Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Federal Response Weighed in Wake of Sean Bell Decision

The City of New York and the NYPD may become the focus of a Federal probe as politicians step in to address the real issue of the Sean Bell case - the repeated shooting of unarmed African-American citizens by policemen.

US Rep John Conyers (pictured left) chairs the powerful House Judiciary Committee. He joined other New York politicians including Rep Charlie Rangell in filing a request for the Department of Justice to investigate civil rights violations of Sean Bell, Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman.

In the wake of Judge Arthur Cooperman's dismissal of all charges against the three NYPD detectives who unleashed 50 shots into a car with three unarmed suspects killing one and wounding two, the civil rights division of the Justice Department and the FBI's New York field Office announced they will investigate the facts of the case.

For all of Judge Arthur Cooperman's legal interpretations, the real truth is an unacceptable trend continues. Where the New York court system routinely absolves officers of any responsibility for the use of excessive force in cases where they felt "threatened" or that "their lives were in danger" ( a definition so broad it overshadows logic and common sense) and as such felt the only option was to open fire.

It may be 2008 but it smells like 1908.

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