Streams

Acquitted

Friday, April 25, 2008

Guests, including: Patricia Williams, professor of law at Columbia University, writes the Mad Law Professor column for The Nation magazine, Eugene O'Donnell, professor of law and police science at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, WNYC’s Arun Venugopal and Cindy Rodriguez, Richard Aborn, president of the Citizens Crime Commission, a group that monitors, the police civil rights attorney Ronald Kuby, Errol Louis, columnist for the Daily News, New York Times reporter Michael Wilson, and Queens City Council Member Leroy G. Comrie, Jr. (D- 27), react to and offer analysis of the verdicts in the trial of the police officers charged in the shooting death of Sean Bell.

Guests:

Richard Aborn, Ronald Kuby, Errol Louis, Eugene O'Donnell, Cindy Rodriguez, Arun Venugopal, Professor Patricia Williams and Michael Wilson

Comments [184]

perri

D. Torres, Sean Bell and friends were not out "robbing, mugging, assaulting and raping anyone." They were just being black. When narrow-minded individuals perceive non-white men as menaces to society based on the actions of some bad apples, then it's no wonder that tragedies such as this occur.

As a nation, I think we have more reasons to fear the thuggery of corporate elites than we have reasons to fear "minority males."

Apr. 30 2008 03:47 PM
D.Torres from Manhattan

I am very sorry for those hurt in the Sean
Bell incident.

However, I am very glad that Justice Cooperman
had the courage, decency and honor to
rule the way he did.

I hope that all the Law Enforcment Officers
involved, Detectives Isnora, Oliver and Cooper,
can put this unfortunate episode behind and
go on with their lives.

Unfortunately, far too many, minority males,
pose a threat to those that have to live
among them.

We ask Police Officers to confront them
and stop them and when an error is made
we want to crucify the cops and that is wrong.

It is not the cops, that are in our
neighborhoods, robbing, mugging, assaulting
and raping anyone.

Apr. 29 2008 02:18 PM
perri

I was quoting poster #127.

My point was, if you're white you'd have to be Gary Gilmore in order to be fired upon the way black victims are fired upon; or, David Garvin.

I do recall Garvin and that incident at a pizzeria in the Village last year that was captured on surveillance. I just looked it up, and read that the police fired 50 shots.

I guess what makes this case different, aside from the fact that Garvin was white, is that he actually murdered two people. Some notable cases of innocent black victims of contagious shootings are Amadou Diallo, who was holding a wallet, Khiel Coppin a hairbrush, and of course, Sean Bell, who was in a car; yet, they were all brutally murdered.

It's funny how everyday items MAGICALLY become weapons of mass destruction in the hands of black people. What gives?

Well, I think it's like what poster #123 said: "It is about perception. Black suspects are regarded as more threatening by most people (I did not way all people)."

Apr. 26 2008 03:06 PM
Chris Van Dyke from Washington Heights

"Equally improbable, perri: 'White man in west village shoots cops, just imagine.' "

Except that happened LAST YEAR.

Apr. 26 2008 10:35 AM
Mike from NYC

perri states: "just imagine the cops fire 50 rounds at a white guy in the west village, just imagine"

Equally improbable, perri: "White man in west village shoots cops, just imagine"

Apr. 26 2008 02:55 AM
Mike from NYC

keith lovinggood from the Bronx states: "what is there suposed to be a surprise here?.the police can shoot anyone,kill anyone and it's ok. they are 'thugs with badges'

There is some truth to this: The police are the agents of the state and the state is the only entity that can legitimately use force. That is, people everywhere have disagreements that boil over and the police are the only people authorized to use force, hopefully to stop violence and injustice, but the police are also people and they make mistakes and, at times, exercise bad judgement.

If they are subject to the same criteria for criminality that other citizens are while carrying out their duties, police will become timid and ineffective, so special rules are made to judge them.

So why do police, nationally, kill Black people disproportionately? Good question. I lived in an all-white suburb for the first 30 years of my life. I never saw anyone so much as yell at a cop, let alone resist authority. If the police said, "STOP", people froze in their tracks. Needless to say, I've witnessed something different in the 20 years I've lived in NYC. Policing is different in NYC because the population being policed behaves differently. If the police behaved as they do in the suburbs, there would be no order here.

Apr. 26 2008 02:52 AM
Mike from NYC

Zach from Brooklyn states: I rather enjoy Ms. Adams's characterization of Mr. Bell trying to run over a police officer with his car as "get me to the church on time." It also disturbs me that she can dismiss the fact that the officers were also people of color by questioning what kind of black people would, in their right minds, join the force. Certainly they must be self-loathing at best, mentally disturbed at worst. This kind of attitude reductive and unhelpful. It implies that people of color cannot be a part of a functioning civil society with a civil police force. Attitudes like that keep the black community as an isolated group of Americans, pitted against the "majority." Her ideas are defeatist, hopelessly 20th century, and just plain wrong.

Zach: Instead of asking what kind of Black person would join the police, let's ask what kind of Black person becomes an academic like Ms. Adams: Perhaps without a race story to tell, they have no career.

Apr. 26 2008 02:36 AM
FRANK from CT

1 when is the word history going to stop being used as a crutch as to how and why things happen ,we have one life (except for you Buddhists) don't judge or transfer something some jerk did in the past on my character now( I think it went something like judged solely on the content of your character, a very smart guy)we need to stop trying to even the score (going around angry ruins your teeth) 2a thought, blacks have always voted Democratic and still feel disenfranchised ,whats the story stop banging your head against the wall and maybe your headache will go away

Apr. 25 2008 10:47 PM
keith lovinggood from the bronx

what is there suposed to be a surprise here?.the police can shoot anyone,kill anyone and it's ok. they are 'thugs with badges'

Apr. 25 2008 09:37 PM
perri

"just imagine the cops fire 50 rounds at a white guy in the west village, just imagine."

Unless your name is Gary Gilmore, this type of thing just doesn't happen to white people.

I don't know what the statistics are when it comes to contagious shootings, but my hunch is that more times than not, the victim will be non-white. If this type of thing happened to whites, not only would it get the kind of national coverage that missing white women receive, but reforms in law enforcement would be enacted with a swiftness.

Apr. 25 2008 09:12 PM
Paulette from NYC

Cop Culture!

My first cousin who was a police officer for 20 years, warned me, new cops coming up were thugs. And he knew for a fact to get an easy arrest these thug cops would wait outside African American communities profiling young black men because they figured an easy arrest!

When my cousin brought this issue to the powers that be, he was ignored.

My cousin became disgusted with the force and transferred to another city and became digusted again and retired to become an accountant!

Bell and his friends looked an easy arrest. Young black men coming out of a night club in the am was their crime.

That is not a crime and to paint Bell and his friends potential criminals because of their past, is double wrong.

Profiling is discrimination! And when will we treat the African American community with respect all human beings deserve, this vidict is a SLAP IN THEIR FACE?

Our law enforcement is meant to protect us, not to look for an easy arrest.

The cops blew it and blew a kid away (who had NO GUN, the police had the only guns that rung out 50 times) and they are aquitted!

The Police Chief and defendent's counsel commenting the Judge did the right thing, makes me sick! It must be "Guliani time"!

"With great power comes great responsibility", Stan Lee wrote in Spider-man comic book a few years ago...I think NYPD needs to start reading something that teaches them this!

Apr. 25 2008 07:37 PM
Anna P from Wall Street

APPORTIONING BLAME

People seem to be lashing out at the cops and the judge; the real villains here are the prosecutors. They clearly "overtried" the case. They presented many, many more witnesses than they needed to prove the allegations, and thereby gave the defense attorneys entire bolts of material to work with. It's like they set up the defense to point out inconsistencies and poke holes!

In addition, the D.A.'s did not prep their witnesses very thoroughly, failing to warn them about foreseeable traps. The officers, in contrast, took formal CLASSES on how to testify.

Inadequate witness prep is a common problem among prosecutors here in the city-- I think some of them are too squeamish to spend sufficient time with the witnesses because they are so similar to criminal defendants.

The DAs should really spend less time prosecuting low-level drug felonies and more time thinking about these kinds of difficult, serious cases.

My heart goes out to Bell and his family.

Apr. 25 2008 06:10 PM
Paulette Powell from NYC

It was manslaughter and why should they be aquitted?...the NYC police have been out of control for years now...A Guliana hangover....a police officer who shoots to ask questions later, is not an officer of the law but an officer of brutal force...THIS IS WRONG PEOPLE...And these police PROFILED these kids!!!I am a white middle class person and I am ready to march with Sharpton! We should all be marching and demand that the law is not above the people. We the people are the loosers if we continue to behave like cattle! And a fish stinks from the head, I'm sure President Bush will aprove of this verdict... there were no weapons either!

Apr. 25 2008 05:46 PM
ed kane from nyc

If you couple comment 94 with this from the police spokesperson:

"He said that Bell's death had been a 'tragedy', but said that for police officers out on the streets there "is never a script - we have to deal with circumstances as they come" and sometimes made mistakes." http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7367198.stm

...you get a dangerous combination.

This is not a knock on any individual policeman, but it is a knock on a country that screams "you get what you pay for" at every turn as a way of calling saying we're willing to pay for quality.

Then, curiously, we find ourselves in long discussions like this, tossing that principle out the window, and pulling hair out about why grave mistakes happen at a rate higher than we can tolerate.

Apr. 25 2008 05:21 PM
Kerissa from Boerum Hill, Brooklyn

#161

The discussion thread isn't really about Obama and Hillary, but I would say that, yes, you are sexist for voting for Hillary IF the only reason you are doing so is because she is a woman.

Apr. 25 2008 04:06 PM
Zach from Brooklyn

I rather enjoy Ms. Adams's characterization of Mr. Bell trying to run over a police officer with his car as "get me to the church on time."

It also disturbs me that she can dismiss the fact that the officers were also people of color by questioning what kind of black people would, in their right minds, join the force. Certainly they must be self-loathing at best, mentally disturbed at worst. This kind of attitude reductive and unhelpful. It implies that people of color cannot be a part of a functioning civil society with a civil police force.

Attitudes like that keep the black community as an isolated group of Americans, pitted against the "majority." Her ideas are defeatist, hopelessly 20th century, and just plain wrong.

Apr. 25 2008 03:01 PM
Daniel from NJ

Unfathomable how these verdicts were arrived at? 50 shots? If as a criminal an act against an officer is held to a different standard how can actions by officers not be? As a RN my license is certainly held account for acts of incompetence, should not a police officer charged with my safety be? carrying a gun no less? speaking for myself i stand in fear of a police state with no accountability and have reasonable suspicion to consider myself at risk in their presence.

Apr. 25 2008 03:00 PM
Chris from NJ

Dawn,

To make your life easier, here is the source for my statistics

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/race.htm

Apr. 25 2008 12:58 PM
Lady from New Jersey

I think this is another disgrace for the NYPD. To acquit these officers of ALL charges is a slap in the face for Mr. Bell's family. I believe the reasons the judge gave for this verdict were questionable. Perhaps a jury trial would have been fairer.

Apr. 25 2008 12:47 PM
Peter Bray from Brooklyn

When will justice ever prevail in NYC? This situation has occurred repeatedly in NYC without there being any accountability to the citizens of the city. The police have been given a blank check to draw their guns and shoot innocent individuals, invariably people of color, by proclaiming that they felt threatened. The judge's ruling is an affront to all of us who continue to belief in the possibility that the judicial system works for all of us. Shame on the system, shame on the judge, and shame on the NYPD.

Apr. 25 2008 12:32 PM
Diana Manister from Staten Island

One of the areas of investigation of incompetence was the question of whether the police announced who they were.

Witnesses a block away said they heard several shouts. Since they no evidence or testimony was introduced that the shouts were anything other than the defendents shouting "Police!" isn't it likely that they did announce themselves?

The victims were in a car. Were the windows closed? It's likely that they were, since the occupants had just entered the car. Was the radio on? Was there other noise inside the car, such as the victims speaking or shouting?

There are explanations for why the victims would not have heard the officers announce themselves.

However, procedurers should be established that require officers to stop shooting if no fire is returned. Although even there how could they be sure if shots were coming from fellow officers?

I think it was a very very tragic accident.

Apr. 25 2008 12:01 PM
Mike from NYC

Rose form Connecticut asks: "why aren't we having this discussion about sexism? It seems that anti-racism is in vogue and everyone is defecting to Obama yet we are not discussing how America is not ready for a female leader. And let's flip it around - is it racist to be voting for Obama because he is black. Am I sexist because I will vote of Clinton BECAUSE she is a woman?"

Dear Rose: YES.

Apr. 25 2008 11:55 AM
Dawn from Brooklyn

I agree with MCH.
I wish I could take race out of the situation like Molly can and many of the others who wrote in - but because I am more likely to be persecuted by cops - because I'm Black and they can get away with it - I cannot take race out of the equation. It would be great to be able to remove race - which seems to be most possible to do if you are white and it doesnt affect you. Its a very 'let them eat cake' attitude. If I could take race out of the housing, health and education disparities also- wow that would make life better for me and more comfortable for people who can't open their eyes to the reality of racism.

Apr. 25 2008 11:55 AM
Mike from NYC

Unfortunately, because the trial determines the guilt or innocence of the defendent, justice for the victim is not the issue. The judge's decision can only be expected and is probably correct from a legal standpoint.

The real problem here is the police policy of putting armed people who are not obviously police into a situation where they are expected to enforce the law. What I find unbelievable and unacceptable is that these policing methods are continued after a history of these incidents, which only seem to justify distrust of the police among many people.

In short: These policing methods should be discontinued because they are ineffective and counterproductive.

Apr. 25 2008 11:52 AM
Rose from Connecticut

why aren't we having this discussion about sexism? It seems that anti-racism is in vogue and everyone is defecting to Obama yet we are not discussing how America is not ready for a female leader. And let's flip it around - is it racist to be voting for Obama because he is black. Am I sexist because I will vote of Clinton BECAUSE she is a woman?

Apr. 25 2008 11:48 AM
MCH from Brooklyn

Bill #154

That is a great question. I don't have the answer either. I do think that race is a factor though, that we cannot escape.

Apr. 25 2008 11:45 AM
Dawn from Brooklyn

Chris,
thx for the compliment(?) I will be looking into your facts. B/C i don't have a problem trying to see the issue from other points of view and studying the facts and confronting things i dont agree with. A lot of people writing in can only see things from their limited/priveledged lives. I'm married so u are on your own to find a date - but all joking aside, everyone in NY should know and respect someone outside their race-as diverse as NY is. And not only that - be willing to talk about/argue about the reality of our society.

Apr. 25 2008 11:43 AM
Molly Alexander from LIC, Queens

I'm ashamed to be a New Yorker today. This verdict is disgraceful. And to make it about race is near-sighted and discounts the fact that the justice system has failed all of us today, regardless of color. My heart goes out to his family and all who fought so hard to have a voice.

Apr. 25 2008 11:42 AM
Bill from New York

ab,

I wonder how you would reconcile these two statements:

"I have a news flash for you...if someone has a criminal record for something that they did in the past it doesn't give a cop the right TO GUN THEM DOWN! It's IRRELEVENT to the events of that night."

"The answer is: because we've had case after case after case like this for years upon years upon years....black man always executed in an excessive use of force."

What someone did in the past is indeed not relevant to the events of a specific night.

Likewise, what OTHER people have done in the past is not relevant to a specific case on the events of a specific night.

Apr. 25 2008 11:34 AM
John from Woodside

Finally justice has been done!
If we are going to devour our police officers everytime they make a mistake on a split-second call, we are doomed. This was, at worst, a judgment error in a very complicated scenario.
Also, let's remember: it was never conclusively proven that these "gangsta thugs"(Guzman,etc)didn't have a gun somewhere. I am still sure they did.

Apr. 25 2008 11:33 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

I think a civil rights charge would be even harder to prove than the reckless endangerment charge, and personally, I think bringing that federal charge against them would be unjustifiable. The opportunity for justice has passed and trying to convict these men on SOMETHING rather than what they were guilty of is not justice. And that's assuming they could even get a conviction on federal charges, which I think would be highly unlikely.

Apr. 25 2008 11:30 AM
Bill from New York

"18-40, the leading cause of death is homocide if you are a black man."

Yes, and most people are killed by people they know. It's a cultural problem. Is it a culture just of poverty? How do the statistics break down racially within the same economic bracket? I don't know.

Apr. 25 2008 11:29 AM
Noah Wimmer from The Bronx

Great point 137, to bad our federal government is even more fascist then the states

Apr. 25 2008 11:26 AM
M from NYC

Brian, why did you feel compelled to add "Jewish" to your identification of the judge as "white"? Intentionally or not, you introduced the idea that the verdict could have gone differently if the judge had not been Jewish.
At least one of your guests described the judge as an old-timer holding a privileged position not equally available to blacks. It is possible that when this judge received his education there were quotas for the number of Jewish students at the college or law school he attended. This is not to equate whatever prejudice the judge may have experienced to the verdict in the Bell trial, only to point out that by floating the terms "Jewish" and "privileged" you and your guests promote a stereotype of a powerful, perhaps anti-black Jew, who benefitted--just like his WASP fellow-whites--from opportunities not open to blacks. Jews remain a minority in this country and in the world, though clearly one with a different history than blacks'.
Mayor Bloomberg has been forthcoming in his support of the Bell family and may be credited with keeping peace in the aftermath of an outcome disturbing to many. I do not think you would, in the context of this case, refer to Bloomberg as our "white--Jewish--mayor". He is simply a more compassionate and reasonable mayor than his predecessor. His Jewishness, if not his whiteness, is irrelevant.

Apr. 25 2008 11:25 AM
MCH from Brooklyn

Bill #142:

Not sure what you are trying to say but I will attempt to respond. If you are saying that putting on a blue uniform puts you in a still different group which is then defined by being in that group is absolutely true. What I was trying to say in post #130 is that while I do not argue with the statistics that show that more homocides are committed by black men than white men, that we need to remember that the victims are usually other black men. 18-40, the leading cause of death is homocide if you are a black man.

Apr. 25 2008 11:24 AM
k from manhattan

Perhaps public servants should be answerable to the public with mandatory trials by jury.

Apr. 25 2008 11:24 AM
patti from Paterson, NJ

"it is an undeniable fact that if this happened to a white person the verdict would be different...just imagine the cops fire 50 rounds at a white guy in the west village, just imagine."

I can't imagine this case ever happening. Either white men don't commit crimes or go to bars at 4 in the morning this seems to happen disproportionately to the black community.

My bet is on the latter.

And I'd love to see Nick's solution get some more thought. What would happen if the fed's took over all excessive force complaints against the police? Is this possible?

Apr. 25 2008 11:22 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

He's trying to disguise his voice obviously!

Apr. 25 2008 11:21 AM
Maya Toitova from NYC

I'm listening to the prosecutor, who "accepts" the verdict and expects or asks everyone to do likewise. What the heck! If "accept" means "know that it happened," then, there you are. But if "accept" means "embrace" or "see the reasonableness of," forget it! This decision means that any person can be shot by any cop and a story -- any story! -- can be spun which will make it go unpunished.

Who can say I'm wrong? What history can say I'm wrong?

It's hideous.

Apr. 25 2008 11:20 AM
Chris from NJ

Dawn,

If you're looking for a serial murderer and you focus on white males, I would be the last to blame you...

Apr. 25 2008 11:20 AM
seth from NYC

I disagree with the verdict
I also think that the prosecutor isn't fit to prosecute anymore. Jeez, listen to this guy- it's painful. Have another cigarette why don't you. Sounds like he gargling.

Apr. 25 2008 11:19 AM
Chris from NJ

I would like a date with Dawn. :) Maybe she's a person of color and it would help bring balance to my life. In any case, she seems smart...

Apr. 25 2008 11:18 AM
ab

142

is this guy half asleep?

jesus christ....

Apr. 25 2008 11:18 AM
Rob from Brooklyn, NY

what is wrong with this guy's voice?

Apr. 25 2008 11:18 AM
Noah Wimmer from The Bronx

The Prosecutor sounds like he won! This whole thing is a damn scam, he's not saying anything about the appeal, but just how "fair" the verdict was? How the hell is he representing bell and co?

Now I can see why they lost!!

Apr. 25 2008 11:18 AM
ab

133

Now this IS addressed to you

The answer is: because we've had case after case after case like this for years upon years upon years....black man always executed in an excessive use of force.

How do we know? By opening our eyes.

Apr. 25 2008 11:17 AM
Bill from New York

MCH 13 (I had you quoted, but there's a character limit to these posts):

I think this goes both ways, though. Generalizations make thinking possible. You grow up an inner-city black and you grow up with lived and anecdotal experience teaching you, justifiably, that you're stupid not to be wary of cops, and given this generalized role of cops in your oppression, it's no wonder why an anti-cop culture should have grown up in your community and that a hatred, a sometimes violent hatred, of cops should be par for the course. But his is about culture, not race. It's about trumping categories. And in this case, even for a black person from such a community, becoming a cop changes everything because now you have a new set of generalizations to contend with, or rather you find yourself on the receiving end: you know that there's an anti-cop culture among blacks, and that sometimes it's violent, and you'd be stupid not to be wary around such people (yes, people who by their behavior count in some people's books as "thugs"). Both sides are effectively justified. It's a self-fulfilling, irresolvable cycle.

Apr. 25 2008 11:17 AM
Bryony from Scarsdale

The guy giving the current press conference has a throat full of gravel. Can someone get him a glass of water? It's like fingernails on a blackboard....

Apr. 25 2008 11:16 AM
joe from nyc

Yes, as most can see, the judge should have ruled differently. The fact of his being a decendant of people who have suffered enormously from societal bias adds another layer to the story. It is obvious.

Apr. 25 2008 11:12 AM
Nick Lento from NJ

The solution?

In the short term, we need to federalize ALL criminal complaints against the police.

If you steal from the post office, or assault a postal worker, the feds deal with that. Or if you rob a bank, or commit a kidnapping the feds take over.

Local "justice" systems can NOT deal with accusations against their own members...they ALWAYS give their "bretheren" the "benefit of the doubt" (at best) or they blatantly fix the case at worst.

To get convicted and do jail time a cop has to be so outrageously guilty that it would cause the universe to explode if he were let off.

We need an FBPI. Federal Bureau of Police Investigation with dedicated investigators, prosecutors and judges who've been vetted with no strong binding ties to the police establishment.

Would it be such a horrible thing for cops to be subject to the laws and to justice? Would it be such a horrible thing if the laws were actually enforced in a just manner?

Our society can only sustain so much of this before it collapses. There are limits to how much people can take before they lose all trust in the government.

Apr. 25 2008 11:11 AM
Dawn from Brooklyn

ab,
yes I agree completely. I was addressing Chris' claim that Bell et al may have been shot because Blacks are more likely to commit crime and therefore, law enforcement would be more reactive/afraid. we've been arguing since 9:20 and frankly, I think its healthy to argue like this. We don't need a 'date, Stu. People should have the guts to fight it out across the lines, not try their best to be pc and simplify the issues. that's my thought.

Apr. 25 2008 11:06 AM
Randall C. Belinfante from American Sephardi Federation

While it is not quite true that this never happens to white people (I cite the instance of the Hasidic fellow with the hammer in Brooklyn) I do think that this is a tremendous injustice. It really makes me fearful of these cops, that I thought were supposed to protect me. I can tell you that when they tell me to open my bag, I open my bag. And even then I fear for my life.

Apr. 25 2008 11:05 AM
perri

I expected this; I'm not surprised.

Apr. 25 2008 11:04 AM
Bill from New York

"it is an undeniable fact that if this happened to a white person the verdict would be different...just imagine the cops fire 50 rounds at a white guy in the west village, just imagine. this is murder by the state police and blacks are treated as less than citizens, as exceptions."

How can you be sure? If all the circumstances were the same: if the cops witnessed (or claimed to witness) an altercation at a notorious club in which a gun was mentioned, if in confronting three white men outside such a club the cops felt (or claimed to feel) that their lives were in jeopardy ... how can you be sure?

Apr. 25 2008 11:04 AM
ab

128

I apologize, that was wrongly attributed to you and meant for someone else!

Apr. 25 2008 11:03 AM
MCH from Brooklyn

With the talk about a black person being 8 time s more likely to commit homicide we need to remember that the leading cause of death among black men age 18-40 IS homocide.

Apr. 25 2008 11:03 AM
Jean

Um... am I the only one who only realized this morning that 2 of the 3 cops were black? It made me see things differently.

Apr. 25 2008 11:02 AM
Bill from New York

"I have a news flash for you...if someone has a criminal record for something that they did in the past it doesn't give a cop the right TO GUN THEM DOWN! It's IRRELEVENT to the events of that night."

I totally agree. Why address this to me? It addresses nothing I've said here.

"You keep saying they are "thugs" because you are trying to imply they deserved to be killed and let's face it: if they were white you wouldn't say "thug""

I never said they were thugs, I gave reasons why someone might call them thugs. Never did or would I say, and never have I thought that being a thug means you deserve to be killed. But you've put your straw man in his place. God job!

"I wonder NPR staff...why is he allowed to continue posting his racist code all over your forum,hmmmm?????"

Get a grip, man.

Apr. 25 2008 11:01 AM
moosbrugger from new york city

it is an undeniable fact that if this happened to a white person the verdict would be different...just imagine the cops fire 50 rounds at a white guy in the west village, just imagine. this is murder by the state police and blacks are treated as less than citizens, as exceptions.

Apr. 25 2008 11:01 AM
ab

Chris and Dawn,

This about a specific racially charged police brutality case...not all white on black vs. black on white crime. It is about police brutality cases in which blacks are more likely to be executed by the cops

Apr. 25 2008 11:00 AM
Charles from Brooklyn

It's interesting that we all live in a fantasy bubble when it comes to crime and New York City. There is a lot of crime, it's a serious problem, and many people are injured, victimized, and killed everyday. If we really wanted to, we could stop it. But we don't. Therefore, by allowing our society to be this way, we are all to blame for this incident.

The truth of the matter is we tolerate the crime and the immorality of our society, and the consequence of these choices are an armed police force, armed criminals, video surveillance, murder, rape, assault, fraud, corruption, robbery, burglary, prostitution, riot, etc ... it happens, and it happens all the time.

We are all to blame, as clearly the police officers in this case, under our laws, were not the criminals we seek. It's sad that some find seeking justice by blaming the men and women we send out to clean up the mess we have all made, day by day, from the time when the streets were once safe.

Apr. 25 2008 10:57 AM
Bill from New York

"Lets not forget the judge who has ducked his head into procedure and arguments and forgotten how his people (jews) were victimized by society for centuries."

What?! The Judge should have ruled differently because of the historic suffering of the Jews? Good Lord.

Apr. 25 2008 10:57 AM
MCH from Brooklyn

It is ridiculous to say this is not about race just because the cops were not all white. It is about perception. Black suspects are regarded as more threatening by most people (I did not way all people). This was probably a factor in Bell and his friends being afraid of the "black guy with a gun" who turned out to be a cop along with the cops' thinking that this was a dangerous situation having everything to do with the fact that most of the people on the scene were black.

Apr. 25 2008 10:55 AM
Dawn from Brooklyn

Chris,
no one disputed your facts (8 times more likely eg), I just asked for your source. I am very critical of fact sources - you should be too. Whites are more likely to commit derranged serial murders and sex crimes against close family members. Does that give me reason to suspect these things from white men? No, my husband is white. Maybe you need some close/caring relationships w/ people of color. I hope that happens for you - SOON. your perspective will change.

Apr. 25 2008 10:55 AM
ab

117

Hey Bill

I have a news flash for you...if someone has a criminal record for something that they did in the past it doesn't give a cop the right TO GUN THEM DOWN! It's IRRELEVENT to the events of that night.

You keep saying they are "thugs" because you are trying to imply they deserved to be killed and let's face it: if they were white you wouldn't say "thug"

I wonder NPR staff...why is he allowed to continue posting his racist code all over your forum,hmmmm?????

Apr. 25 2008 10:55 AM
Nick Lento from NJ

WNYC needs to take a half hour out of Brian and Lenny's shows and give Ron Kuby a one hour show.

Kuby's perspective needs to be heard on a public radio station....and he's a real radio pro too.

It's a shame that these issues can't be thoroughly aired out on WNYC.

Oh, and, by the way...you might actually expand your membership/listenership base beyond it's current complexion.

As for the "Sean Bell" case. I predicted complete acquittals, and sadly, I was right.

Why not just put a 007 on every cop's badge

Local cops, prosecutors and judges are the functional equivalent of a tight knit family....it's impossible for them to be objective in these cases.

Meanwhile, the innocent continue to die.

Evidently NYC cops have the same "rules of engagement" when it comes to poor black men that Blackwater mercenaries have in Iraq.

I pray that there is an afterlife in which everyone will indeed be judged Objectively.

As it stands now, these cops have gotten away with perjury and reckless homicide.

Shame.

Apr. 25 2008 10:54 AM
tom from nyc

Lets not forget the judge who has ducked his head into procedure and arguments and forgotten how his people (jews) were victimized by society for centuries. Lawyers can construct endless schemes to win a case -- this time the verdict flies in the face of common sense. An unarmed man in a car is repeatedly shot as he flees the bullets. death and suffering to innocent men on the street. But the judge belives a mountain of words and clever arguments and lets the killing go unpunished.

Apr. 25 2008 10:53 AM
Chris from NJ

Henry Hayes (white) executed in 1997 for killing a black man.

John King and Lawrence Russell Brewer (both white) both sentenced to death in 1999 for killing a black man.

Official statistics show that black on white murders are three times as common as the reverse.

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/tables/ovrelracetab.htm

Apr. 25 2008 10:53 AM
Bill from New York

"Since when does it make you a thug to be out at 4 in the morning after your bachelor party?"

It doesn't. I seem to remember hearing something about some of them having criminal records, but didn't something go down with one of the witnesses/victims after the fact that was alleged to harassment? I don't remember. Anyway, maybe that makes them thugs, I don't know. But maybe it was the fact that they were at a notorious club that, as a result of community complaints and previous arrests, had a bunch of undercover cops stationed there, and maybe too it has something to do with the allegations (I wasn't there, but it is the testimony of cops, and some people are as prone to distrust cops as others are to distrust blacks--funny, huh?) that there was an argument at the club that resulted in talk of guns, and.... Well the rest is whatever partisans of one side or the other believe it to be.

And to an earlier poster: I lived in Greenpoint for five years and there were lots of kids on the streets there, all white, who were routinely referred to as thugs because of their behavior, not because of their biology.

Apr. 25 2008 10:50 AM
Samuel from Harlem

Brian is part of the problem, the white media control of topics that relate to issues that they have no understanding of.

Apr. 25 2008 10:50 AM
ab

108

Apparently if you are black and out at that time you are a thug but if you are white and out at that time you are not

Apr. 25 2008 10:49 AM
marilyn seven from manhattan

The Queens councilman is right: there is a lower standard for police using lethal force than for others. Is this right? I'm a 70-year-old white woman whose church is in Harlem. I remember Michael Stewart, Howard Beach, Elinor Bumpurs. So many others. Black and white experience of life is different; out of this difference comes a lack of understanding. But here we have another unarmed black man dead; no one is responsible. When will it end?

Apr. 25 2008 10:48 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

Honestly, defending these cops is an insult to good cops who have gone out of their way to defuse situations where the people involved REALLY DID have a gun. There was an incident here a few years ago where an ARMED black man was being pursued by the police, and they managed to tackle him and get the gun away from him. Shooting him while he was running away would've been way easier and much less dangerous, and yet they managed to stop him without having to resort to using their guns.

Protecting bad cops doesn't honor good cops... it shames them.

Apr. 25 2008 10:48 AM
ab

JJ-

Race is not a "card" to be "played". Anyone who uses that stupid racist term is a complete idiot

Was Martin Luther King playing "the race card"? Is anyone who brings up the FACT of racism instantly "playing a card" to you?

The term "playing the race card" is the last limp impotent way for white racists to trivialize and ignore the existence of racism

Racism exists and combating it isn't a "card". How absolutely ignorant.

I agree with some of the comments above that bottom line this is a police brutality case but anyone who thinks that because there were non-whites involved that that somehow means race did not play a factor in this is either incredibly naive and doesn't understand the dynamics of INSTITUTIONALIZED (that's the key word boys and girls) racism or is willfully ignorant (most likely because they are racist themself).

But whatever...to those of you who think race was not a factor due to their being non-white cops involved, I leave you to your ignorant fairy-tale world of rainbows and unicorns...

Apr. 25 2008 10:48 AM
stu

We should set up Chris and Dawn to go out on a date together...let them meet at the rally this afternoon and have coffee or drinks later.

Apr. 25 2008 10:47 AM
Dawn from Brooklyn

I want to thank Brian Lehrer for having the guts to have these shows and for your comments yesterday too. I think you are priceless and intelligently objective where you need to be. You are also humble where it's proper and I am very impressed w/ your show and its topics - and your views.

Apr. 25 2008 10:46 AM
MCH from Brooklyn

What was that - "incompetence is not criminality?" I think this is one of the central problems. The bar is set too high and this keeps happening over and over. If someone is given license to carry a gun then incompetence needs to be criminal. We need to change the law.

Apr. 25 2008 10:44 AM
patti from Paterson, NJ

I find it interesting that Sean Bell and his friends keep being referred to as "thugs" or committing "petty" offenses. Was there a crime they were accused of?

Or, was it that they were 3 Black men hanging out at a club?

Since when does it make you a thug to be out at 4 in the morning after your bachelor party?

Apr. 25 2008 10:42 AM
Bill from New York

"they had to know that bell was at his bachelor party and just trying to have some fun"

How could they have known that?

Apr. 25 2008 10:42 AM
Chris from NJ

Of course, people will say these numbers are provided by the white racist government and can't be trusted, etc etc. This is why I'm fed up, because everyone out there just keeps believing what they want and doesn't look at the facts...

Apr. 25 2008 10:40 AM
Andrew from Brown


In all honesty, and quite sadly, I am not surprise by this verdict. Lets not forget Amadou Diallo in 1999, Patrick Dorismond in 2000, Ousmane Zongo in 2003, Timothy Stansbury in 2004, and now Sean Bell. I followed the case and if nothing at all these officers were at a minimum reckless and should have to pay some price for their actions. Those that do not learn from history are destine to repeat it, I think a lack of action in the previous cases made this case possible. Nothing will ever be done until an NYPD officer manages to take the life of a prominent city or state official because it is obvious that a young black life is worth nothing in New York City.

The position I have taken in the past is that the NYPD is above the law and more importantly above GOD.

Apr. 25 2008 10:40 AM
marilyn seven from manhattan

The Queens councilman is right: there is a lower standard for police using lethal force than for others. Incompetence, at this level, should be criminal. I happen to be a 70-year-old white woman going to church in Harlem. I remember Michael Stewart. So many others. White and black experience of life is so different. Another unarmed black man is dead, and no one is responsible.

Apr. 25 2008 10:39 AM
Edgardo from Elmhurst, Queens

We still live in different counties one for white people and for people of color, very disappointed so little has changed despite Obama running for president!

Apr. 25 2008 10:39 AM
stuco from new jersey

i followed the trial in the nytimes.
the surviving witnesses gave lousy testimony; apparently the prosecutors did not prep the witnesses well; why that was, i don't know.
the officers made lots of errors, beginning with looking for any kind of arrest for the night. they had to know that bell was at his bachelor party and just trying to have some fun. they should have left him alone. they knew he wasn't a hardened thug.

in the end, it's not criminal to act stupid and based on what the judge heard in court, he had no choice but to render not guilty.

Apr. 25 2008 10:39 AM
Chris from NJ

Dawn,

I never said anyone deserve to be discriminated against. In any case here are the facts about race and murder.

In 2005, 3.5 out of 100,000 whites committed murder and 26.5 out of 100,000 blacks committed murder. So, it seems blacks are about 8 times more likely to kill someone. This difference went down over the last 2 decades as the crack epidemic decreased. If the economic disparity decreaed then it would drop even more, I'm sure.

Apr. 25 2008 10:37 AM
Noah Wimmer from The Bronx

Brian, incompetence IS punishable by jail time when it results in death, at least in my moral view. It is a detterent to prevent others from doing so, the city paying out in a civil suit does NOT act as a deterent to the other officers. It's a carte blanche, to allow incompetence to continue.

Apr. 25 2008 10:36 AM
m

Wait I'm confused: do cops have to abide by the same rules as the rest of us? Or do they get to live by 'cop' rules (can carry a gun, use force etc) most of the time but then live by 'normal people' rules when they mess up ("I was scared, I was confused etc) yet then live by the 'cop' rules again when they are under trial?

Apr. 25 2008 10:34 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Come on Chris are you or are not a bigot and a racist?
Get out of that closet, you’ll feel better.

Apr. 25 2008 10:34 AM
Dawn from Brooklyn

The issue is that murdering a black person is a lesser crime in this country. A judge should throw the book at these cops as if the victim was white - or as if justice is blind. Then there WOULD be a different verdict. A white man has never been put to death for killing a black man in this country - Why? because his life is more important - and black lives do not matter - no matter who the killer is.

Apr. 25 2008 10:32 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

[[BL Show Moderator: comment removed. against wnyc posting policies]]

Apr. 25 2008 10:31 AM
Rally Today in Response to Aquittals from New York

website: peoplesjustice.org

JUSTICE FOR SEAN BELL AND ALL VICTIMS OF POLICE VIOLENCE!!

COME OUT APRIL 25th THE DAY OF THE VERDICT!!
In Nov. 2006, Sean Bell was murdered by the NYPD in a hail of 50 bullets. His friends - Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman - seriously injured. 3 of the officers involved were acquitted of ALL charges! Outraged? We are.

PEOPLES JUSTICE for Community Control and Police Accountability is calling for a rally and community speak-out in front of the Queens DA's office ON THIS DAY.

COME OUT: APRIL 25th at 5:30 pm @ the Queens DA's Office
125-01 Queens Blvd. (between Hoover Ave & 82nd Ave.)

E or F train to Union Turnpike

Apr. 25 2008 10:31 AM
hjs from 11211

does anyone one think if the starting pay is 25k you're not going to get the sharpest bulbs?

this isn't going to be the last time this happens

the city should look into police procedures. where is the oversight. does ray kelly have a blank check?

Apr. 25 2008 10:31 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

Civil cases are not double jeopardy. Double jeopardy applies to criminal cases. They can't be retried on criminal charges obviously, but acquittal does not exempt them from law suits.

Apr. 25 2008 10:31 AM
Chris from NJ

Kerissa,

It may be conscending, but that doesn't make it less true. And you're right, the black community has more crime because of economic disparity. I think the legacy of slavery is just as responsible for the economic disparity as is racism today. But it doesn't matter why there's more crime, the point is there is more crime there and that's why cops are afraid of the people that live there. Even the black cops are, I've talked to them.

Apr. 25 2008 10:28 AM
Marco from Manhattan

This is not a case of "state sponsored terrorism" as one of your guests suggested rather incompetent cops (two of whom are black) tangling with a bunch of petty criminals. I've given up on WNYC...I guess I can't take Ron Kuby this early in the day...adios.

Apr. 25 2008 10:26 AM
lukas from VIllage

Per Brian's ignorant comment about sending defendants to prison for "subjective judgment" the law requires juries to make those exact subjective judgments.

The comment about not having malicious intent ignores the fact that there is "reckless disregard for human life" murder or manslaughter

Apr. 25 2008 10:26 AM
Alex from Manhattan

This lady, Janice Adams is ridiculous!! State sponsored terrorism? They were TRIED in a court of law, not given awards or medals. Being a cop is tough and these guys probably will stop beings cops very soon.

Lets not fool ourselves,this is a horrible situation. It would have been worse if they were convicted.

Apr. 25 2008 10:25 AM
David from Essex County, NJ

When it was first announced that the case would be decided by a judge and not a jury, I had a feeling that the verdict would lean towards the officers. To me, judges tend to lean towards the interests of law enforcement officials; juries tend to learn towards the victims. I seriously pray that the community will not erupt in violence over the verdict, but unfortunately, not everyone will be able to exhibit self control. Then again, in light of what could be perceived as the latest assault on African-Americans by police, it wouldn't be surprising.

Apr. 25 2008 10:23 AM
Leo 2 from Queens, NY

I am just appalled at the racist comments being posted here - This specific case was not racist per say - but it is a clear example of police abuse and incompetence on the part of our politicians and Police dept which we pay taxes for and should be accountable.

What minorities complain about is that police officers would not have acted with this recklessness at an upper class white club that is involved in prostituion and drug dealing. Police officers who are undercover should not have done what these officers did

Apr. 25 2008 10:23 AM
Dawn from Brooklyn

Chris,
No one has the right to mistreat you & you should serve the 'tude right back to them regardless of color. But if I deserve to be discriminated against because people think blacks commit the most crimes- Should I pay the same taxes as everyone and I can't live where I want? I can't get the same healthcare as others? My brother can be pulled over and shot to death? Black people do not commit the most crimes - if you think so, what is your source? The media wants to keep you afraid of blacks. You know who you should be afraid of? the white collar criminal who just drained your pension and foreclosed your house.

Apr. 25 2008 10:23 AM
Lauren from Brooklyn

In all other kinds of situations (drunk driving, buying stolen merchandise, medical malpractice), I would argue, "carelessness and incompetence" IS criminal, no? And, I would argue, cops are more accountable, in terms of criminality, for competence than other kinds of public figures. Incompetence IS criminal when you are trained to and willfully take responsibility for enforcing the law. It simply is; and if the law doesn't enforce that basic truth, then future cops won't take their responsibility for what it is. Responsibility has to mean accountability; otherwise it's meaningless.

Apr. 25 2008 10:23 AM
World's Toughest Milkman from the_C_train

I'm a bit amazed that they didn't get lesser charges at least, guess the civil cases will have quite different outcomes.

Isn't a civil case double jeopardy?

Apr. 25 2008 10:21 AM
Kerissa from Boerum Hill, Brooklyn

#72

That is a very conscending remark to make, Chris. And, frankly, the reason why the black community is shown to have more violence is because of economic disparity caused by racism. But being rich doesn't matter, either, since well-off black men still get harassed when they are being law abiding.

Apr. 25 2008 10:21 AM
Chris from NJ

They were acquitted because those accussed of manslaughter should have been accused of reckless endangerment. A judge won't convict you of a crime that you are not being prosecuted for. Prosecuters always go too far...

Apr. 25 2008 10:21 AM
nora york from new york city

Again... again and again and again ...
fifty shots!

Apr. 25 2008 10:21 AM
Jose from Bronx

I agree with this caller we live in a "Apartheid" city!

Apr. 25 2008 10:21 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Chris come out of the closet and admit that you’re a racist.

Apr. 25 2008 10:19 AM
Leo 2 from Queens, NY

The victims were trying to get away because an 'undercover' cop was going after them with a car - They happened to hit a police car and an officer getting in the way - Wouldn't you over react if you had some thugs (undercover cops) coming at you with guns? -
This is a result of poor training, incompetence and lack of accountability in the police dept and the politicians who run this city.
These cops should have been convicted of reckless endagerement and the management of the NYPD. - Mayor Bloomberg has failed to reform the Dept - (1) Accountability (2) Higher Pay (3) better training (4) removal of officers who join for the power trip (5) Residency requirement

Apr. 25 2008 10:15 AM
Tatiana Shluger from NYC

I am disgusted, outraged and extremely saddened by this morning's verdict.

There is no excuse for excessive force.

My heart goes out to the Bell family, his friends and his widowed fiancee.

Apr. 25 2008 10:15 AM
Dawn from Brooklyn

Dear Don the Cop,
Has a white unarmed man ever been murdered in a hail of bullets - a hail? No? Why not?
Are you also going to tell me that chicken poop is the same as chicken salad-because that's what it sounds like. It is a fact that the hospital mortality rate for Blacks is greater than whites. For Black women giving birth they are 4 times more likely to die in childbirth than white women. How does that make me feel at 81/2 months - if I die, well - oops? oh well - sh** happens? It happens for me four times more if I'm black.

Apr. 25 2008 10:15 AM
Stuart from Brooklyn

This verdict is a horror- sending the worst kind of message to civilians AND police officers. These unidentified undercover policemen who "heard" there was a gun, should be held to an even HIGHER standard- not just allow them an "they're incompetent- but not murderers" defense. The fact that they are deemed incompetent MEANS they are murderers. Changing their testamony repeatedly apparently means to the judge that they are credible. insane. Also, I guess you don't even need a gun anymore to justify anything- just the RUMOR of a gun is plenty of justification.

Apr. 25 2008 10:14 AM
Jose from Bronx

Although these incidents continue occur their has been a drop of these kind of incidents have dropped over their is a "Correlation" between the increased diversification in the police force and drop of these incidents...The more the force continues to reflect the people of this city and reduce Caucasian officers the less likely the incidents will continue in the future.

Apr. 25 2008 10:14 AM
Chris from NJ

Yes Dawn, I'm aware that blacks are mistreated by judges and juries. But you have to ask yourself why. Do asians get such a raw deal in the courts? Probably not, because they have been shown to commit fewer crimes. Racism is real, and it cuts both ways. I've have been mistreated more by black people than I have mistreated them. But I don't hold it against them because I know what they've been through.
Nevertheless, this case is more about stupid cops than racism.

Apr. 25 2008 10:13 AM
Matthew Moss from chelsea and queens

This is so frustrating. I feel, sick that in my home county of queens, police can unload rounds from their weapons in an excessive way and not be found guilty on some level of negligence and endangerment. It is disgusting failure of the justice system. The level of negligence allowed of law enforcement agents upon the citizens of this city is frightening.

Apr. 25 2008 10:12 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

Do you want these police officers undercover in your neighborhood? Do you want to see the law enforced in your neighborhood in the same way as it was in this neighborhood? Are you hopeful that the police will apply the same standards to your non-black neighbors as they did in this case in the interest of a color blind enforcement of the law?

Apr. 25 2008 10:12 AM
Mike from Bellport

Buzz-

What are you talking about? If the verdict had gone the other way, justice would have been served. There would have been no incentive for anyone to riot.

Apr. 25 2008 10:11 AM
Don the Cop from Bronx

Police deadly encounters always stir deep emotions. For minority communities they often feel that the encounter would not have occured if the persons were caucasian. Racebaitors Inc, and their attorney's market this for their own sincere but erroneous beliefs that police are inherently eviel and opressors of the people. Most NYPD officers today are from diverse backgrounds we try to serve and protect but we are humans and make mistakes. If a physican makes a mistake and a person dies its called negligence, if a police officer makes a mistate it is called reckless criminal behavior. Here the Judge saw negligence, not criminality.

Apr. 25 2008 10:08 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Let’s face it Chris, you are a bigot.

Apr. 25 2008 10:08 AM
jackie from NY

It is the media who is rioting!

Apr. 25 2008 10:08 AM
Chris from NJ

Nicole,

You've taken too many psych classes. It's normal human behaviour to profile people based on your experience, especially when you are in a dangerous environment.

Apr. 25 2008 10:05 AM
Dawn from Brooklyn

CHECK YOUR OWN FACTS! Blacks go to prison for longer, harsher sentences than whites who commit the SAME CRIME. And this country puts more people behind bars than any country in the world. This is statistics, this is facts. I hope that Chris does not have a job in the public sector or in any capacity over people's lives.

Apr. 25 2008 10:05 AM
Noah Wimmer from The Bronx

#8

Have you ever had someone pull a gun on you? How the hell did they know it was a cop? cause they yelled it whiole running at them with guns? what would you do if four thugs in jeans were running at you with guns, don't you think that you'd try to get the hell out of there?

Apr. 25 2008 10:04 AM
William from Harlem

We need to eliminate all white people from the force and cleanse and retrain all remainning the police and justice system from the White cultural racism...It needs to be done NOW!!!!!!!!

Apr. 25 2008 10:03 AM
Kerissa from Boerum Hill, Brooklyn

I think that it is disgraceful that the officers were acquitted on all counts. Even if justification could be found for Officer Isnora approaching and then shooting at Sean Bell's car, what about the officer who unloaded TWO clips - over 50 shots - into the car? What about the fact that the officers never stopped their fire to assess if anyone from the car was shooting back at them? Why are they not held responsible for that?

Apr. 25 2008 10:03 AM
Noah Wimmer from The Bronx

# 42

I'm a white person and I'll say it's definetely a race thing. Cops oppress minorities and serves the elites, mostly whites.

It's also a class thing and in NYC, that means a race thing.

Apr. 25 2008 10:01 AM
Dawn from Brooklyn

the race card almost always applies - that's why its called racism. All of the people who say there is no 'race issue' can rest assured that they will never be shot down in a hail of bullets. Doesn't it feel good to be white? You can be favored by justice and the government and then point your fingers and tell everyone else whether race is an issue in their lives. Must feel just great to be white.

Apr. 25 2008 10:01 AM
Jay Green from Brooklyn

No one seems to be talking about the fact that the Defendants claim that they heard someone say "Go get my gun"- probably the one single thing that a judge would use to justify danger the policemen claimed they were in. The fact is, as other witnesses said- no one said that, and the policemen "hearing" that, makes for a fabulous cover. Very sad.

Apr. 25 2008 10:00 AM
Joe Corrao from Brooklyn

Dawn---I'm saying for me the fact that the cops were not all white makes it a police brutality case for me...but I do totally agree the police and the justice system screws people of color...did not wanna sound like I was saying it was not racial at all...

Apr. 25 2008 10:00 AM
Lorenzo

Outrageous, forget race.. it's about the law.
How not to become estranged from it when 3 cops can kill an unharmed guy and receive no punishment. One can list all of the technicalities in the world but won't be able to conceal the basic fact: 3 cops killed an unharmed person.

Apr. 25 2008 10:00 AM
Buzz Roddy from Bronx

The verdict aside, I object to the expectation )and in the case of certian media, the hope) that all the black people are going to riot. If the verdict were to have gone the other way, would everybody be worrying about all the white people rioting?

Apr. 25 2008 10:00 AM
Noah Wimmer from The Bronx

A total and utter travesty of justice. NWA says it best "*^%$ the police."

Apr. 25 2008 09:59 AM
Mike from Bellport

JJ-

The judge was white. Race does matter here.

Apr. 25 2008 09:58 AM
Joe Corrao from Brooklyn

Chris...back up?...couldn't the police there have contained them once they got into the vehicle?...couldn't they have pinned them in AND not put themselves in harms way (it did come up in the trial that there were places they could've been protected from any shots that would have been fired)...there was plenty of ways they could've defused the situation WITHOUT firing that many shots...c'mon

Apr. 25 2008 09:58 AM
JJ from NYC

I agree with the 1st post by Chris. It seems that the cops were reckless, so the judge could have found them guilty of manslaughter.

Apr. 25 2008 09:58 AM
Chris from NJ

The people of Queens are just as racist as the cops. When you see white cops arrest your black neighbors, of course you will learn to fear cops. Likewise, when cops see most violent crime is commited by young black men (sorry this is a fact), they learn to fear black men. Even black cops have admitted to racial profiling. It may not be right, but it's human nature to act on past experience.

Apr. 25 2008 09:58 AM
Mitchel from SoHo

The verdicts of this case make me worry even more about the heavily armed police now patrolling the close quarters of the subways.

Apr. 25 2008 09:57 AM
donna from brooklyn

i'm appalled at this verdict. are police officers held to a higher or a lower standard than an ordinary person? just imagine if instead of police officers the shooters were lawfully armed, ordinary citizens. would any judge agree that it was reasonable for such citizens, in self defense to release a hail of 50 bullets, kill an unarmed man, injure 2 others, and shoot bullets into a train station where innocent bystanders could be hit? i think not. police should be held to a higher standard , not a lower one. and the military standard of overwhelming force, which seems to be what's in place in nyc, is a totally inappropriate one to be applied.

Apr. 25 2008 09:57 AM
William from Harlem

I agree Charlie, The City is a Apartheid city, were the majority that compose the city population are people of color and all the power is in the hands of the white minority!!!

Apr. 25 2008 09:57 AM
JJ from NYC

The race card does not work in this case. The cops were white, black, and hispanic.

Apr. 25 2008 09:56 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey


But the question you have to ask yourselves is: If it had been three white men, would this have ever happened? Would the cops have simply started shooting? Or would they have drawn their guns and given them a chance to surrender?

Just try to visualize this scene. And imagine that it's three rather shady white men at that. You don't need to picture them like three fine, upstanding young white men. Give them some priors. Give them some tattoos. Have them drunk. Stick a Confederate flag bumper sticker on their back bumper.

Do you see one corpse and two hospitalized men at the end of that scenario? Can you reasonably argue that this man would be just as dead if he were white?

Apr. 25 2008 09:56 AM
Mike from Bellport

These cops assumed these guys were criminals because they black. That's the problem.

Apr. 25 2008 09:56 AM
siad

Would love to see a few protests about black on black crime.

They do take place every so often don't they?

Apr. 25 2008 09:56 AM
Dawn from Brooklyn

Sorry Joe, not a racial thing? If you were Black, you would not say that. Can any white person stand up and say that this is racial or are you still all in denial?

Apr. 25 2008 09:55 AM
sensen

black men have a reasonable doubt to get shot by police based on the instances where this has happened?

That's a numbers game, I doubt those w that assertion want to play the numbers game.

Apr. 25 2008 09:55 AM
Steven Mark from Manhattan

Ron Kuby consistently ignores the Constitution when it comes to his adversary. You have a right to a trial by jury not the obligation to have one. This is the very kind of case in which you don't want an OJ jury.

Apr. 25 2008 09:54 AM
Chris from NJ

They didn't stop them at the time they made the threat because they waited til they had back up. Get your facts straight people.

Sure, reckless endangerment would be a reasonable conviction, probably for the guy who fired first (who happened to be black). ANYONE in that position would start firing once one of their partners started.

Apr. 25 2008 09:53 AM
Mike from Bellport

Everything I heard from this trial was that these cops were out of control.

This is a travesty. I'd be surprised if riots don't happen.

Apr. 25 2008 09:53 AM
Joe Corrao from Brooklyn

Chris...I am a white man and this was not a racial thing it was a police brutality thing....

Apr. 25 2008 09:52 AM
Nicole from NJ

Chris,

Black cops are not immune to being co-opted to the prevailing mentality of white male dominated police culture. They can internalize the belief that black = evil. Self-loathing exists in all communities. That point is irrelevant.

Apr. 25 2008 09:51 AM
Dawn from Brooklyn

What is a thug? Can a white person be a thug? If so, describe what you mean. If Blacks go to jail twice as much for the same crimes as whites, then clearly the justice system sees 'thugs' as Blacks.

Apr. 25 2008 09:50 AM
Charlie from Bronx

What most people don't understand is that these ocurrances are so prevalent for the reason that although the city is inhabited by a majority of people of color, they constantly removed from any influence of power, Starting with the Mayor with and any political power, and the Economical power in white people hands the Academic institutions and the media...NYC has become a apartheid city were the majority in disenfranchised and the white minority hold all the power!

Apr. 25 2008 09:49 AM
Kush

"If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgement and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher then they."

Ecclesiates 5:8

Should we feel sorry for officers lost in WTC, when this happens?

Apr. 25 2008 09:49 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

But Chris, those cops were also involved in creating the dangerous situation when they didn't stop them WHEN THEY HEARD THE THREAT. They allowed the situation to spiral dangerously out of control, waited until the possibility of being surprised with a gun was at its greatest, and then unloaded their guns on this car. And not only did they unload their guns, one of them REloaded his gun and continued firing...

Should they have been found guilty on all charges? Probably not. The highest count was a stretch. But were they guilty of some of those other charges or a lesser charge of reckless endangerment? You better believe it.

Apr. 25 2008 09:49 AM
Shirly from Brooklyn

a cop is a cop, regardless of skin color, when they put on that uniform, they're all blue. the corruption of power erases all color lines. people have the facts, chris, and you know what we're tired of- seeing our brothers getting killed and the murderers getting away scot free time and time again! that's what we're tired of.

Apr. 25 2008 09:48 AM
Chris from NJ

Sorry, I'm not callous, I'm just really tired of the same old complaints by people that don't have the facts.

How many of you even know that THE FIRST COP TO PULL THE TRIGGER WAS BLACK???? I doubt he has no regard for people of color.

"The self-defense justification of deadly force requires an objectively reasonable belief that an imminent threat exists."
These cops believed a threat existed.

Apr. 25 2008 09:44 AM
Shirly from Brooklyn

When you cannot trust the people who are 'supposed' to protect you, when you see evidence, over and over again of them abusing their power, targeting people of color, acting without care and regard for the life of people who look like you, then of course resistance is seen as necessary! try to understand this people.

Apr. 25 2008 09:42 AM
Marco from Manhattan

Jim is correct Bell, Guzman and Benefield were thugs and criminals...at least one of whom tried to run over a police officer. That said the cops were undisciplined.

Apr. 25 2008 09:41 AM
Dawn from Brooklyn

An unarmed white man has never been struck down like this by police. A white man has never been put to death for killing a black man. If you hear the story, 'man shot numerous times by police the biggest probability is that the victim was black'. No white person will deny it. If cops are afraid of black people in general, and are not concerned when black people die, then they are not fit for the job. Not everyone can be a cop. If you look at all of the 'dirty cops' then you realize there are many unfit cops, so how is it that no cop who has murdered a person in this way could be 'unfit'? Anyone who defends these cops is generally white. Racism is so predictable these days its ridiculous. It's like paint by numbers. That's why there is so little cooperation w/cops in minority communities - call the cop on your neighbor and they could end up dead. I hope the feds get involved b/c NY justice is a joke. Again, racism is so completely predictable - statistically it skews the law so that the benefit of the doubt is almost never given to Blacks. Your guest Prof Eugene - should not feed chicken poop on air - calling it 'law' and expect people to taste chicken salad.

Apr. 25 2008 09:40 AM
Dan from crown heights, brooklyn, NY

C'mon Brian, no more apologist prattle about how the cops have to "live with having killed 3 men" for the rest of their lives. Those men are dead, and the cops went free. There is no justice today.

Apr. 25 2008 09:40 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Every so many years we go through the death and murder by police of an African American or Hispanic male in a hail of police gunfire. The police charged are acquitted and we wait for another like accident. Nothing changes.

It is unfortunate that a city that has a near majority of people of color cannot elect a mayor that is committed to cleaning up the NYPD’s culture of racism, corruption and apartheid.

Apr. 25 2008 09:39 AM
chris feldmann from brooklyn

Mr Lynch (?): "There are no winners, there are no losers."

Um, At the very least a life was lost. Rodney King's arrestors should have been foresightful enough to just unload 51 rounds, apparently.

Apr. 25 2008 09:39 AM
Rachel from Washington Heights

The standard that allows a scared cop to do anything is unjustifiable. A New York neighborhood is not a Vietnamese rice paddy, but in either case using fear to turn the area into a free-fire zone is a crime.

It's reasonable to acquit the officers on the assault charges, but Detective Oliver should have been convicted of manslaughter, and the reckless endangerment charges--based on forensic evidence and harm to the surrounding neighborhood--could never have been reasonably dismissed.

Today's soundtrack: KRS-One, "Never Hadda Gun."

Apr. 25 2008 09:38 AM
Jarel from Coney Island, Brooklyn

It amazes me the level of callousness that white people have for people of color, People of color are not seen as human beings.

Apr. 25 2008 09:38 AM
Joe Corrao from Brooklyn

Chris...thats the whole debate DID they identify themselves as police....I raised this a while back on this message board...when the Police heard one of the Sean bell party say "get my gun" WHY didn't they do something THEN...and NOT wait till they were penned up in a parked car....

Apr. 25 2008 09:37 AM
Chenisse from Bklyn

Do you know how many times I've seen it on the street that they try to arrest a black guy and the family goes nuts on the sidewalk? Then they arrest everyone. Then they call the cops pigs for that. You're not supposed to resist.

Apr. 25 2008 09:36 AM
Eno from Queens

Maybe black guys shouldn't confront police with guns, and when they're told to freeze, maybe they should freeze. Maybe they shouldn't lie on the stand where judges see them for liars.

Apr. 25 2008 09:35 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

Professor O'Donnell's position seems to be that if police officers enter a scene they suspect to be dangerous, the proper course of action is to shoot everything that moves and sort out the details later.

Plenty of cops have been able to stop a dangerous man WITH A REAL GUN without having to blow him away. I certainly think it's possible to stop people who don't have guns at all.

Apr. 25 2008 09:35 AM
Marco from Manhattan

Put on the BBC...

Apr. 25 2008 09:35 AM
Ayanna from Brooklyn, NY

Brian, how DARE your guest (Mr. O'Donnell?) say, “Well, this should never happen again.” Um, isn’t that what the apologists say EVERY TIME? If the police keep getting off, IT’S GOING TO KEEP ON HAPPENING!!!!

I guess it’s still open season on black men. It's a very hard notion for me to accept, as I have a black husband and 6-month-old son. Will we still be saying, "I hope this never happens again" when my son is eighteen? The more things change the more they stay the same.

Apr. 25 2008 09:33 AM
Jim from NY, NY

Bell is a thug and ran with thugs. Those cops NEVER committed a crime. This is justice and a great result. We should appreciate Judge Cooperman's independence in the face of a political witch hunt against those cops. Now stay off the subway.

Apr. 25 2008 09:33 AM
Jeffrey Slott from East Elmhurst

This is a travesty of justice.
And the opinion that the cops were merely "reckless" is horrible. Mistakes are not created equal, Chris.
If as a musician, I hit a wrong chord, nobody gets killed. Same thing when the kid at the cash register hits a 5 instead of a 4.
Cops carry guns. They have the authority to use those guns. They have the authority to arrest people, to detain citizens, to use brutal force against citizens.
Cops are not entitled to be reckless. And we, as the tax-paying citizenry of this state should not allow them the luxury of getting away with killing us.

Apr. 25 2008 09:33 AM
upper west sider

This is verdict is a travesty--policemen are trained to deal with people in difficult situations without killing them, aren't they? I agree with "a woman" that I wouldn't want these policemen to stay on the force.

Apr. 25 2008 09:32 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

We need to hold these cops accountable for their reckless actions. Unfortunately the only way to do this is to let our City Council reps., State government reps., and Fed gov. reps. know that this verdict is clearly reckless.

Unfortunately, nothing has changed......

Apr. 25 2008 09:32 AM
NO HOPE from Harlem

Yes, lets get over it thier is no hope between the White criminal justice system and people of color. It is Open season on black people!!!

Apr. 25 2008 09:32 AM
Nicole from NJ

This is a travesty, and only serves to perpetuate the historical animosity between the police and the African-American community. It's clearly a slap in the face, and reconfirms the belief that a "black life" is of no real value in the US legal system. "Liberty and Justice for all" ?

Apr. 25 2008 09:31 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

Chris,

Being reckless with lethal force IS a crime. And you're right. It's not murder. It's manslaughter.

Apr. 25 2008 09:31 AM
Chris from NJ

Sorry, if a cop pulls a gun at you, you put your hands up, you don't try to run them over.

Apr. 25 2008 09:30 AM
Marco from Manhattan

Thank goodness for people like Professor O'Donnell who seems to understand the law rather than react to the prevailing political climate.

Apr. 25 2008 09:29 AM
AFB from New York

I would rather be listening to the BBC right now. We have all day to talk about this local news, and no doubt WNYC will talk about it all day. I am more interested in the global news and the mess we've made there. I don't care to listen to more news made by New Yorkers about themselves and their careless and callous regard for human life. That is not news! That is to be expected around here. What is really important is what is happening in Syria, Israel, North Korea today!

Apr. 25 2008 09:29 AM
a woman from manhattan

"Reckless but not murderers" is not what I want wearing a uniform, wearing a gun, and walking around MY city. If they're acquitted by the law, there's nothing I can do about it. But I do NOT want ANY of these policemen back on the force in any way, shape or form. Has their future as policemen been addressed? I'd like to know.

Apr. 25 2008 09:29 AM
Shirly from Brooklyn

[[BL Moderator Writes: Comment Removed for violating wnyc posting policies. Please keep your comments civil.]]

Apr. 25 2008 09:28 AM
Joe Corrao from Brooklyn

That verdict was as criminal as the actions of the police....

Apr. 25 2008 09:28 AM
Chris from NJ

Ms Williams,

The cops weren't just scared. Sean Bell and co tried to run a cop over. Why do we forget this?

Apr. 25 2008 09:22 AM
Chris from NJ

Get over it people. These cops were reckless, but not murderers. Sean Bell and friends put themselves in a dangerous situation and then acted inappropriately.

Apr. 25 2008 09:21 AM

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