Sunday, April 27, 2008

I finally got some sleep ...

... and not a moment too soon. I needed a clear head before I sound off about this Sean Bell murder acquittal. And yes, I said murder because that is what it is.
What do you call shooting someone, who is unarmed, and then they die? It's murder, there's no other way to classify that.
Last week, the three cops, excuse me, detectives. who fired at Bell and his two friends, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield, 50 times. Guzman and Benefield were wounded, one had critical injuries.
To jog your memory, Sean Bell was due to get married. He was out at his bachelor party and according to police, he and his friends got into an altercation and left the club. During all this, Guzman supposedly said, "Yo go get my gun."
That is when undercover detectives tried to stop them. During his testimony, he says he identified himself and told them not to move and Bell, who was drive, struck him with the vehicle on his leg and that's when the shots started - all 50 of them.
So, of the 50 shots fired, 31 were fired by one person. That means he emptied a clip, changed it and emptied another one.
According to previous reports, another officer fired 11, the rest fired four, three and one. If I remember correctly, the cops charged were the ones who shot the most, that's Gescard Isnora, Marc Cooper and Michael Cooper.
***They should all change their names to Scott Free***
Reports say that Bell was shot twice in the arm and once in the neck. Guzman was shot 11 times, Benefield was shot twice. There have been reports of a fourth man but no one knows what happened to him. He is supposedly the one with the gun.
One theory is the police officers kept firing because they thought Bell and his friends were firing at them. Since Bell, Guzman and Benefield didn't have a weapon, the officers were firing at the echo of their own guns. I'm inclined to believe that.
Not sure if you've had the (mis)fortune of hearing a gun shot, but the sound tends to ricochet off of whatever is around. I'm guessing that if they were on the street, the sound of so many gun shots at once will bounce off the buildings.
Anyway, two of these guys were charged with manslaughter in the first and second degrees, in an effort to get a conviction on one. They are class B and class C violent felonies. The other was charged with reckless endangerment in connection with discharging his fire arm into an occupied dwelling, which was the car Bell was driving.
Now, you all have all the facts I have. I've watched enough Law & Order to know that there was enough evidence to convict these officers but for whatever reason, the judge didn't see fit to do that.
My concern is that these guys are detectives, right? That means they've been on the force for a hot minute, long enough to make detective. If they've made detective, that means that their superiors trusted their skills, abilities and instincts.
To me, that means they can determine whether or not to use excessive force and their fire arms. Obviously, these three and their cohorts were not ready or equipped to make this decision, especially that trigger happy dude who emptied two clips.
I would have thought they'd get this thing together after they killed Amadou Diallo for reaching for his wallet. In case you've forgotten, Diallo was shot 41 times and killed in '99. At this rate, the next time, and there will be a next time, the next person will be shot or shot at 65 times.
There needs to be some sort of an overhaul as it relates to getting new cops. Apparently, the cops that are there now are tired, their instincts are off and they need to be replaced. If they keep killing everybody, after a while, there won't be anyone to protect and serve in the whole damn city.
The good news in all this is that Bell's fiancee, Nicole Paultre Bell and his friends Guzman and Benefield have all filed a wrongful death suit against the city. If you ask me, Guzman and Benefield ought to have separate suits of their own for the injuries they sustained.
While no amount of money can make up for a lost husband, father, son or friend, I hope the courts award them enough money so that his kids won't need or want for a dag on thing!

No comments: