Rick and I went out last night, had a few beers at the local, as we try to do every week. We often talk about things of mutual interest. We discuss movies/music/books, reminisce about when we were younger, discuss the future and recount current events. One such event talked about was the shooting/killing of Sean Bell, the 23 year old groom to be who was gunned down by police this weekend. No one really knows the story at this point, how/why it happened. Still, it just seems as if a guy out for his bachelor party got wasted , got in a car, someone drove in the wrong direction, striking an undercover (unmarked) police vehicle, which set off a barrage of gunfire that left a 23 year old dead on the day of his wedding.
Now, this is fucked up for many reasons. Aside from the obvious police shooting to death an unarmed man, there are other questions. Such as, why did one officer fire 31 of those shots, reloading his gun twice? A fact such as this begs the question of is the average NYPD officer (and in this case, 12 year veteran) that poorly trained that they must fire that many rounds at close range to ensure they hit someone? Shouldn’t the policy be to disable a suspect so that they may be brought into custody and then tried with a crime if necessary? Isn’t a tenet of our legal system “innocent until proven guilty? Since when is it shoot to kill?
It's reminiscent of the movie Judge Dread in which cops were judge/jury/executioner. That movie sucked ass and so does the state of things. The sad reality is its always been that way. It was that way with Amadou Diallo and its been that way with many others. I don’t know what's more troubling, the fact that those who are supposed to protect and serve kill those the very citizens they swear to protect or the fact that there doesn’t seem to be repercussions when they do such things.
Tonight on my walk home I witnessed four officers questioning one black man who was pulled over while driving. I don’t know why he was pulled over, but as he was retrieving his license/registration/whatever all of them had their hands on their pistols. It was almost as if they were looking for a reason to draw their guns and fire. You hear about cop cars being called a “black and white”, but that shouldn’t necessitate the way police conduct themselves.