Today is an emotional day for New York and many major cities dealing with police brutality issues in their neighborhoods. Judge Arthur Cooperman ruled that the detectives Michael Oliver, Gescard Isnora and Marc Cooper bore no criminal responsibility for Bell’s death or the wounding of his two friends, Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman.
The 50 barrage of bullets, wounding of Benefield and Guzman, and the death of Sean Bell were all discussed over the last seven weeks in what some believe were often conflicting testimonies.
One can’t help to wonder if the officers would have been white or even identified themselves as officers, if the victims probably would have reacted differently. The same goes for if the victims would have been white.
Although Mayor Bloomberg did not handle this case as disrespectfully as the former Mayor Giulliani – one can’t help but be reminded of the Amadou Diallo case in which 41 shots were fired over a misjudged sandwich.
Having worked on police accountability issues in the past, I can’t help but to feel angry, saddened, disappointed and disgusted by this verdict. That they did not even get charged with manslaughter or reckless endangerment after a very reckless 50 shots is beyond me.
The duty of a police officer is to protect and to serve. Not shoot and ask questions later. At what point will police departments begin to review their policies and procedures to ensure that justice is followed through on in the courtroom and not by the police officers that they employ. This is not the case on another loose cannon or rouge police officers. This is another case of a broken system that needs some serious overview.