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Commentary :: Organizing : Politics : Race
Police officers acquitted for killing a Black man...AGAIN?!
28 Apr 2008
Police violence against Black men is heinous but by no means surprising. Cases of unarmed Black men being shot a ludicrous number of times by police officers (of all races) are all too common. Amadou Diallo shot 41 times, NYC, 1999. Johnny Goodwin age 21, Chicago, 2007. Kevin McCoullough age 27, Chattanooga 1998. Bert W. Bowen, Boston 2004. Marquis Barker, Boston 2007. (To name a few).
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You have probably heard by now that the three indicted police officers responsible for shooting unarmed Sean Bell on his wedding day were acquitted of the charge of manslaughter and reckless endangerment. (See: http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2008/04/96683.html)

Since we all know the story by now I'd like to bring the discourse to another level. Systemic racism is pervasive within our society and affects everyone, not just the "racists". So who are the racists? Are the black plainclothes detectives who shot Sean Bell displaying internalized racism in conjunction with the display of their abuse of power so common among police officers? See movie: Crash. Since by definition racism is a systemic manifestation of power that benefits the group with the systemic/institutional power (read white people) at the expense of POC, can the Black officers be accused of racism against other Black people? Do police officers have systemic power and privilege? Are Black police officers able to exercise power over people when they are in the role of law enforcement?

The case of Sean Bell and the recent acquittal of the three officers (one white, two Black) have raised conversations and questions around the office. We are curious how people around the country are reacting to this case, have they even heard of it? Has the level of racial discourse been raised today or are people viewing this as simply a tragedy? This is not just the case of Sean Bell's untimely death and the acquittal of the three indicted plainclothes detectives on the charges of manslaughter and reckless endangerment. This is one of many examples of the state of our nation on the issue of racism. And this state is nothing to be proud of.

[Reposted from The Mobilizer: Submit to mobereaderswrite (at) gmail.com]

[Also see Democracy Now! coverage of Sean Bell's killing: http://www.democracynow.org/2008/4/28/following_acquittal_of_nypd_office]
Related stories on this site:
Don't Mourn Sean Bell

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