Cops Shoot Unarmed Black Man, Get Off Scot-free; repeat ad nauseum

I have nothing original to add to the discussion of the police murder of Sean Bell and the judge’s decision to let the guilty cops go free. Maybe because I’m too pissed off, or nauseated, or both by the loss of life, the criminal murder of an innocent man, the inherent racism of the police state, the loss to the man’s wife and young daughter and the rest of his family – I could go on. But others are writing more eloquently than I can muster today, so I link with approval to them.

Holly writes at Feministe that the police murder of black men is a feminist issue. She makes a strong, eloquent case.

The problem is that this disproportionately affects communities of color. The black men who are most often slaughtered by such violence, and all the women and children in their lives too, their loved ones, friends and relatives. A system that is all too eager to exonerate “the thin blue line” and continue business as usual. All of these are feminist issues. Racism must be a feminist issue, for any kind of feminism that counts. Police brutality must be; the biases of the criminal justice system must be.

The SuperSpade is rightly flabbergasted and bitter:

I know there will be rallies held in New York to protest this miscarriage of justice and if you are in the area, you should go. After the marches though, Bell’s story like Amadou Diallo and others will be filed in the Black consciousness as the continuing saga of injustice that has plagued Black folk since we were kidnapped from Africa. Surely this is worth Black folk being bitter right?

Mikhael B. Reid expresses her outrage and posts links to cartoons she has done on this case and on police brutality.

I’ll post more when I find it.

Oh, And: Barack Obama registered the predictable “we are a nation of laws so don’t go crazy in the streets” admonishment. Not that I expected him (or think he should) advocate rioting, but it would be refreshing to hear a prominent politician say something like, “We are a nation of laws, sure, but I don’t see how the police can be allowed to gun down a person in cold blood and get away with it. Something is wrong with our justice system. Cases like this make the law seem like a sham to protect the power of the state against the rights – the very lives – of the people.”

UPDATE: The Village Voice reports that the Justice Department will begin investigating civil rights violations pertaining to this case. And that Mayor Michael Bloomberg has vowed to take measures that will build up public trust in the police department.

Curiously, Bloomberg announced that one of the ways they hoped to instill public trust in the NYPD was by bolstering the staff at the Civilian Complaint Review Board so that now “complaints are dealt with swiftly and efficiently.” What Bloomberg didn’t mention was that since bolster the CCRB last year the NYPD has “swiftly and efficiently” been dumping a record number of the agency’s substantiated cases.

Roberto Lovato analyzes the political implications of this case for Obama, although I could give a crap less. However, I agree with his conclusion:

Beyond Obama, all of us need to raise our voices and point at the abyss of our country’s institutional racism as was painfully and transparently reflected in today’s verdict. We might want to start by pushing Obama, Clinton and McCain — and the mainstream media — to speak honestly and continually about what the 50 bullets in Sean Bell say about justice in the 50 states of our tattered and bloodied union.


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