Well as we all know, the verdict is in. Those cops in New York City have been acquitted of all charges in the fatal shooting of Sean Bell (and the critical injuring of his 2 buddies) on the morning of his wedding day in the parking lot of a strip club.
I wasn’t going to touch this subject… didn’t plan on writing about it at all. As upset as I am, I felt I should probably leave it to the more experienced bloggers out there- those who could put their thoughts on paper better than I ever could.
Fortunately or unfortunately- you decide- I changed my mind.
How does this happen? What could these police officers possibly have said in that courtroom to justify firing 50 bullets at 3 unarmed men? I know, I know, they say they thought at least one of the men was armed. I also understand that they’re claiming Sean Bell tried to run them over with his car before they shot him.
Absolutely none of that matters. This wouldn’t have happened had the scene been set in the suburbs, or a predominantly white neighborhood. I don’t need to point that out though, right? Or do I?
Perhaps I could be more understanding of the officers had they fired a warning shot, or if they’d tried to disable Sean Bell’s vehicle by shooting out the car’s tires when it was supposedly careening towards them. Of course I’m told that officers aren’t trained to fire warning shots… that if they draw their weapons, they better be prepared to use them. Whatever. There’s a huge difference between drawing your weapon and NOT using it, and drawing your weapon and firing off 50 shots at unarmed people.
Justifiable my ass.
As officers, weren’t these guys trained to keep a cool head in the face of chaos? Obviously not. Clearly it is acceptable to shoot (many, many times) first, and ask questions later. Well, as long as we’re talking about shooting 3 black men anyway.
Unfortunately, despite my outrage, this isn’t news to me… and you’re blind if it’s news to you.
I am not anti-police, nor am I a card-carrying member of the Black Panthers, pumping my fist in the air. I am just a normal person that loves and takes pride in the black blood in my body, and I am outraged.
I’m not against officers who do what’s necessary to save their own lives, and especially the lives of others.
What I am against is the idea of police officers being given blanket permission to flip out and start killing people (50 bullets!) because they think they might be in danger. Danger is the nature of a cop’s job. To me, letting these guys off, in spite of their behaving so recklessly makes about as much sense as giving a fire fighter a medal of honor for making the decision to demolish a home that had smoke coming out of a window- rather than attempting to assess the severity of the flames- simply because the fire might have burned the place down anyway.
Here’s the question that everyone’s dreading, but we all know the answer to, if we’re honest- how much of the officers’ perceived danger that night was simply a result of the fact that these victims were young black men? We all know they wouldn’t have been so damn trigger happy had the people they were chasing been 3 upper middle class (or hell, even lower class) white men.
Black men are scary. White guys deserve a chance. The sad thing is, as ludicrous, closed-minded and ridiculous as that statement sounds, the judge in good ol’ progressive NYC believes it.
What makes an outrageous situation even worse is the fact that 2 of the 3 officers involved were black men themselves. See how deep self-hatred can run? Black officers are willing to kill each other- that’s how successful society has been in creating the universal fear of black men. They’re so terrifying that fellow black men of the law feel the need to kill them too.
Think I’m over-reaching? That’s cool- but answer this:
Is there one example anyone can give me a police officer- of ANY color- shooting an unarmed white man? When are black cops ever charged with the use of excessive force against white men?
Clearly, even black officers know the deal, and they know their place. In addition, it’s apparent that wherever black males are concerned, it may as well be huntin’ season.