Monday, March 19th, 2007

Sean Bell Case Heats Up: Detectives Indicted, Protestors Arrested

Just off the wire: Two of the detectives–who accounted for 42 of the 50 shots–have been indicted on first- and second-degree manslaughter charges. One more detective is being indicted on a reckless endangerment charge.

Coverage is here:

New York Times

However, many believe that there was enough evidence for the Queens DA to bring stronger murder charges.

As a result a new wave of protests has begun, already resulting in 4 arrests at the Queens’ DA’s office. Famed community activist and former Young Lord Panama Alba is among those arrested. Hundreds also gathered at Union Square this afternoon and marched down Broadway to City Hall, blocking traffic.

Here’s the press release:

Activists Block Entrance to Queens Courthouse to
Protest DA’s Failure to Indict All Cops in Bell Shooting

A group of activists today blocked the entrance to the Queens Courthouse at 125-01 Queens Boulevard, Kew Gardens, to protest the Queen’s DA’s failure to indict all the police officers involved in the murder of Sean Bell and the attempted murder of his two friends, Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman.

“If the District Attorney is closing the doors of justice to the victims of these shootings, then we feel obligated to physically close the doors of justice to demonstrate our outrage with this criminal, criminal justice system,” said one activist.

Members of the group also expressed concern that the trial would be moved out of New York City and will result in the acquittal of the indicted police officers as was the case with the police officers who killed Amadou Diallo. Additionally, they called for the immediate removal of Police Commissioner Kelly and NYPD Chief Anthony Izzo and an independent prosecutor for all cases involving police brutality/misconduct.

Activists are calling for a 5pm rally tomorrow evening at Union Square.

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