News is in this morning that the 3 detectives in the Sean Bell case have all been acquitted on all charges pertaining to Sean Bell’s murder.
I’m shocked although sadly it’s not even that surprising.I had hoped though that justice might have been served. This is a travesty, a huge injustice and disrespectful of human life. What kind of a message does this verdict send out!? Police are still above the law it seems, able to kill innocent people willy nilly and not be held accountable. Lord help any of us who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Not only do we have to worry about being shot by criminals, but those who are supposed to protect us might kill us too.
Sean Bell was shot 50 times. 50. 5-0. I cannot for the life of me understand how or why officers who are highly trained in how to shoot accurately need to shoot one person 50 times. Could they not have disarmed (if they believe he was carrying a gun) or maimed him with a couple of shots? It’s likely that he probably would have died after the first few bullets anyway, so why the need for 50? That to me, does not sound like the actions of officers who were in control of a situation. Somehow the judge deemed otherwise.
What does this do for the relationship between the police and local communities? Let me be specific here – what does this do for the (already tense) relationship between the police and black people? We are supposed to trust the police, we are supposed to have faith in their ability to protect us when we can’t protect ourselves, they are supposed to be the ones who act as a barrier between us and those who might wish us harm. History has already shown many black people that they can’t and shouldn’t trust the police… and this ridiculous verdict further reinforces that point of view.
Is it ok for the police to kill innocent people just because they were ‘doing their job’? That’s what this verdict seems to suggest. Ah well, ya know, the cops were just doing their best, and too bad for Sean Bell who was caught up in it all. Never mind that he was innocent, that doesn’t matter…. Huh?? Even if the police were just doing their jobs, they made a fatal error which cost a young man his life. Their actions have fundamentally changed the lives of his family, his fiancee, his friends… Is there NO accountability for that whatsoever?!
Maybe the police were acting in the line of duty but they got it drastically wrong. Their actions did not protect. Their actions hurt and destroyed. They did not help a situation, they made it worse. If I work in a company and my actions – even if I believe them to be right at the time – end up in some huge financial loss or disaster for the company, you can bet I will be fired pretty promptly. The police’s actions in this case resulted in a huge mess: the loss of an innocent young life. The judge said that there was no evidence that the police officers acted criminally. Are you telling me that killing an innocent person is not criminal?! Once again, I ask – where’s the accountability??
In England, THANK GOD, the police do not carry guns (and guess what – crimes still get solved without them!)… A case like this proves even further that they should not be able to. Why? Cos they can’t get it right! The police cannot be trusted to carry lethal arms. Ok, once in a while, things go wrong – they are human after all. I get that, but when things go wrong, you have to be held responsible. And the cops in the Sean Bell murder case should have been held responsible. If they were a group of thugs carrying arms who accidentally killed a young man, they would have gone to prison. But no, clearly wearing a police badge puts them above the law.
It’s a sad, very very sad day for justice. What’s even worse is that judging by many of the comments I’ve read online, many people expected this verdict. I feel for the family and friends and anyone else who knows Sean Bell. I didn’t even know him and I’m outraged. The family must keep on fighting and get the necessary justice that is due to them and their son. America’s police and legal system needs to check themselves and ask some hard questions.