMM RACIST ISSUE...FIRST OF ALL BLACK PEOPLE CAN'T BE RACIST...THEY CAN BE TERRIBLY PREDUJICE BUT NOT RACIST..... PEOPLE WHO ARE RACIST ARE SUPERIOR AND IN POWER AND POSITION TO HAVE INFLUENCE , AND POWER TO DO WHAT THEY WANT, AND CHANGE ONCES THINKING AS A WHOLE. BLACK PEOPLE ARE NOT IN THE POSITION AND DON'T HAVE ENOUGH POWER AS A WHOLE TO CHANGE AND INFLUENCE ONES THINKING AND DO WHAT THEY WANT TO DO...

BUT YOU KNOW WHEN IT ALL BOILS DOWN F%@% RACE!!!! I DON'T EVEN CARE ABOUT RACE THIS IS A POLICE ISSUE....ANYTHING A POLICE DOES( DONT MATTA THEY CAN BE BLACK WHITE YELLOW GREEN) THEY GET AWAY WITH IT...EVEN IF THE KILL SOMEBODY, IT DOESN'T MATTER...

THE POLICE ARE ONE COLOR AND THATS BLUE


SO WE CAN FORGET ABOUT RACE THIS IS A CIVILIAN TO POLICE ISSUE THAT POLICE GET AWAY WITH EVERYTIME ITS LIKE THEY MURDER PEOPLE AND DON'T SHIT HAPPEN CAUSE THEY THE POLICE ...EVERYTHING GETS DROPED!!!!!!!!!!

wta_zuperfann
Apr 27th, 2008, 01:42 PM
The case proves why we need an armed citizenry. Our Founding Fathers gave us the 2d Amendment in order to insure that people would not be tyrannized by government. Cops are not going to shoot at armed people because it would put their lives in jeopardy. Therefore, the only solution or preventive for situations like this is for people to be armed to the teeth and for them to hire vigilantes to hunt down and shoot those cops and any judges who defend them.



Founders attacking tax collector (there were no other police in those days):

http://www.earlyamerica.com/review/fall96/images/perils.jpg

gentenaire
Apr 27th, 2008, 01:48 PM
I'm surprised there's no thread on this, and I'm disgusted that racism is not being seriously taken as a factor.

There is!
http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=340492

Qrystyna
Apr 27th, 2008, 03:44 PM
And then they wonder why so many people dislike the police........!!!

tterb
Apr 27th, 2008, 06:07 PM
The case proves why we need an armed citizenry. Our Founding Fathers gave us the 2d Amendment in order to insure that people would not be tyrannized by government. Cops are not going to shoot at armed people because it would put their lives in jeopardy. Therefore, the only solution or preventive for situations like this is for people to be armed to the teeth and for them to hire vigilantes to hunt down and shoot those cops and any judges who defend them.



Founders attacking tax collector (there were no other police in those days):

http://www.earlyamerica.com/review/fall96/images/perils.jpg
The reason the cops were after these guys in the first place is because they thought the guys WERE armed.

To really make a difference here, there would have to have been a law allowing concealed weapons (not sure if there is in NYC or not), and in that case, the only thing that might have changed here is that more bullets would have been fired. :shrug:

That said, I agree with you on the second amendment to the extent of having weapons at home. But overall, I feel safer without concealed weapons laws, because to me that only increases the odds that there is some irresponsible idiot out in public with a gun.

Donny
Apr 27th, 2008, 06:12 PM
The reason the cops were after these guys in the first place is because they thought the guys WERE armed.

To really make a difference here, there would have to have been a law allowing concealed weapons (not sure if there is in NYC or not), and in that case, the only thing that might have changed here is that more bullets would have been fired. :shrug:

That said, I agree with you on the second amendment to the extent of having weapons at home. But overall, I feel safer without concealed weapons laws, because to me that only increases the odds that there is some irresponsible idiot out in public with a gun.

Only two states, Wisconsin and Illionois have no laws allowing concealed carry. New York gives permits, but only for really influential, rich citizens. So it might as well not be a concealed carry law at all.

tterb
Apr 27th, 2008, 06:16 PM
Only two states, Wisconsin and Illionois have no laws allowing concealed carry. New York gives permits, but only for really influential, rich citizens. So it might as well not be a concealed carry law at all.

Ah, thanks. I still think the idea of all citizens carrying guns at all times seems crazy.

saint2
Apr 27th, 2008, 06:35 PM
Police sucks. Fat, crazy parasites. Delegalise police and gave a guns to people. Benefits of that would be really huge...