Sunday, April 27, 2008

An Unfortunate Truth

As much as I hate to tarnish my Twin’s birthday by adding another post above it, I feel like I have to speak on this issue real quick. Now, as well all know, our blogs-like our homes-are considered a safe place where you should feel free to have an open and honest dialogue without the fear of being attack or belittled. Now, all that being said, I am going to address the tragedy which is the death of Sean Bell and the fact that the officer involved were acquitted. Now, I will admit that I hadn’t keep up with the case, but after seeing mention of it in a couple of blogs, I Goggled Mr. Bell’s name and recalled the incident if not all the detail surrounding it.

The back story:
On November 25, 2006 Mr. Bell, along with two of his friends were the victims of a police shooting, that left 23 year old Mr. Bell dead and his two friends, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield wounded. The events which led up to the shooting are as follows: The police are at Club Kalua, a cabaret joint in a neighborhood that is, for the most part, residential, investigating reports of drugs and prostitution (which, as you can imagine, they got calls out the ass about if this was in a residential neighborhood). There was one female officer inside of the location, working undercover. Outside was her cover, also in plainclothes in two unmarked vehicles (unmarked cars are just your everyday, run of the mill cars that have normally been confiscated by the police from felonies. In most cases they do not have the MDC-which are our in car computers-nor mounted radios).

It just so happened that Mr. Bell and twenty of his friends had come to Club Kalua for Mr. Bell’s bachelor party. The exact time they arrived at the location is unclear and irrelevant in my mind. A witness inside of the club said the gathering of men eating from a platter of rice and chicken, but not causing any type of a disturbance. However, around three that morning the undercover female overheard one of the dancers go tell her supervisor about a patron inside the place being armed. It was an hour after this news was passed on to said supervisor that the Mr. Bell and some of his friends left from inside of the club and a fight was reported to have broken out outside. Now, keep in mind that it was unclear who exactly was involved in the fight but it was clear that when it broke up the parties involved split into two groups.

Four men were seen getting into Mr. Bell’s car, which was a Nissan Altima, and drive about a half a block east on 94th Ave and then turn south onto Liverpool St. It is there that Mr. Bell’s vehicle (and it does not say who was driving Mr. Bell’s car when this occurred) is said to have plowed into the driver’s side of an unmarked police minivan, supposedly just avoiding a head-on collision. Witness at the scene said that the Mr. Bell’s car then went into reverse, suddenly, backed up onto a sidewalk where an undercover officer was standing, and then pulled forward and rammed the minivan a second time. That is when Police opened fire (I’m sorry folks, but in or out of uniform I am gonna shoot, if I am working as a cop. The first time might have been an accident, but the second sounds like a willful act and it is considered a deadly force situation. Mr. Bell and his friend were unarmed but in that scenario they wouldn’t have needed to be. A car is considered to be a deadly weapon).

Okay, that is what happened that night, according to the police investigation. And if New York’s IAD division is anything like ours hear, they went and spoke to everyone one that lived in the area, that was at the club and so on. Al Sharpton wouldn’t have had to call for the event to be investigated, because all police shooting are investigated in this day in age. Now, it is hard for me to speak about what happens in New York because I am unschooled on their policies, so I’ll just move on to the hard facts.

Fact: There were 50 shell casing found out at the location, all belonging to the officers involved, since we know that the men were unarmed. There were five detectives implicated in the shooting. A standard 9mm hand gun’s magazine clip will hold 15 rounds. If you count the one in the chamber that adds up to sixteen; sixteen times five equal eighty. So we know that there were only fifty of the eighty rounds fired. Okay, before you get all up and armed about my saying ONLY FIFTY, let me explain something to you about human nature and the things we do just out of reflex. As a matter of fact, I will give you a case in point.

Remember the post I wrote about the woman whose husband attempted to kill her before turning the gun on himself? Well, right before that happened, I and another officer responded to a burglary in progress, inside of an apartment complex. When we get there, we find the front door of the upstairs apartment kicked in. We advised the dispatcher of our finding and let her know that we are making entry into the location. Now, anytime you are preparing to search any place you already have your guns out and ready. We push open the door and yell out, POLICE DEPARTMENT! COME OUT AND SHOW ME YOU’RE HANDS! Well, I’ll be damn if a young man, who happened to be black didn’t come walking around the corner, just as easy as you please. If you could have seen the oh shit look on his face. As soon as we see him the one officer drops to his knees in front of me and now we have guns pointed right at this kid (he was nineteen years old). We are telling him, very loudly to get on show us his hands and to get on the ground. Now you would think that your normal instinct, if you have just broken into an apartment and you walk into the living room to find two officer with guns pointed at your person, would be to throw your hands up in the air at the very least. Now, you might try to explain yourself, but still you should be attempting to do everything within your power to listen to what those officers are saying so as not to get shot. This young man keeps reaching behind him and was not complying with our directions in the least. I honestly remember think that this kid is going to make me kill him (and this was the closest I’d come to actually shooting somebody during my ten years on the Department).

So you know what this idiot did? Nope, he never even attempted to comply with our orders. He’s dumb ass turned tail and ran into the bathroom behind him, so he could flush the drugs and jewelry he had on him. Can you believe that shit? Now, trust me, if we had shot and killed him it would have been more than justified, even though he was unarmed. And, I know yall hate to hear it, but we are not trained to shoot to wound. If we take out our guns it means we are in a deadly force situation and we are meant to take out that threat. Sorry, but that is just the way it is folks. And the reality is that if I had pulled my trigger on that kid, the officer below me natural reaction would also be to pull his trigger and vise-a-versa. And although you don’t want to believe it, one that trigger is pulled and the adrenaline is pumping through your body. You are not aware of how many times you fired. As a matter of fact, we I think about that night, I also think of the positioning that me and the officer were in. He was position right under me. If he had decided to get up while I was shooting, I would have shot him right in the head.
Anyway, that is why so many shots were fired. It is not like they empted their clips and reloaded. However and please get this right, fifty shots were fired, but not all of them made contact. Mr. Bell was not shot fifty times.

Fact: Everything in this world is not racially motivated. Now don’t get me wrong, a lot of things are and I’ll be the first to say it, but not all things are. I will also be the first to say that the justice system does not always play fair when it comes to black people and all things black. But every police shooting is not racially motivated. Some officers are quicker to react when the culprit is black, but that is just some, not all. And I don’t believe that to be the case in this incident. Of the five officers involved three where black and only two white. And I know at least one of the black officers were up for the charge of man slaughter.

Fact: Three of the five officers involved were indicted by the Grand Jury for the shooting. To be indicted means to be formally charged with a crime or wrongdoing.

Fact: Even with an indictment, it is extremely hard for a police officer to be convicted of a crime such as manslaughter. The reason why is not going to make yall happy, but it is a reality. As an officer, as long as you can articulate that you were working under the color of the law, and you were genuinely in fear of your life, the courts are going to find you not guilty. That’s it. Plain and simple. (Please don’t ask about the Rodney King incident, because we all know that was a travesty of the law, plain and simple. I could explain the beating, because it goes back to a gang mentality, but I can never explain why those officers got off. I cry racism all day long on that one).

Fact: Officers have a hard job. They go out and potentially put their lives on the line on a daily basis. People expect the police to be miracle workers and handle every problem in the book. You walk a line between what is right and wrong and a select few fall over to the wrong side of that line and yet we all pay the consequences for the handful of crooked ones. Sounds a lot like being black, huh? Trust me when I say that officers do not put on their uniforms, to go to work, with the idea in mind that they are going to see who they can kill tonight. The police mentality is that I am going to go to work, hopefully prevent a crime from happening and take my happy ass home safe when my day is through.

Fact: Police are people too. They were not born into that uniform and they lead everyday lives like you. If they are put into a position where it is their lives verses someone else’s, who do you think is going to win out in that decision? That being said, they still have to live with the fact that they took a life, no matter how justified they might have been. Now, don’t get me wrong. There are some sick bastards on the department that have taken lives and not giving it a second thought, but that just goes back to police being people. There are good and bad everywhere.

In closing, I did not create this post to make light of the lost off Mr. Bell’s life, nor the pain that his family and friends have and continue to suffer. Let's face it, we now have two little girls that will ever now the joy of having a loving father in thier lives. I am just attempting to get people to be a little more open minded and see the whole picture and not just a corner. I personally think the loss of a life is tragic, and I pray for the hearts and sole of all the families involved. And that includes that of the officers.

-One Man’s Opinion. Peace.


JayBee said...

*silent round of applause* when i clicked and read i already knew that you were gonna help everyone understand why the officers did what they did. i knew that part. what i didn't anticipate was your being able to so eloquently deconstruct the events of that night and the facts of the case. i was incensed when i heard of the decision, but now that i know more based on what you've shared i can see why the officers fired. still not on that whole "adrenaline rush..i don't know how many times i fired" thing, but at least what you present can help people understand what happened that night and why. of course for some this still won't be enough. i dismissed the racial motivation thing because i know that two of the officers who were acquitted are black. i always felt there was more to the story, but i never took the time to research it for myself. the only thing i find lacking is i'd like to know exactly how many bullets made contact with bodies. it's my understanding that the homeboys also sustained some injuries. didn't know that you all were trained to kill if you draw your weapons. i like the semantics of 'remove the threat.'

Homer is My Co-pilot said...

You know I always try to explain to people that police are humans and sometimes they are just scared. If I thought some dude was going to run me over my first reaction would be to shoot too. It's a shame what happened and in the end it sounds like it was huge communication failure between the officers and Mr. Bell and his friends but I knew the officers would get off.

You made plenty of excellent points, this was a good post from an officers point of view.

fuzzy said...

Very nice disection. I think i will have to change my viewpoint. I didn't know much of any details of this situation. Thanks...

Curious said...

Hear, Hear! You are absolutely right, everyone should feel free to have an open and honest discussion on their own blogs and for that I applaud you.

Where you and I will always differ however is the belief that the police have the right to behave as humans in cases where they have the ability to decide life and death issues by what they carry in the palms of their hands. I believe they should be held to a higher standard. I believe they should know the difference between acting in "a wilding" and neutralizing a situation. They should know when after emptying an entire clip and then changing it to empty another that maybe their should be some thought as to de-escalating the situation and I'm sorry I forgot the officers name who did that. But I believe that when Joseph Guzman who was sitting in the passenger seat of the car and had received 12 bullets to his body there might have been some pause taken to re-evaluate what was going on. When the car had come to a halt and was no longer being used as a weapon perhaps the threat no longer existed.

Now I have never held or shot a firearm in my life before, so I don't know how easy or hard it is to stop firing a semi-automatic weapon but some sort of discussion needs to held about either the procedure, the weapon or the people employed to protect and serve the the public. No community, New York or any other should be allowed to suffer in fear from the police because of actions like this.

Thoughts of a Southern gal said...

Correction, one officer did empty his clip, reloaded, and emptied it again. At one point he should have realized nobody was shooting at him. One officer only fired 4 times because he realized "no one was shooting back". Sean was shot 31 times. One guy 12. It took me awhile to understand (really I wasn't trying to see it) why they open fired but 50 shots?! I agree with Curious "when the car had come to a halt(Sean Bell was driving, by the way) and was no longer being used as a weapon perhaps the threat no longer existed". If I'm leaving the club tipsy, just got into it with someone, then see someone standing in front of the car yelling, I'm mobbing out too. It's really a sad situation all the way around. I agree with your facts. Officers do have a hard job. A job I would never do. You mentioned it is extremely hard for an officer to be convicted. I believe that! Really I'm not 100% confident with NYPD during the shooting and NYPD during the investigation. But at the same time, the prosector didn't do a good job. Oh, just because 2 black officers were involved doesn't mean it wasn't racially motivated. It's called racial profiling.

Thoughts of a Southern gal said...

Forgot about my question. If the car was seen as the weapon, why didn't they shoot out the tires? What are yall trained to do?

That Girl Tam said...


This was a brilliant post. I can't believe I read the whole thing (because lawd knows the shit was long - kinda like my latest post).

In a past life I was a law student (please don't ask how I became an accountant). The first thing that I learned was that the laws were not written to be FAIR...they are LAWS meant to be upheld - fair or not.

Yes, one would tend to reflect on the Rodney King event when looking at this case...and I LIVE in Los Angeles and remember like it was yesterday they day the beating went down, the day the verdicts were read and the hours shortly afterwards when my city went up in flames. Yes, you are correct - that was racism all day long

Now having the full details of this case, although it is still tragic, I have a better sense of the thought process behind the entire incident. I applaud officers who put that uniform on everyday to protect people like me (and my children). Again, the whole thing is sad - and perhaps it was wrong place at that wrong time - because that too DOES HAPPEN.

Thank you for shedding some light. I hope people will really take the facts to heart.

dejanae said...

great post
i've heard similar deconstructions from a bootleg psychology professor and on pbs
However, the police department’s policy on shooting at moving vehicles states: “Police officers shall not discharge their firearms at or from a moving vehicle unless deadly force is being used against the police officers or another person present, by means other than a moving vehicle.”
The incident and subsequent acquittal only served to increase the public distrust of police
1999-Amadou Diallo, unarmed West African immigrant shot 19 times the 4 officers in that case were acquitted of criminal charges. 2003-Ousmane Zongo, 43, killed during a police raid on a warehouse where he repaired art and musical instruments. Zongo was shot four times, twice in the back

circumstances not withstanding, im sure everyone will agree that a tragedy took place on that day

-eve- said...

An engrossing post. It's good to get an insider's view; ppl who aren't police can't easily picture what being one is like (and I guess I wouldn't choose to be one... it's not easy :- ))

One Man’s Opinion said...

See, that is where you are wrong, Dear Curious. I do agree with the fact that police should be held to a higher level. Since we enforce the law I don't think we should break the law. I don't think we should drink and drive. I don't think we should abuse our spouses. I don't think we should get drunk and get into bar brawls. And, since I wouldn't do those things, even if I were not a cop, it makes it easy for me to not do those things as a cop. However, since police are human, some of the things that that are predisposed to do as human are hard to stop.
As far as training in the use of fire arms. Sorry, although I hope not to ever have to use my gun to kill anybody, you best believe that if I have to put it and use it I will remove that threat and live with my decision later. We have extensive training in fire arms control ans safety. One of the basic rule are that all gun are to be consider always loaded and to keep you finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard unless you are on target and intend to shot. That was the case with the teen in the apartment. My finger never went onto that trigger until he was failing to comply and keep putting his hand behind him. The reality is that you only have a split second to make a decision and you want to make the one that is gonna keep you alive, not the bad guy (like it or not). But the reason that we are taught to keep our fingers off the trigger and outside of the trigger guard is for safety reason. We don't want accidental discharges and that impluse to squeeze the trigger if spooked.

Jaybee, Bell was struck four times, in the neck and torso. Guzman was shot 19 times and Benefield was shot three times.

To further illustrate how badly this shooting was, it was reported that one of the bullets fired by the officers shattered a station window and just missed a civillian and two Port Authority Police officers.

Southern Girl I do stand corrected. One of the officers did empty his clip and re-load. Now that bastard was just nuts and should have been convicted. I will not even attempt to justify that crap. However, let me correct you as well. You shot could on each person is drasticly off. Shawn was 31 years old, he was not shot 31 times. And I agree that just because two of the officers were black does not mean that it was not racially motivated. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. But, I stand by the fact that not everything is race related (unless I say it is, of course). And as far as the car stopping meaning the threat has ended. I'm sorry, but that is bull. If you doubt me, check out the youtube video of the officers that walked up to the car that had wrecked out to see if the passangers were okay. The teens in that car opened fire on those officer and they just barely got away with their lives. I'm sorry, but the only people that know what is inside that car are the people inside that car. And being a cop, I'm gonna just assume you have a gun. Now you might think that is wrong. But I want you to see how it feels to make an arrest and then search the vehicle and find that that person had a gun underneth his seat. A gun that you were not aware of and that he could have used on you as you were walking up to the car to make your arrest. The point is you don't know. Sorry. These are just the realities of life as a police officer people.
Once again, Southern Gal. I can't speak for New York PD, but here, were are thought to eliminate the threat. Shooting out tires will not stop a car from moving. And I'm not going to be laying underneth a car thinking "damn, that didn't work." The threat is the person driving the car.

Oh, and one thing I didn't mention in the post, but meant to. I wanted to applaud the people that were at the trail when the officer got off. They were distraught and mortified, and even shouted out their disappointment and rage, but they never became unruly to the point of violence and I thing that shows great progress.

This is great discussion. I love it. This is hard for me, because I have a loyalty to my people of color and to my people in blue. How sad is that.

Curious said...

I see some wavering.

Thoughts of a Southern gal said...

I don't know how I typed him being shot 31 times lol because I knew he wasn't shot that many times. The officer that reloaded fired his weapon 31 times.

Anyway, I've heard alot of people say they aren't surprise by the verdict. I'm more surprise at the acquittals across the board. Mr. "I'm going to reload", should have at least been convicted of the lesser charged of wreckless endangerment. There is no way you can tell me that unloading your weapon, taking the time to RELOAD, then unloading it again on an unarmed man is justified. It could have been worse because they could have easily wounded someone passing by or in an adjacent building.

That's why I ask about the car being seen as a weapon because I didn't know. Now I understand and I agree.

This is exactly why I am down with Chris Rock and his skit on how to deal with the police - no sudden moves, speak politely - no profanity, hands on steering wheel, etc.

We will probably never know exactly what happen that night. You have some say they identified themselves at cops then you have some say they didn't (including one officer who said he didn't hear no one say they are the cops).

I still say black men are enemy #1to SOME cops. I can recall seeing a few incidents of drunk white men and women spit on cops, punch at them, everything. The officers would show massive restraint. Reverse that to a brother doing that. All hells breaks loose.

Another question (don't curse me out). But is it normal for an undercover officer to approach someone? If you are undercover aren't you suppose to be incognito?

From my understanding, Sean Bell and his friends went a separate way from the dude they got into it with. One cop approached their car and probably didn't identify himself. They are drunk, his boys just had words with someone and then see a dude in front of their car that's dressed just like them and he's drawing a weapon. I'm sure they weren't thinking "that's an undercover cop. Let me stop and see what he wants". Was the car a "weapon" or the most expedient way of getting away from a suspect situation.

I'm just typing now. lol But I think all of them(officers and the victims) made bad decisions that night.

Gotta Let it Out said...

Very insightful post, and discussion..

I admit I wasn't up on this case as I should have been until the verdict was reached. Just as everyone has stated, I was outraged and disgusted when I heard the officers got off. Now... after reading such a detailed descripition and having the viewpoint of a black man in blue, I feel like I've seen both sides of the story.

It makes more sense now, and I appreciate you sharing your thoughts... very insightful.

One Man’s Opinion said...

Okay, I'm gonna go back to Southern Gal. Like I said, I missed the part were the guy emptied and reloaded. That was uncalled for. He is required to show restrain and not just go shooting wildly. Still, if he could justify himself in the minds of the courts there was never anyway he was going to be convicted.
In answer to your question, it depends on what the undercover is doing. They will purchase drugs, make contact with prostitutes, ext. However, when it comes to making an arrest, no they are not suppose to do that. Well, not in in our Department they don't. If they find theirselves making an arrest they will put on thier raid jackets that i.d. them as police. Otherwised they will call for a marked unit.
And like you said, we will never know exactly what went on out there. I believe that the unmarked was hit and that the officers probably thought they were about to get hit again. What is unclear is why they would have intentionally been ramming the car to begin with. I also don't believe that the undercover's identified themselves, right away, as police. I believe that was probably an after thought. Sometimes police get it into their mind that people are just suppose to know they are the big bad men in blue. I would love to see the transcripts of the investigation itself. Their are a lot of empty holds in everybody's story, because everybody had a motive to lie.
Now, as far as bad judgement being made by all, I have to disagree with you there. The passangers in the car had no control over the actions of the driver. The driver, if we believe the events of that night, put everyone in harms way. The passengers might have just been reacting to the aftermath of everything. If I'm in a car where people are shooting first and asking questions later, I'm breaking ass too (especially since we have so many incidents of people inpersonating the police over here). You just don't know. Me personally, if you are telling me you are police, you better be in complete uniform, driving a squad car or with someone that is. At any rate, the threat was the driver only, everyone else should have been considered just potential threats. I totally agree that 50 shots was over kill and I could explain it away with the gang mentality theory, but I can never explain away dropping a clip, reloading and firing again.
They should have shot, took cover and behind the van, and reassested the situation before firing again. Which two of the officers did.

VertigoVirgo said...

no comment least not now.

Ieisha said...

interesting post and even more interesting are the comments. I thought about writing a blog about it. Especially in light of Wesley getting time for not paying his taxes and these officers being acquitted of the charges.

I was waiting for you to explain the law enforcement side of things because I knew you would.

From what I've learned in Criminal Law on deadly force, using it and the training that officers received, I understand why the shooting happened. I understand why the officers were acquitted. I may not agree with why the officers shot nor will I agree with the verdict but the justice system is designed as such for a reason.

The prosecution had the burden of proof to present their case so a jury would be able to find those 3 officers guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. There were some issues with their case and how they presented it.

Nicole Paultre Bell has a civil case pending against those officers and she'll probably win that one because the burden of proof is significantly less in a civil case because all you can be awarded are money damages. And in the end, no amount of money will bring Sean Bell back.

Regardless of the outcome, the situation is still tragic.

I applaud you on taking the minority view on this topic and schooling the blog world on the flip-side of the game.

Interestingly enough, I'm reading a book called "The Race Card" and what it means when race and bias ins interjected into events.

Great post though.

One Man’s Opinion said...

Ieisha,you were one of the two that prompted me to post on this bad boy. I want to say Raw Dawg was the other. So it's all your fault.
I gotta stand up for my people, black and I got to stand up for my people, in blue. All are misunderstood and sometime judged unfairly.

cathouse teri said...

Very well said.

Thoughts of a Southern gal said...

From what I read, Joseph Guzman(the one who was shot 12 times) told Sean to "go" after one of the undercover cops stood in front of the car. Apparently, they didn't know what was about to go down b/c they just had words with someone. That was when Sean rammed into the undercover car; he was trying to get away.

Ok I agree with you, the driver made the bad judgement b/c he was the one behind the wheel with his foot on the gas. But the cops made some bad calls too. Just like you, I don't think they identified themselves either. I really think it would have been a different outcome if they did.

"Me personally, if you are telling me you are police, you better be in complete uniform, driving a squad car or with someone that is"....I agree. That's why I ask was it normal for an undercover to approach someone if the person isn't directly involved in the sting the cops are working on.

"They should have shot, took cover and behind the van, and reassested the situation before firing again".....that's why people are mad b/c they didn't do this. They just kept shooting and shooting and shooting.

This whole thing boggles my mind. This whole situation could have been avoided.

Thoughts of a Southern gal said...

Thanks for the insightful comments. I'm learning a little something something. lol

Shazza Nakim said...

One Man you know I am about to come for you with this one BUT I won't do it here out of respect.

I will tell you this, your posting has about 40% accuracy. Most of what you have posted is what the media was fed from Police reports.

In this situation, the Activism isn't about the police and their actions because behind closed doors the NYPD know they were wrong on this one from beginning to end. What the endgame in the decision is that the NYPD's tactics, the way they investigate, training, constantly growing mistakes are taking innocent lives with no repercussions. In essence, the NYPD (and notice I am not say POLICE) by policy can shoot and kill people and use the argument is Intent, Body Language or Self Defense in ALL SITUATIONS involving Blatantly Innocent Killings, especially when they are shooting of people in the back and or 50 bullets on unarmed people.

I will be posting on my Blog the events vs. the transcripts vs. the Exaggerated reports of what Al Sharpton "Said" and "Did" during the trial. But Not here.

Desy said...

thank you One... some people DEFINATELY needed some clarification with this and you actually offered me a place to send them...

u da bomb

Eb the Celeb said...

thanks for giving your perspective as a result of being an officer... but I still feel its a bunch of crap that they were acquitted of all the charges.

NYPD gets away with a lot of crap on the daily... ALOT.... this isnt the first time its happened and it wont be the last.

Shazza Nakim said...

For those interested, I will detail the events behind closed doors from the source.
There is no doubt that the NYPD would want you to believe that they were doing their job BUT many things where downplayed during the shooting such as:

1. The NYPD allowed the individual that "allegedly" had a gun who was outside and in front of the Club leave and followed Sean Bell and company two black away from the club to their car and NEVER confronted them.

2. It was “hearsay” about someone having a gun and it was by "one" officer with no other officer noting, reporting, seeing or hearing about any of the patrons having a gun. Not even the supervisor or head officer knew of a potential “gun” until after the 50 shoots and a death occurred.

3. The NYPD tried to block from the media that the “Undercover Officers” involved in the shooting were drinking. It was reported that they had more than 2 alcoholic drinks prior to the shooting.

4. The fact that when the offers confronted Sean Bell and company, they did not identify themselves. The bystanders also reported this. Keep in mind, they just had an altercation with someone as they were leaving so tensions and emotions were high as Sean Bell and company were leaving.

5. The Sean Bell's erratic car driving was due to his trying to get away from being shoot from multiply guns from multiple directions and not because he all of a sudden what to trying and run over the people (undercover police officers).

6. The wild shootings were so haphazard that the bullets were hitting other cars, buildings and publicly own area and caught on video tapped as part of the street camera and MTA platform camera records and can be found online. One those tapes you witnessed how the bullets shot almost hit innocent bystanders.

7. In the transcripts of the court, two Undercover Officers knew that Sean Bell and company were civil and non-problematic the whole time they were in the lounge and stated that the person the NYPD had let go was the agitator.

8. When Joseph Guzman was under sedation the NYPD was getting statements without an attorney present (which they used against him stating that his initial statement was inconsistent.

9. No one reported how the NYPD that same evening while the two were in SEPARATE HOSPITALS entered both Guzman and Benefield's home looking for drugs and weapons -- which they Didn’t Find and got a warrant after the fact for doing it.

10. No one Officer testified that they ever "saw" a gun and compared noted prior to pursuing Sean Bell and company.

11. No one pressed as to why the NYPD allowed the one suspected with having a GUN leave and pursued Sean Bell. No description, no license plate number, no interviews from the patrons as to if they knew him or was a regular, not even a follow up investigation.

…. And this is from the NYPD. I will detail the court events on my blog.

Big O said...

After reading your blog, i had to take a day to let it all sit in. I would of responded in anger, rage, and pure frustration. So, i decided to wait till the next morning to post a comment. I do respect that you stood up for your fellow boys in blue, but thats where it stops.

In being real, a human, you have to call a spade a spade...wrong doing is wrong doing . Some one already mentioned the flaws in which you portrayed the evenings in which Sean Bell was murdered (yes, i said murdered).

Years ago, I actually applied for the Detroit Police Department. I passed the agility and written test. I was on my way. But i got this gut feeling..a feeling that i wasn't ready to take on the HUGE responsibility that comes along with being a police officer. I couldn't do that job whole heartedly, like someone would have to do. I knew that this responsibility wasn't a job for the pay...because i feel that to do a job like that, the ones who truly protect and serve, should be paid WELL above the salaries that they are paid.

I watch day after day, police who misuse there powers. Constantly running red lights, talking down to the people who there are to protect and serve, making us...the citizens, feel like shit when we are wrong done.

How in the world can the shooting of Sean Bell not be at the LEAST, reckless? But tax evasion, dog fighting, ill stock get jail time for . But these men, gets nothing at all for that evening events.

Sickens me to know that theres a court system where was judged to set men free who did such a thing. Its real heard to find the truth or what actually happened in this case. So many outlets telling there translation of how this evening occurred.

I thing you said that i agree with ..those officers have to live with that night, for the rest of there lives....forever. And that can be the ultimate punishment. And one day, can be judged by a higher Power. But me....couldn't live life knowing that wrong i did and was set to live life like i did no wrong doing...just couldn't do it.


Thoughts of a Southern gal said...


2. In the initial interview with the officers, none of them mentioned someone having a gun. Even the dude who they had words with said he didn't hear no mention of a gun.

3. But it got out. That's why they changed the law after this killing requiring undercover cops to take a breath test if they are involved in a shooting.

4. Same thing I was saying. They had no way of knowing they were undercover cops. For all they knew, it was the dude they had words with.

I haven't heard about them searching their home. Interesting...

I don't like how the judge made part of his decision on the victims past and demeanor on the stand. Guzman had every right to be agitated and angry on the stand. He was shot 12 times for no reason, still has 4 bullets in his body, and is walking with a cane. I'll be agitated too.

Shazza, you just prove why why I said I'm not confident with NYPD during the shooting and investigation.

Shazza Nakim said...

This is why this isn't about the Undercover Officers, this is about the NYPD as a whole and the Legal System in NYC.

The Trainning, the Selection Process, their Pay is a factor, their ability to confer and give statements DAYS later, their lack of RECURRENT (that is when one has to go back through their trainning so that they and the system know they recall they skills).

The ISSUE is with the decision. HOW the courts need to be accountable as well. The arrogance fom the Judge and the words he use not only are socially insensitive but Racial. His (close) connection to the NYPD was and is a CONFLICT OF INTEREST.

We can scream and shout about the NYPD all day and we as NY'ers are and should BUT lets not loose focus .... it was the JUDGE that aborted the Justice because like he said, the NYPD were doing their job against individuals with "questionable characters". You can't see character, you can only judge it after the fact. It wasn't until after the fact that Sean Bell (good character) and company (tarnish but reformed character) was researched did we even know but having a bad character as they would say merits being shot at 50 times. If that was the case, I know a lot of Politicians, Entertainers, CEO's, Religious figures and a few dozen familiy members that would require 350 shots apiece.

Jennifer Abel said...

I'm sorry, but "I was really, really, really scared" is not a legitimate excuse for killing an innocent person. At the very least, any police officer who makes such a dreadful mistake should be barred from ever wearing the badge or being given legal authority over others again. Innocent people being gunned down like dogs in the street is what police are supposed to prevent, not cause.

I also cannot understand the mentality which says "If a total stranger walks up to you and says 'Hey, I'm a cop,' you are legally required to take his word for it rather than demand a badge or some other form of proof." Back in Virginia in the late 1980s there was a serial killer called the Parkway Killer who was never caught, but police and FBI speculated that his modus operandi was to pose as an undercover officer and pull his victims over. And yet, at the time the cops still said that if you were driving on the Colonial Parkway at night and an unmarked car flashed his lights at you, you were still required to pull over.

Officer Eric Cartman of the South Park police force might justify this by saying that putting people at risk of murder is preferable to giving them an excuse to disrespect an undercover cops' "authoritah"; I don't know what justification a non-sociopath would use, though.

cathouse teri said...

I think this was a very tragic situation that was made worse by the frenzy of human response.

Yes, a police officer is taught to shoot to kill. They are not taught to draw their weapon unless there is a threat to human life. At this point, the officers were probably justified, even if possibly mistaken about some of the fuzzy details. It is also clear that certainly one officer was in an unjustifiable rage and emptied and reloaded, as if he were in a war zone. The officers surely must have noticed that they were not at any point receiving return fire.

But then, I wasn't there. What do I know?

Police should defintely be held to a higher standard. It can't just be written off as, "Oh well. They're only human." Even though, that is true. They are.

I just wish that racial issues didn't cloud things. I wish the power, and abuse of power, of the men in blue didn't cloud things. It all seems so clear to some of us standing by to sort out what was what. But it's not clear to me. I'm just glad I don't have the job of judging this case. It's hard enough having to judge the cases in my own little life and having the armchair quarterbacks come around and tell me how they would have done it so much better.

cathouse teri said...

Sure puts things in perspective. All I'm talking about at my place is sex!

One Man’s Opinion said...

Clearly this post touched a lot of people. I like what cathouse teri had to say: "I just wish that racial issues didn't cloud things. I wish the power, and abuse of power, of the men in blue didn't cloud things. It all seems so clear to some of us standing by to sort out what was what."

Saidly, Teri, racial issues will always cloud issues, especially when it comes to the justice system. Because of a legacy of injustice and hatred my people have a distrust of officers, even when those officers look like them. That is why, even when we are wrong we shout racial profiling. And don't think for a second that I don't believe racial profiling is alive and well in police departments all over the world; however evertime a black man has contact with a police officer it is not because they are freaking black. Racial Profiling has become like the race card. Hell, even white people are crying Racial Profiling. Well, damn it, maybe you just did something wrong.

One of the reasons that I, as an officer, try not to backseat quarterback the actions of other officers is because I was not there. I'll tell you right now things that make other officers draw there guns are not the same things that make me draw mine. When I draw my gun it is because procedure requires me to or I am in a life or death situation. That being said, it is not for me or anyone else to decide when anybody feels that their life is in danger. I wish people would try to take emotions out of it and look at this open mindedly. That is what I was attempting to do in this post (and I guess I kind of sucked at it).
I am not saying that the officers are right or wrong, I am just trying to get you to see the other side of the equation. Seriously, police stations offer people the chance to do ride alongs. I really think that it is important that people take advantage of this. It offers you the chance to see how the system works, and see what kind of cliental your police officers have to put up with. If you ride with a honest to goodness, hard working officer, it can be an eye opening experience.
When people ride with me, they have one heck of a time. Especially if it is a busy night. They get to see first hand, irrate prisoners, domestic violence, people murdered and so on.

I appreciate all of the responses.

Anyway, I am going to check out Shazza's post and then I'm going to post about the abusive relationship my little, soon to be three years old, nephew is in.

Big O said...

Thanks bro for hitting my page up.

Im glad my people can share our thought on a platform and can still act like adults.

Pretty sure we as people gonna disagree on alot of topics, and im cool with that.

Your posting def fueled my fire to post more...gimme a couple days, but check em out soon .

cathouse teri said...

Mister One Man: I do not at all think you sucked at it. You did a great job of getting people to see another angle. Of getting people to think. Especially since you are black. I don't think anyone would take your statements as seriously if a white police officer made them.

I was married to a police officer for ten years. I know the things of which you speak. I also know that racial profiling is definitely alive and well. And that the justice system is far from just.

But it's good to have a place where people can just talk about it. These things should make us all feel. God forbid we should ever read about something like this and just shrug and say, "Ah well. We'll let the authorities figure it out."

We know too well that the authorities are very often not to be trusted.

Shazza Nakim said...

I'm sorry Cathouse Teri but I am going to have to disagree and challenge you on this. EVEN IF One Man's Opinion was White, Brown, Yellow Green or Purple .. the 'OTHER SIDE OF THE ANGLE' would not make this issue less of an ISSUE.

It was and was that same THINKING that the NYPD used by having the BLACK LAWYERS do the trial so that the PUBLIC wouldn't think that is was a Racial Issue. As the NYPD continue to speak to the media, they are using BLACK REPRESENTATIVES as their mouth-piece.

I can't help but comment on here knowing that the owner of the Blog is a police officer and out of respect I say "THE NYPD" because not all Officers are BAD and Deficient in their duties BUT if you are trained to see BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLE AS ANIMALS AND PEOPLE WITH CHARACTER FLAWS then you will Police as such and have people shot in the back, people by ACCIDENT fall of roofs, Mothers while holding babies in their arms being tackled to the ground like linebackers and or being shot while in your car seat 31 times.

The Police walking the streets here are nervous and stressed because they are feeling the pressure on both sides, knowing that their brethren had crossed the line and the other knowing that they have this CODE OF SILENCE where they have to support what they did.

cathouse teri said...

Shazza, of course just because there were black officers involved, and black players in the justice game does not at all remove the issue of race. Sure, no matter what your race, you are going to feel pulled to remain loyal to the life you daily live.

There were many details involved in the case that were not plainly stated. And I don't think anyone would or should take the opinions of one person and run with them. I think One Man is just saying how all of this looks from where he is. Since we are not police officers, he wanted to share how that view contributes to his own opinion.

I am not at all sure what factors would be considered if we all here were really responsible to make a genuine call regarding this case.

Cops do get way with far too much. And no, not all cops are bad. But I have to say, most are. I'm sorry, but that has been my experience. And I've been closely involved with many of them. How to stop that? I don't know. One step at a time.

Yes, we should all react to this story as if that boy were our own relative. Maybe we would throw some personal passion in the direction of the powers that be. Maybe we should all react to every injustice as if it were a personal attack on our own families.

If I were the mother of that young man, I might be singing an entirely different song.

As for One Man and his opinion, I have nothing but respect for his desire to simply share how his experiences color his view.

The Last King Of Scotland said...

coming from scotland this shooting thing is bizarre to me and i would never understand why you guys have to carry guns. most of the civilised world do not carry guns and DO have a lower crime rate than the U.S. i feel some officers join the force to act out their fiendish perversions of shooting to kill

Shazza Nakim said...

For a working understanding as to WHY AMERICA LOVE THEIR GUNS, you should find a copy of Michael Moore's documentary, "Bowling for Columbine".

Just to put out there for the people that think I am a Bleeding Heart Liberal Passivities, I am not anti-gun JUST anti-CRAZY IGNANT PEOPLE with Guns.

I am not anti-Police, JUST anti-PEOPLE, Racial Enforced Policy Policing. LAWD KNOWS that when my house is broken into, I'm Calling the Police.

And I am not anti-Military, I am anti-Expansionary, manipulated and misuse of it. LAWD KNOWS if Canada decided to attack or invade Upstate New York, I want the Air Force to show some muscle .... LOL

naijalines said...

It's always a difficult one - the police officer having to make a split second decision to defend himself. But that's just the way it is in some cases. Though it's not always justified in all cases. I agree that police officers have a difficult job. But some are just trigger happy. Why couldn't they wait to see the reaction of their targets after firing the first bullet. They might have then realised their targets were not harmed! I don't subscribe to the 'can't care how many bullets I fired I just have to carry on' mentality. It is a police officer's job to observe before action.

Shazza Nakim said...

What people are missing in this case is that the Officers Shot first which caused Sean Bell to panic. In his panic he tried to get away in his car THUS the argument as to why the other 3 officers let loose 50 shots into car.

The Officers panic while under the influence of alcohol and hearsay.

The NYPD are not claiming that out of this tragedy comes a good thing. A policy that undercover Officers with take measures for better identifying themselves on duty and will limit the amount of alcohol they can drink while on a case and institute 'immediate' Breathalyzer Tests after a shooting.

The NYPD states that this IS a good thing when the PEOPLE had been stating that this should be standard over 10 years ago. More than two dozen people later, the NYPD say this is a GOOD THING THEY ARE DOING HIS once the people begin Marching on the City Hall, the State Capital and have Federal Investigators brought in.

The Officers aren't (all)Racist, they are just victims of Racially Conditioned Training and a legal system that Upholds it. Changing the method of training and get rid of the OLD RACIST JUDGES and the healing will begin.

cathouse teri said...

There is no arguing with the sense of your statements, Shazza.

This boy should not be dead.

The officers were out of line in just about every piece of their part in this tragedy.

The verdict was tainted with racial profiling and definite conflict of interest.

Police agencies across the country do indeed perpetuate racially conditioned training.

Old racist judges (etc) do need to be replaced.

It is an awful reality and no, we should not just live with it.

guerreiranigeriana said...

nice deconstruction one man...but honestly, this just makes me all the more weary of cops/police...especially since these days, i don't really know what constitutes a threat to one's life...for all i know, my skin color could very well frighten an officer to the point of shooting me to death...or an eye roll...i know those may seem like some extreme instances, but these days, i don't put it past...the message is hella clear for me...stear real clear of the police...i've said it before and friends laugh...but, if i was being robbed, and had the opportunity to call the police, i'd just take my chances with the robbers and hope they take mercy on me and not kill me...too many stories like these and own experiences with cops/police called to handle mild situations (property damagement reports) make me very afraid of them (you excluded, except when you are in uniform)...

One Man’s Opinion said...

Wow, GN, that really saddens me. Is it really that bad?

King of Scotland, we carry guns becuase the bad guys carry guns.

Naij, I said that officers have an obligation to shot and reassess the situation. However, sometimes they do get trigger happy. It is not an excuse it is just a reality.

This is what I have never understood. People ask a question and when they get an answer they say "that's no excuse". Sometimes an answer is just an answer. It might not be the answer that you want to hear, but if it is the truth, take it as such and lets try to learn from it. You can't learn anything from a lie (well you can....).

There was a incident here, just a couple of weeks back, where officers where searching for a bad guy (uniformed officers). The bad guy was fresh out of the armed forces and had sat in wait for the officers. When the officers, I don't know how many, but I am told more than there was in the Sean Bell Tragedy. Anyway, when the police arrived, the guy raises from his hiding spot and shots into one of the squad cars. That set off a barrage of bullets from all the officers there. Many of shots was fired at this bad guy, but guess how many times he was shot.
Once. One shot that just happened to be fatal. Why so many shots? It is a mentality. A reflex reaction. Whether you want to hear it or not. The Adrenalin dumps and your body acts on impluse. The shots are fired wildly because you are not in a structor enviroment but in a life or death situation. Do the research.
I actual go a chance to speak to one of the rookies, who use to work for me, who was out there. I was joking with him at how bad a shot all those officers were. "One hundred rounds (not really), and the guy was only shot once? The guy probably shot himself just to safe the people around him." The officer told me that he was just standing there with his gun drawn and he heard everybody else start shooting so he started shooting too. I'm not even sure if he knew where his target was.
Am I saying this is right? Hell no. Am I saying this is a reality. Damn straight! And the other said thing was, all those shots fired and until the investigation is done, not a one of the officers out their know whose shot was the killing one.

Second thing is that a lot of police officers are horrible shots. Reality people. Some of us have never shot a gun before in our lives and hope and pray never to have to. I tell my troops that if we get into a situation where I have to pull my gun, the best place to be might be in front of me.
I dread being in any situation where a group of officers have to pull their guns, for this very reason. Officers who die by friend fire (shot by another officer) is not uncommon for the very reasons that I mentioned.

These are facts people. In a perfect world, all officers would have sunshine beaming from their asses, but the reality is that sometimes all you get is mud.

Blah Blah Blah said...

50 shell casings...
Speaks for itself.

I don't trust NYPD's accounting of anything...the are notorius for shooting first.
Case in point:
shooting a mentally disable teenager because they thought his brush was a gun.
shooting a black off duty cop trying to break up a fight between two homelss ppl (thinking he was beating them up instead)
...and Sean Bell...


Serge- THis truly is a beautiful post and you give a fantastic insight into such matters that we may not have otherwise seen.
I could add this:
Psycopaths are drawn to certain professions where they can exhibit power over others. The police force, along with lawyers, judges, doctors, politicians draw such people more than other positions.

People who have not walked in a policeman's shoes have not seen the day to day horrors that they are shielded from ( firsthand).
I think most police officers truly are heroes who do not get enough respect or pay.
Myself, if I was a policeman I would not go anywhere without an Uzi in each hand, primed and ready to shoot.
Such a brave and noble profession- save the psycho minorities.
The police who did Rodney KIng would have acted that way whether or not they were cops, such was their disgraceful sub human mentality! People forget that!
Fab post my friend!

Mark D. Aster said...

One of the reasons that I, as an officer, try not to backseat quarterback the actions of other officers is because I was not there.

Wow, I take a vacation from the 'Net, and you done got all super-serious on me! (LOL)

Bruthaman, I feel your pain, albeit from the military side of the house (former in my case).

The whole situation reminds me of an old song that goes "there's three sides to every story/yours, mine/and the cold, hard truth."

I applaud you for trying to bring some sanity and professional experience to a perspective on this situation, but our people being the emotional extremists that we are, try to make everyone a devil or an angel in these situations (to wit, the whole Obama-Wright NON-issue). So, you're a better man than I, as I usually just roll my eyes and whistle rather than explain the actual dynamics of being a soldier or a cop in a hostile fire situation to other black folk.

You know like I do, that are are redneck bigots and black miscreants in uniforms, but it would be nice if our people remember that every cop ain't Daryl Gates, or every soldier or Marine ain't piling up naked Iraqis at Abu Grahaib.

Just out of curiousity, when was the last time you actually got a "Thank You" from the mouth of one of our people for helping to curb the perps that walk among us?

One Man’s Opinion said...

Thanks Ubermouth. You are cool. And everything you said hold true and I agree with completely.

Thank you, Mark Disaster, Damn it! I just read you comment before going to work and you said that shyt for me, boy. I love you man. LOL. Seriously though. I will say that I can't remember the last time I got a thank you. I can tell you the last time I got cussed out. LOL. Oh well, I am not in it for the the glory. I just like, as cheesy as it sounds, helping my fellow man. I am not crazy police. I do, however, take no crap. I am here to protect and serve, not to be anybody's punching bag! I will treat you with the same respect you give me.

naijalines said...

lol @ 'u can't learn anything from lie, (well... you can)'. Ditto.

I hear you. I guess what u're saying is when u're in that kind of dangerous or threatening situation, you don't really have a lot of time to make judgements... your reflexes kick in. You just do whatever's neccessary to extinguish/terminate the threat. I think I can kind of relate to that.

Your rookie policeman who was shooting without knowing exactly where the threat was... kinda brought the point home.

James Tubman said...

the only reason people abuse others is because they don't fear you

fear is a powerful weapon against your oppressors

Ms Smack said...

You and your colleagues are brave brave people. I could not do your job in a thousand years.

Bravo to you.


OVERKILL OVERKILL OVERKILL! A senseless crime. And per usual...NY police officers are excused.

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