Posts tagged Sean Bell

“Hands Up!” Solidarity Event in Auburn Friday 8-15 12pm

If you’re in Auburn, and you’ve been watching the police-state horror-show unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri, you may be interested to know about this. TOMORROW (Friday, August 15) at 12pm, on Samford Lawn, Auburn University campus.

Announcement forwarded from AU Black Student Union follows

Attention auburn friends and family:

“Hands Up!” event tomorrow organized by BSU at 12pm on samford lawn to honor Michael Brown + raise awareness about police brutality directed at people of color

LET’S SHOW UP ! ! !

more info below from email sent by BSU’s president

Due to the recent events emerging in Ferguson, Missouri, in relation to the death of Michael Brown, Black Student Union would like to show its support in the fight for equality by joining in the “Hands Up!” Movement. This movement has been spreading rapidly around the country and we should all raise our voices in the fight for justice. We should raise our voices for those who cannot any longer, for Sean Bell, for Oscar Grant, for Amadou Diallo, for Michael Brown and for countless others. Meet us on Samford Lawn tomorrow, Friday, August 15th at noon to take a picture and let’s show the people of Ferguson, Missouri, that they have our support.

Hope to see you tomorrow at noon on Samford with your hands up.

War Eagle!
Jasmine S. Pettaway
Your BSU President

Your authorization says shoot your nation

NewsOne recently published an interview with an anonymous Black cop on the NYPD, where they asked him for his thoughts on police brutality and racism in the wake of a string of high-profile stories about overkill shootings, grown-ass male cops appropriately punching 17 year old black girls in the face over suspected jaywalking, etc. The fact that the cop being interviewed happens to be Black ends up contributing basically nothing to the interview — so, hey, it turns out that Black police think and act like police, and they generally defend their colleagues and their own professional interest in being able to inflict violence with impunity. But the interview is interesting for a few things: a really amazing display of cognitive dissonance; an amazing exercise in unintended irony; and one of the few times you’ll see a cop actually come out and just say it in public.

First, the cognitive dissonance. When NewsOne asked him about race relations at the NYPD, Officer Anonymous says his gang brothers like to tell racist jokes to their colleagues, and discriminate against people based on their appearance, taking signs of urban Black culture as being (in and of themselves) evidence that somebody ought to be treated like a criminal, up to and sometimes including targeting, harassing and arresting people over how they look:

Officer: . . . If anything, the only thing I could comment on is that some officers believe there is a certain ‘look’ that most perpetrators have and that tends to be those who follow the trends of urban Hip Hop culture. That would consist of cornrows, saggin jeans, earrings, fitted caps, etc.

So, if a cop fits this mold in his civilian clothes, they often joke ‘you look like a perp.’ I believe some of them try to mask it behind a few smiles, but they really believe that. Though, many do fit this ‘profile’, at least in the communities I’ve worked in, it’s still an unfair generalization.

Newsone: Have you seen officers unfairly target individuals who look like this?

Officer: As I said earlier, though its wrong and not right as law enforcement, I have seen that type of behavior and at times [it’s] led to arrests.

Then he says he’s never encountered any racism from his superiors or fellow officers:

Newsone: Have you ever encountered any racism from your superiors or fellow officers?

Officer: I have not.

Elsewhere in the interview, he’s asked about the recent 46-shot overkill police shooting in Harlem, where NYPD cops lit up Angel Alvarez at a late-night part — hitting him 21 times, killing Luis Soto (the main they were supposedly intervening to save) with 6 gunshots, and hitting 3 bystanders, and one of their fellow cops, in the process. (This is, of course, the same city government police force that lit up Sean Bell (50 shots, killing an unarmed man) and Amadou Diallo (41 shots, killing an unarmed immigrant who was holding a wallet so that he could show the cops his ID). Officer Anonymous wants us to go easy on the Gangsters in Blue, and wait until Official Sources tell us what to believe about what happened.

Newsone: What about the recent event in Harlem where a cop shot a man 21 times?

Officer: A lot of the facts haven’t come out yet. Many in the department are mad because the media is so quick to paint us as the bad guys. I suggest people wait until all the facts come out.

Newsone: But you can understand the rush to judgment in a city like New York where Louima, Diallo, and Sean Bell occurred?

Officer: I do understand that, but think about all the other incidents where people jumped the gun and were wrong about us.

Gosh, that’s tough.

It must be so hard for the police, what with how people get the situation wrong, and jump the gun.

Further down, NewsOne asks Officer Anonymous about the NYPD’s standing policy of subjecting random people of color to unreasonable searches and seizures. It’s not often that a police statist will come out and just lay certain things on the line; but here we go. Emphasis mine.

Newsone: What do you think of the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy?

Officer: The stop and frisk policy is an important tool in helping the department curb serious offenses.

Newsone: I disagree. It is a violation of our civil rights.

Officer: It is, but at the same time, crime would have never gone down in the Giuliani era to now if it weren’t for these small measures.

Officer Anonymous goes on to say Sometimes you have to do things that may not be approved by the public to make everyone safer. By which he means that police should roam the streets with unchecked power to stop and search anyone they damn well please — for no reason at all — in open contempt of the civil rights of their victims. The same racist-ass, hyperviolent, power-tripping, domineering, twitchy police who have proven themselves more than willing to beat up anyone who questions their actions, to torture those who won’t comply with their arbitrary bellowed orders, to open fire into a crowd at late-night parties, and to light up unarmed men with dozens of shots during routine stops. Does that make you feel safer on the streets of New York City?

Truth in advertising

We need government cops because private protection forces would be accountable to the powerful and well-connected instead of being accountable to the people.

NEW YORK — The wail that came up from the crowd was as if they heard that Sean Bell had died again.

No! they shouted, while dozens of people, wearing Bell’s face on hats, T-shirts and buttons, burst into sobs.

The scene unfolded outside the courthouse Friday as three police officers were cleared of all charges in the 2006 shooting of Bell, who died in a hail of 50 bullets on his wedding day.

Hundreds of friends of Bell and others wanted vindication for what they called a racially motivated shooting, and they reacted with tears and explosive anger to the officers’ acquittal.

Many people in the predominantly black crowd began reciting other cases where black New Yorkers were shot by police, and the officers, they said, got away with it.

This was a disgrace, what happened today, shouted Calvin Hutton, a Harlem resident. We prayed for a different result, but we got the same old bull——.

Inside the packed Queens courtroom, gasps could be heard when Judge Arthur Cooperman acquitted the officers. Bell’s mother cried; her husband put his arm around her and shook his head. Bell’s fiancee, Nicole Paultre Bell, left the courtroom immediately. . . . Scores of police officers formed lines in the middle of traffic to block the crowd from charging the courthouse.

. . . Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said the judge sent a message to officers that when you’re in front of the bench, that you will get fairness.

. . . William Hardgraves, 48, an electrician from Harlem, brought his 12-year-old son and 23-year-old daughter to hear the verdict. . . . I hoped it would be different this time. They shot him 50 times, Hardgraves said. But of course, it wasn’t.

— Assocated Press 2008-04-25: Sean Bell Supporters Angry About Detectives’ Acquittal in Wedding Day Killing

Further reading:

In five words or fewer #2: Michael McHale on the 50-shot police murder of Sean Bell

Officer Michael McHale (2006-11-30), on reactions to the 50-shot police murder of Sean Bell:

I love all you monday morning quarterbacks. You really don’t have a clue. I sometimes wonder why law enforcement officers offer there lives for the likes of you, your not worth it. … But, hey, as you go through everyday lives don’t worry we will continue to DIE to protect you so you can make more money and get more things. Because it is our mission to Serve and Protect, even you.

I never asked you to.

Further reading: