3 New York Cops indicted in Sean Bell Tragedy

By Malena Amusa Mar 16, 2007

Three New York police detectives turned themselves in for a wild shooting last November that killed Sean Bell and injured two of his friends who were sitting in a car the day Bell was to be married. The cops fired an astounding 50 shots at the unarmed men who had committed no crime. Two of the cops are being charged with manslaughter, but none of them will face a murder charge. The reporting on the court proceedings have generally masked the issues of race and New York’s police profiling policy. The NYPD has a history, not only of extreme, out of proportion violence, but also sanctioned the hundreds of thousands of stop-and-frisks of Black and Latino people last year– 90 percent were innocent. Some journalists, however, are doing a good job of re-framing the case and denouncing the racism that drives excessive violence on the force. One Newsday reporter goes as far as to call the New York police’s actions state-sponsored terrorism.

Although the unarmed victims of this police mayhem appear to be random, their targeted group – whose skin color constitutes probable cause – is not. The terror itself has a cold interior logic that police execute with the tacit approval of the ruling judicial-political system and the white majority. The barbarism is silently applauded, as very few of the cops are ever punished.