Tuesday, April 29, 2008

To a WeeMan with a gun, Every1 of Us is a target

AMY GOODMAN: A New York State Supreme Court justice has acquitted three New York police detectives of all charges related to the fifty shots that killed Sean Bell, an unarmed African American man, on November 25, 2006. It was in the early morning before the twenty-three-year old Bell was to be married. He was sitting in a car with two friends outside a strip club in Jamaica, Queens.

Judge Arthur Cooperman said Friday the NYPD officers who trained their guns on Bell and his friends were not guilty of all charges of manslaughter, assault and reckless endangerment. He said it was reasonable for the detectives to fear that someone might have had a gun. There was immediate relief within the New York Police Department.

    MICHAEL PALLADINO: And we are relieved today. And how do I spell “relief”? N-O-T-G-U-I-L-T-Y. Not guilty. That’s how I spell “relief.”

AMY GOODMAN: But for Sean Bell’s fiancee Nicole Paultre-Bell and many others who took to the streets this weekend, the verdict was a complete miscarriage of justice. Activists and community members organized a protest march outside the Queens District Attorney office Friday evening. Democracy Now! producer Jeffrey Hagerman spoke to some of those at the march.

CITY COUNCILMEMBER CHARLES BARON: I think the system stinks, and black people better protect themselves by any means necessary.

REPORTER: And why do you say that?

CITY COUNCILMEMBER CHARLES BARON: Because the system’s not protecting us. That judge just told us today we don’t mean nothing, that our lives aren’t worth anything.

REV. HERBERT DAUGHERTY: I made a note before I left home, and I said my heart cries out for justice, but my experience has taught me what to expect, and therefore the decision doesn’t come as any shock to me. I’ve been at this fifty years.

HERMAN HUBBARD: We should be tearing down the businesses in the Bronx, in Queens, in Harlem and all over America. They do nothing but appease us.

That last, I must say, is the stupidest response possible--no disrespect. There could be no better way to give the Feudalists more ammo for gunning more of Us down than by fulfilling their worst stereotypes of us as unreasoning savages, barely human if at all. What do those business owners in the Bronx, in Queens, have to do with it? How would creating more hate-fueled violent destruction actually HELP?

I don't understand his use of "appease," either. He doesn't look appeased to me. He's a WeeMan, advocating for a tantrum, spouting words that make him feel good about doing a stupid thing--no disrespect.

UNIDENTIFIED: They had no business pulling their guns out from the beginning. I mean, you can’t go out your house today without worrying what’s going to come the other way. This young man was having a good time. Why is he now six feet under the ground?

UNIDENTIFIED: Once I heard the verdict, I mean, I was like in tears, I mean, literally crying, because it is—I mean, it’s just so painful to know that these officers are able to shoot and kill us and get away with it. This system is not here to protect us. It doesn’t support us. I mean, it’s just sad that we have to be out here lobbying and protesting this injustice. It shouldn’t be like that. Our ancestors already fought for all of this. Why are we still out here doing this?

UNIDENTIFIED: I certainly think that there needs to be a shift from the militaristic type of policing that we see in communities of color and lower-income communities to more compassionate, respectful and community-based policing. The community needs to be more involved in the decisions of who’s policing their neighborhoods.

beloved / UNION / Beloved is a more perfect Union.

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