A man was shot 50 times the night before his wedding in front of a New York City night club. Three police officers were charged with manslaughter, assault and reckless endangerment in the death of Sean Bell. Mayor Bloomberg issued this statement, "An innocent man lost his life, a bride lost her groom, two daughters lost their father, and a mother and a father lost their son. No verdict could ever end the grief that those who knew and loved Sean Bell suffer. America is a nation of laws, and though not everyone will agree with the verdicts and opinions issued by the courts, we accept their authority." Al Sharpton was there for some reason I am not sure why. He is an opportunist and a grand-stander so I guess he was taking a moment for a photo-op. It would appear that 2 of the officers were African American so I don't think this is a white on black crime. Maybe that doesn't explain it away, but I would hate to see the reaction had all of the officers involved been white. 50 shots seems pretty extreme to me, but I wasn't there. New York would be a scary place to be a police officer and I bet I could put a few panic holes in any suspect at any given time. The dynamics of this story are tragic all around. These police officers were young men in a tough part of town. CNN explained what happened this way:
"Bell was killed just before dawn on his wedding day, November 25, 2006. He and several friends were winding up an all-night bachelor party at the Kalua Club in Queens, a strip club that was under investigation by a NYPD undercover unit looking into complaints of guns, drugs and prostitution. Undercover detectives were inside the club, and plainclothes officers were stationed outside. Witnesses said that about 4 a.m., closing time, as Bell and his friends left the club, an argument broke out. Believing that one of Bell's friends, Joseph Guzman, was going to get a gun from Bell's car, one of the undercover detectives followed the men and called for backup.
What happened next was at the heart of the trial, prosecuted by the assistant district attorney in Queens. Bell, Guzman and Trent Benefield got into the car, with Bell at the wheel. The detectives drew their weapons, said Guzman and Benefield, who testified that they never heard the plainclothes detectives identify themselves as police. Bell was in a panic to get away from the armed men, his friends testified.
But the detectives thought Bell was trying to run down one of them, believed that their lives were in danger and started shooting, according to their lawyers. A total of 50 bullets were fired by five NYPD officers. Only three were charged with crimes.
No gun was found near Bell or his friends. Soon after his death, Bell's fiancee, Nicole Paultre, legally changed her name to Nicole Paultre Bell. She is raising the couple's two daughters, ages 5 and 1."
This is a terrible tragedy let's hope justice was found. I tend to lean on the side of the police in this one. The media has been very vague in the details of this story perhaps to generate a controversial connection to the lacking facts. I feel like more information is needed to properly give a judgement. Nothing can explain away the pain of this woman whose fiance' was killed the night before their wedding. I do know that for sure.