Revolution #71, December 3, 2006
Cops Fire Over 50 Shots, Protests Planned
NYPD Guns Down Sean Bell on his Wedding Day
23-year-old Sean Bell was supposed to get married on Saturday, November 25. But in the early morning hours of that day, he was murdered by the NYPD.
Undercover cops fired at least 50 rounds of bullets into a car carrying Sean Bell and two of his friends as they left Bell's bachelor party in the Jamaica section of Queens. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly reported that one of his men fired his weapon 31 times, emptying two full magazines. News reports said Bell was shot in the neck, shoulder and right arm and died at the hospital. Two of Bell's friends who were in the car, 21-year-old Joseph Guzman and 23-year-old Trent Benefield, were hospitalized with multiple gun shot wounds.
The club where the bachelor party was held was under police surveillance, inside and outside the building. When Bell's car left the club, it ran into an unmarked van carrying some of the cops involved in the surveillance. And the cops responded with a barrage of deadly gunfire.
People visiting Guzman and Benefield at the hospital on Saturday found them handcuffed to their hospital beds. The two men had not been charged with any crime but the cops said they handcuffed the wounded men because they were unclear if the men were armed. This is an insulting justification from the cops who are acting as if they couldn't have frisked the men after they shot them down! Family members of the two victims said there had been no guns in their car that night. And an employee of the club said the men "weren't rowdy or nothing like that" at the club prior to the shooting.
NY Mayor Bloomberg called for calm and said it was too early to draw any conclusions about the incident. But many people remember how in 1999 NYPD cops killed Amadou Diallo, an unarmed West African immigrant, shooting him 19 times. And many people are responding to this killing with grief and outrage.
On Sunday, November 26, more than 500 people gathered outside the hospital where Sean Bell's friends are recovering. They marched through the neighborhood to the police station and back to the hospital demanding justice. Calls have been issued for the police to explain what happened and why. A rally is planned for December 6 that will focus on this murder.
Commenting on this whole incident, Carl Dix, National Spokesperson of the RCP, said: "This is another in a long line of murders committed by the NYPD. We've seen NY cops brutalize, torture and murder people time after time, and they almost never get punished for any of these foul crimes. This is part of the continuing nationwide epidemic of police brutality and police murder. It must be met with continued mass resistance. And it is important to uncover the truth about this kind of official brutality. This state-sanctioned brutality is built into the framework of this rotten system we're living under, and it will take proletarian revolution to end this and everything else foul this system forces people to endure once and for all."
Revolution (revcom.us) will be following the developments in this case as they unfold.
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