Thousands Protest The NYPD Over Killing Of Sean Bell

Thousands

of protesters convened outside of the downtown Manhattan headquarters of the New

York Police Department on Wednesday (Dec. 6) and demanded for the dismissal of

high-ranking officials in the aftermath of the murder of an African-American groom-to-be.

Police

watched and helicopters circled in the air above, as the crowd chanted slogans

like, "What do we want? – Justice! When do we want it? Now!" The tense

conditions yielded no arrests. On

November 25, Sean Bell, who celebrated at a Queens strip club, was murdered on

the eve of his wedding day after plain clothes police descended on his vehicle,

which also housed two of his close friends. Bell

reportedly mistook the officers for assailants and attempted to escape, only to

be met with 50 rounds that killed him and wounded two others. Nicole

Paultre, his would-be bride, had to see his bullet-ridden body of her high school

sweetheart on the day they were to be married. Rapper

Immortal Technique attended the rally and stated that it is time for a concerted,

well-thought out, organized movement, which encompasses all walks of life. "We’re

mobilizing youth, we’re mobilizing gangs, whether its Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings,

whatever. They call us gangs all the time, but who’s really a gang," Technique

asked AllHipHop.com as he looked towards the abundance of police in the area. "Who’s

got the most fire power? Who’s got the most money? Who’s got the most drugs?"Council

Member Charles Barron, a former Black Panther and longtime activist, said that

the shooting that killed Bell and critically injured his friend, was a blatant

act of racism. "They

tried to say in this case race is not an issue. Let me tell you something…the

police department is no exception. said Barron to the people. "We don’t care

if [the officers that shot at Bell] were Black [or] Latino. Just because we got

some house Negroes that will shoot us at the behest of their masters, once those

police officers join the police department, they all turn blue. We are under a

racist, out-of-control police department. " Technique

acknowledged the racial component to the Bell killing, but also charged that there

is a wider perspective to consider. "This

has become much more than a race issue. Its also a class issue and a human rights

issue. A lot of people have been (killed), but yet there has been no change in

police procedure or police policy," he stated. "Until we see that [change]

we are going to continue to be out here [protesting]," Technique said. Barron

insisted that the NYPD and other such police departments are under a systemic

racist regime, which has resulted in the death of a number of people recently.

They

chastised the practice of "no-knock" warrants, which allow police to

enter a person’s residence without warning or announcement. Recently,

while serving a "no knock warrant" in Atlanta, a 92-year-old African

American woman wounded three officers that entered her home. The officers killed

her, sparking national debated and protest. "Every

time they come into our community and disrespect our Black youth, disrespect our

families, we are saying we have had enough," Barron said. "We need to

let this system know that they need to fear us. They have no fear (of) us. One

we put some fear in peoples’ heart, whether its politically, economically or physically,

then they will leave you alone." Many

of those in the multicultural crowd shared stories of police brutality, misconduct

and harassment. Additionally, a significant number of the protesters were White

and other nationalities. "They

talk about not snitching, but I don’t see [police] snitch on each other. I don’t

ever see them cross the blue wall of silence," Technique said. "I’ve

seen them arrest people that have drugs, take half their drugs and charge them

with the rest of it. Finally, with a lot of other people, we want to see change.

If we don’t see change one way, we gonna see change the other way." Reverend

Al Sharpton recently accompanied Bell’s fiancee to the Larry King Show and offered

a more reserved, but proactive point of view to the police role in the slaying.

"Most

people question the police conduct, not the police. We need the police,"

said Sharpton to King. "Excessive force and deadly force must be looked at

nationally. We can’t keep going case by case. Let’s make something positive and

permanent out of this, and that will be the legacy of Sean Bell." Several

protests are planned in New York City in prominent areas like Wall Street in downtown

Manhattan. Legal wrangling over the Bell murder could continue for years. To

Larry King, Nicole Paultre said, "We just want justice. That’s what we’re

praying for. That’s what we’re hoping for."

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