Sunday, April 27, 2008

I am livid.

The Sean Bell verdict was bad enough. But it was predictable. Sad as this is, it was to be expected. Of course New York was not going to indict a few cops for shooting up a car full of black men.

It was obvious that the trial was formulated in a way that was meant to be beneficial to the cops--since they couldn't get it moved up to Albany, where they would have been tried by a jury of retired cops, largely white, they got themselves tried by a single judge rather than a jury of their peers. The cops didn't have to testify. The witnesses, who did testify, were dismissed by the judge in question because they "contradicted themselves" and failed to satisfy him with their "demeanor." Right.

But like I say: none of this was a surprise. There's a reason Al Sharpton was on TV before the trial even took place saying that there would be riots: everybody in New York knew what would happen. I read a post by someone who was sitting in a bar afterward and happened to be next to one of the defense lawyers. Apparently one of the arguments was that the sound of the cops' bullets ricocheting off the other car is easily mistaken for return fire, which is why the policemen kept shooting.

The lawyer, of course, was toasting, laughing, and boasting. 50 FUCKING BULLETS.

But then the icing on the cake. The motherfucking NEW YORK TIMES runs an op-ed by a former cop praising the verdict and saying how no one but cops knows what it feels like to have your life be in danger? Really? How about all the people of color who suffer police brutality in the city daily? Do they know? Nah.

A "tragic mistake," he calls it. Sure. That's about as high as the level of regret/contrition gets in this shitpile of an opinion.

This honestly makes me never want to read the NYT again.

The fucking judge stated in his opinion that "carelessness is not a crime." I guess we should change the definition of manslaughter, then. WHERE THE FUCK DID YOU GO TO LAW SCHOOL? And you know what, let's go with it. Let's say it isn't a crime.

Then that means policemen, whose sworn duty is to protect, killed a man on his wedding day, leaving his baby fatherless, and injured his two companions, out of carelessness. Not fear, not mistaken judgement--carelessness. And the judge is fine with that.

(If anybody tried to make the stinking argument that Sean Bell was no saint, so who cares, I will personally come after you and shove your nonsense back where it came from. That's not the point. We aren't supposed to earn our safety. It's a fundamental human right. If you want to get all Hobbesian about it, it's the one right of the citizen. I don't care if he was coming out of a strip club. I don't care that he may have hit his fiancée before--not in this context. The point is justice, plain and simple, and it's not something that is deserved. The argument that SB was a shitty individual and so it's no big deal is racist and I don't want to hear it.)

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