A month after protesters blocked bridges and tunnels during rush hour, Sharpton said he wants to bring the outrage over the Sean Bell shooting to the national stage July 15. The Rev. Al Sharpton threatened Sunday to disrupt baseball’s historic All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium next month unless the state passes new laws to curb police misconduct. Sharpton’s protest comes in the face of tepid efforts by the NYPD to create more accountability for these fatal shootings. The NYPD did commission the RAND corp. to do a firearems study, but the Village Voice reports that the study did not include race. RAND says they weren’t asked to look at race.
Dr. Bernard Rostker, a former Deputy Secretary of Defense who did the talking for RAND, explained how they reviewed 455 police shooting investigations closed by the department between 2004 and 2006. The gist of his overall message was that the statistics show that NYPD officers are among the most restrained cops in the nation when it comes to shooting their guns. He also spent a lot of time talking about Tasers, even though he said they’re more substitutes for fists than firearms. What Rostker and the $350,000 RAND study didn’t address was race — either of the victims or the police shooters.
Colorlines Magazine did provide a study of race and fatal police shooting in New York City in an investigative report, Killed By the Cops. This RAND report also recommends that police use tasers instead of guns as weapons, but we know that tasers can be just as deadly. Many questions still remain that the RAND study did not address. Whether it is guns or tasers, Black and Latino men seem to still be the victims of these fatal police shootings. The NYPD has yet to answer the call for greater accountability by police to the communities in which they serve. If you are in Brooklyn, go to this RACIAL PROFILING AND POLICE BRUTALITY forum. On Thursday, June 12 at the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, Fort Greene Peace will hold a discussion on “Racial Profiling and Police Brutality in New York City A Forum on the Sean Bell Case.” The Sean Bell tragedy returns the persistent issues of racial profiling and police brutality to the fore. Fort Greene Peace recognizes the anger that has been generated by both the incident and the verdict. Among those who will take part in the discussion are state Sen. Eric Adams, a former police officer, and attorney Norman Siegel. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the church, located at South Oxford Street and Lafayette Avenue.