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Friday, April 25, 2008


The 51st shot to the body of Sean Bell

50 shots were fired at the unarmed Sean Bell and his companions by armed thugs employed as police officers, taking the life of Bell and leaving bullets in the body of one of his companions. Today a judge in New York fired the 51st shot by acquitting the police officers of all charges in the murder. Because, as always, he was "reaching for a weapon." Or rather, Joseph Guzman, the one who still has four bullets in his body, "made a sudden move as if he were reaching for a gun." Or so says the police officer. How that would justify shooting Bell isn't explained. The judge says "The people have not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that each defendant was not justified" in firing, but what justification could there possibly be at firing at someone who wasn't even claimed to be "reaching for a gun"?

Maybe he was just reaching for his wallet, like one of the last famous murder victims of the New York City police, Amadou Diallo. Let's listen to Bruce Springsteen honor that victim, and as we do, let's remember that the New York City police had the audacity to picket Madison Square Garden while Bruce was inside singing this song.

Update: Statement from the La Riva/Puryear campaign.

Update 2: Bruce Springsteen's tribute to his recently deceased bandmate Danny Federici, in which we learn of their own encounters with the police.

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