It's about our community and our spirituality!

No Justice For Sean Bell

Is it really a surprise to people in the black community that the three police officers on trial for the murder of Sean Bell were acquitted? In New York, New York of all places? Is this not the same city where police sodomized Abner Louima, a black man in their custody, and then tried to deny it? Is this not the same town where Amidou Diallo, a black man walking home with a bag of groceries in his arms, was gunned down for pulling out his wallet to identify himself? Was it not too far from here where John White was found guilty for shooting a drunk white teen while trying to defend his family and his home from a mob of white kids? Do we really need another example of the contempt the dominant community has against people from the black community?

Did anyone really think that the family of Sean Bell would be able to attain some kind of justice when there was no justice for Martin Lee Anderson, the fourteen year old black boy, who was murdered on camera by seven boot camp guards while the boot camp nurse looked on and approved everything they did? Did anybody think there would be justice for a black man when we watched the tape of several New Orleans, Louisiana’s finest beating sixty four year old Robert Davis to the ground for the crime of asking a police officer for information and making the comment about the police department’s unprofessional conduct?

We all watched with horror and with sick fascination the tape of a boot camp guard holding a baton against Martin Anderson’s throat, keeping him up as his body surrendered its last bit of strength and tried to slump to the ground, while the other guards beat him. We watched the police in New Orleans initiate the attack against Mr. Davis, wrestle him to the ground as they yelled for him to put his arms behind his back as the law enforcers held his arms in front of him, we could hear Mr. Davis saying that he would if they would just let him. And yet, the judges and juries will say that they watched these videos and concluded that the black victim was actually a perpetrator who could have prevented the entire ordeal simply by doing what they were told. Why would we expect anything different here?

Why do we act surprised to hear about this latest acquittal? Did anyone really expect anything different to happen? A police officer can expect to lose his or her job for inconveniencing the mother of the Mayor’s wife by giving the woman a speeding ticket, but a police officer that kills an innocent black man in a case of mistaken identity is untouchable. One of the police officers shot at the car Mr. Bell and his friends were in thirty one times. He had to reload his gun in order to keep shooting. It didn’t mean a thing in the judge’s eyes. It was all understandable.

The dominant community continues to hound Barack Obama for the divisive but true comments of his former pastor Jeremiah Wright. But are Mr. Wright’s comments more divisive than the actions of police officers that will shoot a black man, taking the time to stop and reload, thirty one times? Are Mr. Wright’s comments somehow more divisive than a judge who will say that the testimonies from black witnesses are not credible because they have convictions? These are the same judges that wouldn’t hesitate to come down on a black defendant with a prior conviction that confesses to a crime. And then people have to wonder why people in the black community don’t bother to help the authorities solve crimes.

Many people in the black community continue to think that the best bet for our survival is to do our best to try and integrate, to live among the dominant society where people on a regular basis are acquitted of the crime of killing and abusing black people at any time for any reason. In today’s socially charged atmosphere of racial disparity and discrimination it is a feat of the highest legal skill, experience, and knowledge to get a court to recognize discrimination in the business environment. Now, the courts are making it just as difficult for a black person to get some kind of justice when we are gunned down when minding our own business. We are convicted for trying to defend our homes from angry white drunks. Our word means nothing in the court room. But let one of us say goddamn America and black people are the ones being divisive.

People in the black community need to rethink our relationship with the dominant community. The disparity between the two communities is getting wider and wider. Police murder us in the streets and suffer no repercussions while black pastors are demonized for preaching about racial disparity in our communities. Even when the most extreme forms of this discrimination is caught on tape it is dismissed as our fault because we didn’t prostrate ourselves in front of the cop fast enough or the police officer was having a bad day and had to release his frustrations on the black citizen or whatever. We are in danger every time we come out in public from the very people sworn to protect the public. The police and the courts are doing their best to protect the public from black people.

Saturday, April 26, 2008 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black Men, Black People, Jeremiah Wright, Life, Racism, Thoughts


  1. BrotherP,

    These are the same type of people who could sit there and see with their own eyes cops beat Rodney King within inches of his life and say that if he had just lay down and submit none of this would have continued. Shoot a man to death in his back down in New Orleans for cutting cardboard boxes with scissors to make beds for he and his homeless children.

    And shoot an unarmed young woman to death and shoot her one year old son because a cop feared for his life. And since she also had a prior arrest it was OK because we know that black people with any prior arrest history (or not) have no rights, credibility and are always putting fear into police no matter what they are doing or not doing.

    And is this really what I would want to integrate into and put my children both of whom are boys at risk to end up at the wrong end of a hail of police bullets or hanging from the baton of an overzealous boot camp officer or their being violated by sodomizing sadistic policemen. This is absurd. We need to open our eyes.

    People get more time, they actually GET time for killing a dog. Hence Michael Vick. Yet kill a black person, and be told “hey you didn’t have a choice.” He was unarmed, “hey, he’s black that is still dangerous.” And every time you turn around some silly person will come up with any flimsy excuse for why they (the cops etc.) had no choice but to kill. Also, that 50 bullets, sodomy by broomstick, choking via baton and shooting one year old black children was somehow rational and totally not excessive.

    We now know that blacks are dangerous when holding babies, driving cars, pulling out wallets, cutting cardboard boxes, asking for help, being a young man unable to run, going home from bachelor parties, defending your family and home, walking home with groceries, having a hair brush, holding candy bars and simply having black skin.

    Like I said we had better wake up before it is too late. They can and will justify any type of dominant culture on black person murder. Soon they will want to implement the Bill Bennett plan for crime reduction of aborting all babies. This is the man who was the former United Secretary of Education. We have the man who was over educating our children saying that so why we should believe that we stand any chance in the dominant society?

    Great post thanks!

    Comment by theblacksentinel | Sunday, April 27, 2008 | Reply

  2. Exactly! A cop will be severely reprimanded for using harsh language on a white kid. Knock a white kid off of his skateboard and face an early dishonorable retirement. If a police officer draws their weapon on a dog they better have a good explanation, and “I feared for my life” is not a good explanation for pumping Fido with lead. But the standards for the justified murder of black people is so easy a caveman can do it. And the solution? Black people need to integrate like John White tried to do. Robert Davis had successfully integrated and he got the beat down anyway. Integration is not the solution. Living amongst these killers and abusers of black people is not the solution.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Sunday, April 27, 2008 | Reply

  3. brotherpeacemaker,

    Excellent essay. You have hit on two particular things happening in America right now. (1) Ever-expanding “police state” mentality; and (2) ever-expanding gulf between Whites in power, and Blacks from all walks of life. The two connected but they are not the same thing. However, they come from the same place: FEAR. There’s a whole lot of scared White people in America right now, and a disproportionate number of them are in positions of power, and among those powerful ones, too many are police, prosecutors, judges, jail wardens and jail guards.

    I would even suggest that fear is the primary motivator for these Whites gaining power — fear that if they don’t and wield that power, they will succumb to those whom they fear.

    What else can explain each of the horrendous murders you cite in your essay? Fear is at the bottom of all antisocial behavior — fear, and usually some history of abuse as a child. The abuse can be verbal/emotional cruelty, physical abuse, or some combination of those things. Abuse creates a desire to lash out in revenge. It also screws with the psyche — and the result is that the revenge typically is taken out on a scapegoat. Thus Hitler chased Jews to their death under the authority of the Third Reich. David Duke hates Black folks and seeks political power to abuse them through the long arm of the government. And so on.

    You are correct that they cannot properly say “I feared for my life” while wielding radically disproportionate power and force. It is unethical and inhumane for them to try to excuse or forgive themselves on those counts.

    Frederick Douglass knew the score. He always argued for agitation and stubborn insistence on equality. One of his most famous statements is that power never yields anything without a struggle.

    White America is not going to simply come to its senses and yield power and access.

    Comment by Micah Pyre | Sunday, April 27, 2008 | Reply

  4. After Rodney King, I’m not surprised. With Rodney King, I was surprised.

    I suppose you could call that growth in my perspective, though it’s an unfortunate way to get there.

    Comment by Deirdre Saoirse Moen | Sunday, April 27, 2008 | Reply

  5. The black community knew for years that black people were susceptible for a beat down from a cop. Black people would show up at the station in handcuffs and bleeding profusely from their month or from a head wound. They fell was the common excuse. Rodney King was only the first time it occurred and somebody had proof. Rodney King didn’t surprise me. What surprised me was the fact that the courts actually made a half assed attempt at justice for the police brutality caught on film. That was then. Now, even when a video camera catches the brutality of law enforcement at work, the American society has become so accustomed to seeing police abusing and killing black people it’s no longer enough just to see it. Courts and juries now acquit badge wearing murderers because their victims are black. What surprises me now is the fact that this does not register to the majority of black people and we continue to try and integrate.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Sunday, April 27, 2008 | Reply

  6. […] by Jack Stephens on April 28, 2008 Brotherpaecemaker blogs about the acquittal of the homicidal cops from New York: People in the black community need to rethink our […]

    Pingback by No Justice for Sean Bell « The Blog and the Bullet | Monday, April 28, 2008 | Reply

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