NYC Grassroots Organizations, Elected Officials Prepare Response For Sean Bell Decision

As

a Queens, New York grand jury prepares to hand down a decision for the five police

officers accused of murdering Sean Bell, a coalition of New York City-based grassroots

organizations are coming together to demand justice in the aftermath of the fatal

shooting.The

effort is being spearheaded by Peoples’ Justice, a NYC group comprised of various

grassroots organizations who are dedicated to fighting for equal opportunities

for all. Member

organizations include: Audre Lorde Project(ALP); CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities;

Desis Rising Up and Moving(DRUM); Families United for Racial and Economic Justice(FUREE);

FIERCE!; Immigrant Justice Solidarity Project (IJSP); Jews for Racial and Economic

Justice (JFREJ); Justice Committee; Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM); National

Hip-Hop Convention; and Nodutdol for Korean Community Development.The

organizations are expected to join City Council member Charles Barron and other

elected officials as well as representatives of the Bell family and other families

of victims of police brutality for a press conference in front of One Police Plaza

(behind the Municipal Building at One Centre Street).The

event is scheduled to take place at noon the day after the grand jury’s decision

in the case, which has sparked protests and criticism of the NYPD. If the day

falls on a weekend, the press conference will be at 10 a.m.The

gathering is the latest happening in the aftermath of the Nov. 25, 2006 murder

of Bell, who was killed the day before his wedding after leaving a Queens strip

club. According to reports, plain clothes police officers descended on the vehicle

Bell was in, which also housed his two close friends, Joseph Guzman and Trent

Benefield.The

officers, whom Bell reportedly mistook for assailants, fired 50 rounds at the

groom to be, who attempted to escape. Guzman and Benefield were wounded in the

incident, but survived.Since

the hearing began, a Support the Bell Family daily vigil has been held at the

Queens Supreme Court in Kew Gardens. The vigil, which takes place from 10 a.m.

to 2 p.m., weekdays, will continue until the grand jury’s decision is announced.On

Wednesday (March 14), the New York Police Department announced they will deploy

more than 4,000 street and undercover officers to various areas in the city in

preparation of more protests.The

department’s announcement comes amid recent news of a last minute witness in the

case who said he witnessed the shooting and had information about it, according

to reports, which stated that the witness came forward on his own to say someone

other than the police fired shots and fled."It

appears to me that there may be unnamed parties who are eager to throw a monkey

wrench into the gears of justice," Congressman Gregory W. Meeks told AllHipHop.com

in a statement. Meeks

believes the 11th hour development has "all the earmarks of a provocation

and a maneuver to delay, if not disrupt, the grand jury process." "I

trust that neither District Attorney Brown nor the grand jury will allow a detour

to be placed in the path of their patient, detailed, diligent work," Meeks

said. "I urge the community and people of goodwill throughout the city to

remain vigilant, disciplined, and hopeful, at all times respecting justice and

keeping their "eyes on the prize."People’s

Justice will hold another rally at 5 p.m. the day after the decision at Union

Square if the decision is reached on a weekday and noon if the day after falls

on a weekend.The

public is invited to attend the gatherings. For

details, visit www.myspace.com/peoplesjustice.

To sign up for the family’s e-list, visit the Bell family’s website at: www.justiceforsean.net.

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