News, commentary and analysis by leaders of the Communist Party USA in New York State. We discuss State politics and issues in New York City, covering developments in labor, civil rights education, housing and more.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sean Bell Protests Rock New York City

By Dan Margolis

Nothing can bring Sean Bell, an African American man murdered by police officers on the eve of his wedding, back. But tens of thousands of New Yorkers and others are demanding that something be done to redress what most see as a travesty of justice: Not only was Sean Bell killed, and two of his friends wounded, when cops, unprovoked, fired fifty bullets at him, but of the five officers involved, only three were indicted—and each was acquitted on all counts.

New Yorkers and others, led by the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network and a host of labor and community organizations, are demanding a federal civil rights suit be brought against the police officers involved, a special state prosecutor to review and prosecute claims of police brutality, and a police civilian review board with teeth.

On May 7, coordinated civil disobedience actions around Manhattan and Brooklyn brought out thousands of people to support these demands, and justice for Sean Bell. Overall, more than 200 people were arrested at the different sites, including Bell's wife Nicole Paultre Bell, the other shooting victims, Rev. Sharpton, N.Y. NAACP leader Hazel Dukes, leaders of United for Peace and Justice and of the Communist Party USA.

Sharpton said that this is just the beginning, and vowed further civil disobedience that would "shut this city down" if justice is not served.

Stephen Armstrong, Samuel Delgado, and others contributed to the multimedia in this article.

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