03 April 2008
It is hard to believe that 50 rounds fired
from three police vice-squad pistols into
a frightened and unarmed man were
none-the-less considered sufficient and
reasonable force. At least by the police
officers concerned, so their counsel says.
Two officers went on trial for manslaughter
and a third for reckless endangerment in
the death of Sean Bell, 23, who was killed
in 2006 following a strip club bachelor party
in the borough of Queens, a case generating
New York black community outrage.
The words reckless and premeditated seem
to echo needlessly loud when we hear one
officer emptied, reloaded and re-emptied his
pistol, firing a total of 31 shots. That is a lot
to accept as sufficient force for an act which
the police initiated on no rational grounds.
If you believe the officers should be on
trial for murder you may have a good case.
But they’re not – and they waived trial by
jury. In their view Queens’ jurors would be
too biased for justice to ensue. Justice for
whom? Clearly not Sean Bell, deceased!
© 26 February 2008, I. D. Carswell