Dog Brothers Public Forum
Return To Homepage
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
April 17, 2014, 10:31:41 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
79111 Posts in 2226 Topics by 1036 Members
Latest Member: Evgeny Vasilyev
* Home Help Search Login Register
+  Dog Brothers Public Forum
|-+  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities
| |-+  Politics & Religion
| | |-+  The Sean Bell Verdict and Al Sharpton’s Culture of Grievance
« previous next »
Pages: [1] Print
Author Topic: The Sean Bell Verdict and Al Sharpton’s Culture of Grievance  (Read 1457 times)
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 11486


« on: April 27, 2008, 11:50:37 AM »

- Pajamas Media - http://pajamasmedia.com -

The Sean Bell Verdict and Al Sharpton’s Culture of Grievance
April 27, 2008 - by Jack Dunphy

-->
To anyone who knew the facts of the case and understood the law, Friday’s acquittal of the three New York Police Department detectives charged in the November 2006 shooting death of Sean Bell was entirely predictable.

Just as predictable has been the reaction from Al Sharpton, who owes his notoriety - and, one presumes, his income - to the culture of grievance from which he sprang and which he so tirelessly strives to perpetuate. On Saturday, Sharpton presided over a rally at his Harlem headquarters and exhorted his followers to “close down” the city of New York. “This city,” he said, “is going to deal with the blood of Sean Bell.”

And so it may, but perhaps not in the way Mr. Sharpton would wish.

Regardless of a given criminal trial’s underlying social and political issues - and seldom has there been a trial more heavily freighted with such issues than this one - the burden of proof remains unchanged: the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty that the defendant is guilty of the crimes alleged against him. All extraneous questions on crime, the police, race, and their respective places in the great social equation have no rightful place in a criminal courtroom.

But these questions do at times creep silently into the courtroom, more particularly into the jury room of a high-profile trial, where some might wish to see cosmic justice produced therefrom. Some jurors have been known to oblige that wish, engaging in jury nullification in the case of some clearly guilty defendants or, even more disturbing, convicting some clearly innocent ones. The three police detectives on trial in the Sean Bell shooting, Gescard Isnora, Marc Cooper, and Michael Oliver, knew this very well when they asked that their case be heard by a judge rather than a jury, placing their fate in the hands of Queens Supreme Court Justice Arthur Cooperman.

Reasonable doubt was to be found everywhere in the case, beginning with the Queens grand jury’s initial indictment handed down in March 2007. Much has been made of the fifty shots fired by the police during the confrontation, twenty of which struck the car Bell was driving, killing him and wounding his two passengers. But of the five officers who fired, only three were indicted and put on trial, suggesting that even the grand jury believed that in the confusion of the encounter on that early morning there was at least some level of justification for the other two to fire their weapons. And if those two had reason to fire, however tragically mistaken it turned out to be, how is it that the defendants’ conduct rose to the level that made it criminal? It didn’t, as Justice Cooperman ruled on Friday.

The prosecution’s efforts were undone by several factors, which Justice Cooperman specified in his verdict. “The court has found,” he said, “that the people’s ability to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt was affected by a combination of the following factors: the prosecution witnesses’ prior inconsistent statements, inconsistencies in testimony among prosecution witnesses, the renunciation of prior statements, criminal convictions, the interest of some witnesses in the outcome of the case, the demeanor on the witness stand of other witnesses and the motive witnesses may have had to lie and the effect it had on the truthfulness of a witness’s testimony. These factors played a significant part in the people’s ability to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt and had the effect of eviscerating the credibility of those prosecution witnesses. And, at times, the testimony just didn’t make sense.”

The defendants, Justice Cooperman concluded, reasonably, albeit mistakenly, believed that an armed confrontation was about to take place between Sean Bell and his companions and another group of men that had just left a strip club. “The court has found that the incident lasted just seconds,” Cooperman said. “The officers responded to perceived criminal conduct; the unfortunate consequences of their conduct were tragic.”

Here in Los Angeles there is a term used around the courthouse to describe incidents like the Sean Bell shooting: “awful but lawful.”

Fortunately for some Los Angeles Police Department officers, L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley, who is unburdened by ambition for higher office, has shown a willingness to stand up to the kind of pressure Al Sharpton and others exerted on prosecutors in Queens after the Sean Bell shooting. When, for example, “community activists” demanded that an LAPD officer be prosecuted in the 2005 shooting death of 13-year-old Devin Brown at the end of an early morning car chase, Cooley’s office declined to do so, thoroughly explaining the decision in a lengthy [1] document posted on the agency’s website.

Surely the prosecutors in the Sean Bell case knew the weaknesses of their case, weaknesses that they might easily have detailed for the public had they chosen not to take the case to a grand jury. But the peculiar politics of New York demanded otherwise, and three police detectives were forced to endure a trial that the prosecutors knew - or should have known - they could not win.

And now Mr. Sharpton and his acolytes are threatening to shut down New York City, hoping to portray the NYPD as the biggest threat facing the residents in Queens, Brooklyn, Harlem, and the other less fashionable neighborhoods that lie north of 96th Street or beyond the East River. In those neighborhoods, Mr. Sharpton would have you believe, the only guns and drugs to be found are those that have been planted on innocent people by corrupt, racist police officers.

Sharpton’s antics, blithely acquiesced to by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, and the entire New York City political structure, will only inhibit police efforts to improve the quality of life in those neighborhoods most affected by crime. When the next murder victim falls in Queens, Brooklyn, or Harlem, will Al Sharpton be too busy to notice?

Twenty people have been murdered so far this year in the [2] NYPD’s Queens South Patrol Bureau, where the Sean Bell shooting occurred, up from twelve at the same time in 2007. When Mr. Sharpton has finished shutting down the city this week, perhaps he might summon up a similar level of outrage at the fate of even one of those twenty people.

“Jack Dunphy” is the pseudonym of an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department. The opinions expressed are his own and almost certainly do not reflect those of the LAPD management.

Article printed from Pajamas Media: http://pajamasmedia.com

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/the-sean-bell-verdict-and-al-sharptons-culture-of-grievance/

URLs in this post:
[1] document: http://da.co.la.ca.us/pdf/garciaois.pdf?zoom_highlight=devin+brown
[2] NYPD’s: http://home2.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/home/home.shtml
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 11486


« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2008, 02:02:09 PM »

http://www.nypost.com/php/pfriendly/print.php?url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/04262008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/justice_served_108171.htm

JUSTICE SERVED
By HEATHER MAC DONALD




April 26, 2008 -- JUSTICE has been served in the Sean Bell case.
However horrific Bell's slaying by police gunfire, Judge Arthur Cooperman yesterday resisted pressure to make the verdict an alleged test of civil rights - a test which, according to the city's race agitators, had only one proper and predetermined outcome - and instead decided the case on the facts before him.

The New York Police Department has already begun scouring its training to try to drive down even further the chance that such a blood-curdling tragedy is repeated. Now it falls on Mayor Bloomberg to explain to the city how rare such tragedies are and to lay out the case that the NYPD is the greatest protector of civil rights in New York - given that the No. 1 civil right is freedom from fear and violence.

THE prosecution's case began falling apart almost from the start. As Judge Cooperman noted, its witnesses contradicted their own prior statements and made claims on the stand that ballistics evidence clearly disproved.

In addition, many of the prosecutions' witnesses corroborated the officers' narrative of that night's events:

* They confirmed that there'd been a tense exchange outside the Club Kalua (a crime-ridden strip joint in Queens) between an apparently armed man and Sean Bell and his companions (who had been celebrating Bell's wedding the next day with a bachelor party at the club).

* Several acknowledged that Bell and his friends had referred to getting a gun.

* Some prosecution witnesses also verified what forensics evidence unambiguously demonstrated: that Sean Bell's car had sped twice into Detective Gerald Isnora and an unmarked police van as Detective Isnora was trying to signal the car to stop.

Isnora had witnessed the threats about guns outside the club and believed that the Bell party was about to pursue the man they had just argued with for a drive-by shooting. When he and his colleagues opened fire on the Bell car, after it had twice hit them, they believed that Bell's passenger Joseph Guzman was reaching for a weapon and was going to shoot them.

TO support its case for a manslaughter verdict, the prosecution needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers did not reasonably believe that they were facing the imminent use of deadly force, that they did not reasonably believe that their own use of deadly fire was necessary to defend themselves.

In other words, the prosecution needed to come up with an alternative explanation for why the officers shot at the car. To that end, Assistant District Attorney Charles Testagrossa preposterously suggested that Isnora opened fire out of "rage" that the car had disobeyed his police commands to stop (a theory that contradicted another prosecution argument - namely, that Isnora had failed to identify himself as an officer) and that detective Michael Oliver hoped to win a combat valor medal.

Nothing in the record supported such allegations.

As Isnora testified to the grand jury: "In my time as an undercover, . . . I had never fired my weapon before. I never had any intention in my career . . . of even thinking of doing that. [But] I felt I had no choice [that night]."

Judge Cooperman rightly concluded that the prosecution failed to prove that the officers did not reasonably believe they were facing a deadly threat.

MOST importantly, the judge has maintained a meaningful barrier between good-faith police action that proves in retrospect to be even horribly and tragically mistaken, and criminal conduct. To convict these defendants would have required an intolerable degree of second-guessing of police decisions taken under circumstances that few civilians have ever had to face.

Tragically, innocent civilian as well as police lives hang in the balance of an officer's split-second decision to use deadly force - but the urgency that Isnora felt that night is hardly fanciful.

Seven months after the Sean Bell shooting, New York Officer Russel Timoshenko was fatally gunned down by the occupant of a car that he had just pulled over in Brooklyn - the 17th NYPD officer to be killed by criminals since 1999. Had Isnora waited a moment longer and had Guzman in fact been reaching for a weapon, he could have met with Timoshenko's fate.

Yes, the Sean Bell shooting was a sickening tactical disaster - but that doesn't make it a crime.

Police mistakes that night included flawed supervision -a proper game plan was apparently lacking. And the tactics undertaken - especially letting Isnora come out of undercover status to make a stop - were needlessly risky.

The NYPD's urgent review of its supervisory and tactical training is well-justified and will be aided by the rigorous firearms-discharge-review-board analysis of the shooting.

The officers themselves have escaped criminal liability, but they could face departmental discipline. Their supervisors should be even more closely scrutinized.

But while the departmental investigation runs its course, Mayor Bloomberg must set the record straight about the NYPD's role in the city.

ANTI-COP agitators and politicians are fond of claiming that the police are a threat to black lives. In fact, no single private or public agency has saved more minority lives than the NYPD.

Had murders stayed at their early 1990s levels, before the NYPD got smart about policing, 13,000-plus more New Yorkers - the overwhelming majority of them black and Hispanic - would be dead today.

In fact, even as the NYPD brought down homicide a remarkable 70 percent, it was driving down its own use of force. In 1973, there were 1.82 fatal police shootings per 1,000 New York officers; in 2006, there were .36 such shootings per 1,000 officers. And the vast majority of those police shootings are against criminals who are threatening the officer with force.

The department is one of the more restrained big-city police outfits in the country. Its fatal shooting rate is a tenth those of the Phoenix and Philadelphia departments, for example. While every mistaken shooting of an unarmed innocent civilian is an unmitigated disaster, the number of such NYPD shootings over the last two decades can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

ABOVE all else, remember this: The risk posed to New Yorkers by the police is negligible compared to the risk posed by criminals - and NYPD New York officers work their hearts out every day to try to protect law-abiding residents from crime.

If Al Sharpton and Charles Barron really cared as much about law-abiding minorities as they say they do, they would join the police in that mission -they'd stigmatize criminals, not the cops. They'd protest outside the jail cells of rapists and robbers who terrorize the elderly and frail; they'd call on crime witnesses to cooperate with investigators.

The sad fact is, had Sean Bell been killed by a fellow club-goer, Al Sharpton and Charles Barron wouldn't have taken the slightest interest in him. The world knows about him only because he was killed by police officers.

Need proof? A week after Bell's death, another groom-to-be was fatally gunned down by some robbers in Brooklyn who had just pistol-whipped three other victims.

His name was Earl Williams - and no one ever protested his death. But New York's police force worked to find his killer - and continue today to risk their own lives to safeguard ours.

Heather Mac Donald is a contributing editor of the Manhattan Institute's City Journal and author of "Are Cops Racist?"
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 29572


« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2008, 04:07:18 PM »

Nice to have some articles which bring out some of the facts of the cases.

As someone born and raised in NYC I have continued to keep a fond eye on NYC news over the years.  Al Sharpton has been a race-baiting scumbag for decades now.  There was a car accident years ago wherein a Jew (Hasidim perhaps?) had a car accident where he struck and killed a pedestrian who happened to be black.  By the time Sharpton was done, he had a goodly number of black people in the streets hunting for Jews.

Shame on FOX news for making him a regular on their shows.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 11486


« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2008, 04:56:02 PM »

Black people are murdered everyday in this country by......black people. Where is the outrage? Where are the protests?
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 11486


« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2008, 04:57:23 PM »

http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_2_sndgs01.html

Time for the Truth About Black Crime Rates
Heather Mac Donald

The lessons of the Sean Bell case

Mayor Mike Bloomberg has the chance to transform not just New York, but all American cities, by breaking the taboo on talking about the connection between race and crime. Doing so would take courage that no politician has yet mustered. But after the manslaughter and assault indictments of three New York police officers for fatally shooting Sean Bell last November, Bloomberg has an opening: acknowledge that police officers may react too precipitously to perceived threats in charged urban settings, in exchange for a wide-open discussion about the sky-high black crime rates that encourage that reaction. Crime, not police racism, drives negative police-community relations in black neighborhoods. And until the crime rate comes down, tragedies like the Sean Bell shooting may reoccur.

After the Bell shooting, which occurred outside a Queens strip joint, critics of the NYPD followed the usual script: increasingly ugly charges of police bigotry (despite the fact that several of the officers involved were black); deployment of the threat-of-black-riots weapon; calls for convictions of the officers on the most severe murder charges; and the transformation of the highly aberrant Bell shooting into the very symbol of the NYPD. To his discredit, Mayor Bloomberg joined the rush to prejudge the officers. The day after the shooting, he declared: “It sounds to me like excessive force was used.” Even more irresponsibly, he deemed the incident “inexplicable,” thus fueling the belief that the officers could not possibly have perceived a deadly threat and all but guaranteeing that any acquittal of them would be viewed as proof that the criminal-justice system was antiblack.

Carefully omitted from the swirl of media coverage and the denunciations of the NYPD was any discussion of black crime rates. The New York Times did its usual best to shroud the issue. A March article, for instance, devoted itself to charges that the police were preying on the black community. After noting that more than half the people whom cops stop and frisk are black, Times reporter Diane Cardwell added: “City officials maintained that those stopped and searched roughly parallel the race of people mentioned in reports from crime victims.” No, actually, there is no “rough parallel” between the proportion of stops and the proportion of alleged assailants: blacks aren’t stopped enough, considering the rate at which they commit crimes. Though blacks, 24 percent of New York City’s population, committed 68.5 percent of all murders, rapes, robberies, and assaults in the city last year, according to victims and witnesses, they were only 55 percent of all stop-and-frisks. Of course, the Times didn’t give the actual crime figures. Even a spate of vicious assaults on police officers in the week before the indictments didn’t change the predominant story line that officers were trigger-happy racists.

But the context of the Bell shooting suggests a different picture. The undercover officers and detectives involved had been deployed to Club Kahlua in Jamaica, Queens, because of the club’s history of lawlessness. Club patrons and neighbors had made dozens of calls to the NYPD, reporting guns, drug sales, and prostitution, and the police had recently made eight arrests there.

The night of November 24, undercover officer Gescard Isnora, who fired the first shots at Bell, had observed a man put a stripper’s hand on his belt to reassure her that he had a gun and would protect her from an aggressive customer. Outside the club, Isnora (who is African-American) and his colleagues witnessed a heated exchange between Bell’s entourage and an apparent pimp over the services of a prostitute, during which the pimp kept his hand inside his jacket, as if holding a gun. After the hooker refused to have sex with more than two of the group’s eight members, Bell—presumably referring to the pimp—said, “Let’s fuck him up,” and Bell’s companion, Joseph Guzman, said, “Yo, get my gun, get my gun.” Isnora reported these exchanges over his cell phone to his colleagues in the area.

Feeling the danger level mounting, Isnora retrieved his gun from his unmarked car. When he returned to the scene, Bell and his two companions had gotten into their car, ready to drive away. Isnora thought that a drive-by shooting of the pimp could be imminent, and so moved to question the car’s occupants. He held out his badge (by his account), identified himself as a police officer, and told the car to stop. Instead, Bell drove forward and hit Isnora and a police minivan, backed up, and then slammed into the minivan again, nearly hitting Isnora a second time.

Isnora, who was standing on the passenger side of Bell’s car, claims that he saw Guzman reach for his waistband. Believing that he faced a deadly threat, Isnora opened fire. The four other undercovers and detectives at the scene also started shooting, killing Bell and wounding Guzman and Bell’s other companion in the car, Trent Benefield. No gun turned up in Bell’s car. (Benefield alleges that Isnora began shooting before the car started moving, which is absurd. The barrage of 50 bullets was so fast that no witness at the scene remembers hearing more than eight rounds fired off. Bell was undoubtedly killed as soon as the shooting started, and so wouldn’t have been able to move the car forward and back and forward again, as he did. None of the officers had ever used their guns before, moreover, despite making hundreds of arrests, including for gun possession. These were not trigger-happy cops.)

Without question, the results of this episode are horrific. And the tactics stank—Isnora should never have left himself as exposed as he was. But was the officers’ perception of a deadly threat so unreasonable as to make their shooting a criminal homicide? If a judge or jury finds that they did not reasonably believe that they faced an imminent use of deadly force, then, according to the woefully inappropriate criminal code, their actions fall within the literal definition of manslaughter. (Showing what appears to be arbitrariness, the grand jury indicted two of the officers for manslaughter and assault—even though one of them, Isnora, did not even hit Bell—and a third for reckless endangerment, but didn’t indict the remaining two officers, even though all had fired their guns.)

Isnora and his colleagues knew the following, when they saw a car racing toward them whose occupants they believed could have guns: shootings at after-hours joints like Club Kahlua are by no means uncommon. Just the previous month, a patron had been fatally gunned down outside another Queens club, the third lethal shooting there in three years. This March, a club customer in Brooklyn tried to blast an off-duty cop’s head off after the two had unintentionally bumped into each other on a crowded dance floor.

Isnora and his colleagues did not know the following, but it’s a further indication of the reality of crime in New York: Bell, Benefield, and Guzman had all been arrested for gun possession in the past, according to the New York Times. Further, Guzman had a long prison record, including a sentence for an armed robbery during which he shot at his victim. And Bell and his entourage were dealing drugs, an activity highly correlated with violence.

These specific facts about the Bell shooting are just a few of the hundreds of thousands of data points that reveal a hard truth: any given violent crime in New York is 13 times more likely to have a black than a white perpetrator. While most black residents are law-abiding and desperately deserve police protection, the incidence of criminal activity among young black males is off the charts. “A black kid between the ages of 18 and 24 is the scariest thing to cops,” says a police attorney, “because they know how crazy it can get.” And this is true whatever the officer’s race.

The “public doesn’t get how frightened cops are,” says a former NYPD commanding officer. “Cops are reluctant to articulate everything that goes into a shooting incident,” says another former officer, retired assistant chief Jim McShane. “They’re afraid to say: ‘Are you kidding me? I was terrified. The guy was drinking; I told him to stop; I was afraid that someone was going to get shot.’ ” When an officer thinks that he is under deadly threat, he knows that any hesitation could cost him his life. NYPD officer Steven McDonald was staring down the barrel of a small gun in Central Park in the summer of 1986, held by a 15-year-old whom he had stopped to question about a stolen bicycle. Rather than immediately responding with deadly force, he paused—and was shot twice in the head and once in the arm, paralyzing him from the neck down.

Because of these realities, it’s possible that officers are quicker to perceive—and react to—a deadly threat when dealing with young black men than they would be with other demographic groups. (Even so, fatal shootings by the NYPD are extremely rare; fatal shootings of unarmed civilians, even rarer.) And it’s undeniably true that the much greater incidence of crime in black neighborhoods means that the police activity there will be higher, leading to a greater risk of the use of force.

The NYPD’s goal at this point—understandably and rightly—is to do everything it can to prevent the death of another Sean Bell. The department’s recently announced tactical review is more than justified. But the police can only go so far in ensuring that tragic errors, when they inevitably happen, do not happen to black males. Mayor Bloomberg has already pandered enough to antipolice activists. He should now cash in his political chips and speak the truth: the black crime rate is the most important determinant of how the police interact with the black community. Unless black leaders—real or media-created—muster the will to address the crime epidemic among black youth (most of it inflicted on other blacks), the ongoing carnage will almost inevitably include an infinitesimal number of accidental police shootings of unarmed men. Criminal activity among young African-Americans is the poison of cities and of race relations; if Bloomberg can force a conversation about it, he could help reclaim urban America.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 11486


« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2008, 05:07:52 PM »

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/08/09/national/printable3153497.shtml

Feds: 49% Of Murder Victims Are Black Men
WASHINGTON, Aug. 9, 2007
(AP) Nearly half of the nation's murder victims in 2005 were black, and the number of black men who were slain is on the rise.

A majority of the black murder victims were relatively young — between 17 and 29, the Justice Department said in a study released Thursday.

The department's Bureau of Justice Statistics report offers a snapshot of racial disparities among violent crime victims. Black people represented an estimated 13 percent of the U.S. population in 2005, the latest data available, but were the victims of 49 percent of all murders and 15 percent of rapes, assaults and other nonfatal violent crimes nationwide.

Most of the black murder victims — 93 percent — were killed by other black people, the study found. About 85 percent of white victims were slain by other white people.

National Urban League President Marc Morial, a former mayor of New Orleans, said the data reflect a trend that cannot be reversed by law enforcement alone. It will require changes in public education and a revival of federal summer jobs programs for economically disadvantaged young people, he said.

"The mixture of illegal drugs, easy access to handguns and young men who feel locked out of economic opportunity is what these statistics reflect," Morial said.

An estimated 16,400 people were murdered in the United States in 2005, down from a peak of 21,400 a decade ago. Similarly, the number of black people slain dropped over the last 10 years, from 10,400 in 1995 to almost 8,000 in 2005.

But the murder rate among black men rose slightly between 2004 and 2005, continuing several years of dips and increases.

Two years ago, 6,783 black men were murdered, up from 6,342 in 2004, the study shows. The murder rate among white men also rose, but less dramatically: 5,850 were slain in 2005, compared with 5,769 the year before.

Murders of women, white and black, remained relatively unchanged between the two years.

Additionally, more than half of black murder victims — 51 percent — were in their late teens and twenties. Comparatively, just over a third — 37 percent — of white people murdered were between 17 and 29, the study shows.

The study did not take a detailed look at violent crime victims who are Hispanic or Latino, or other races. However, it concluded that violent crime victims were more often black than any other race except American Indians.

Among the study's other findings:

Never-married black people were more likely than all other blacks to be victims of violence.

Poorer black people were at a greater risk of violence than households with higher annual incomes.

Black people living in cities were more likely to be violent crime victims than people living in suburban or rural areas.
Logged
Pages: [1] Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.17 | SMF © 2011, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!