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.