I’m still so body-slammed by the Bell verdict.
I really wasn’t surprised, but it hurt my heart so much more than I expected it to. I mean, how much more obvious could it have been that there was culpability on the part of those officers? I — foolishly, it turns out — was so sure that in this case we’d see a different end. The officers shot fifty times into that car … one officer emptied his weapon, reloaded and kept on firing … a young man was dead when he had done nothing more criminal than choose to go to a strip club for his bachelor party.
On the way home last night, I saw three cops by the token booth at the Pacific Street entrance to the Atlantic Avenue station searching the bags of two young African American men (the bag checks are a random search thing the NYPD does to ensure terrorists aren’t getting onto the trains) … and maybe that wouldn’t have been so wrong-headed on another day … or if I’d ever seen them searching the bag of a white person (mostly I see them searching ‘Arab-looking’ men and once a pretty, young Latina who was trying to manage a folded stroller in one hand and a fiesty toddler with the other — not sure how she was managing the leering officer who stood much too close to her while his buddy checked her bag) … mabye it would have seemed less insensitive if they handn’t been joking with each other and laughing about something, and if it hadn’t been today — while they searched two brown-skinned boys after three of their brothers in blue had been acquitted of murdering another brown-skinned boy.
And I’m so offended that, while the now-acquitted officers had been drinking in the club (part of how they maintained their cover … the NYPD allows officers to have two drinks in such situations), it was never made clear how much they’d had to drink and their blood alcohol level was never measured. Meanwhile, Sean Bell — the dead man — had his blood alcohol level tested, and it was much publicized and even made to seem an important part of the case during the trial procedings. Because maybe the fact that he’d had too much to drink at his bachelor party justifies three police officers firing fifty times into his car? Because maybe if he had somehow survived he’d have been arrested for DUI? Because maybe it’s ok to slander the innocent dead guy so we can see the shooter cops walk?
Oh, I have to stop. There are too many things I could rail against. The end result would be the same. And I would still be left with this hopelessness.