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Announcement :: Race
Hey Boston, Fight Police Brutality!
28 Nov 2006
Modified: 06:24:11 AM
brutality.gif
To all Boston activists:

Over the weekend, an unarmed black man and father of 2 young children was murdered by the honorable officers of the New York Police Department, who fired 50 shots at his car just hours before his wedding in New York City.

Over the same weekend, an anti-police brutality activist and woman of color, whose son was killed by police shortly after attending a protest in 2000, was viciously beaten and tortured in her own home in the Bronx by eight police officers.

Notice a pattern?

Everyone who has a minute to spare, pick up a phone and call the offices of the mayor and police commissioner to let it be known:

POLICE BRUTALITY WILL NOT BE TOLERATED IN OUR COMMUNITIES OR ANYONE ELSE'S.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly: 646-610-5000
Office of Mayor Bloomberg: 212-NEW-YORK
Email: http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mayor.htmla

For those who can travel, there will be a massive action at NYPD police headquarters on December 6, to be led by the communities and families hardest hit by police violence.

We must continue to fight repression around the world, from Oaxaca to Gaza, but more than ever, let's also remember to fight this brutality close to home.


"Police sprayed 50 rounds at the car, hitting the vehicle 21 times, and hit nearby homes and a train station."

NYC police shoot 3 after bachelor party, killing groom

Saturday, November 25, 2006

NEW YORK -- Like many bachelors, Sean Bell decided to have a little fun the night before marrying his high school sweetheart. He and a couple of buddies hit a strip club on a gritty block of Queens, staying until early Saturday _ only hours before the wedding.

But shortly after leaving the club and getting into their Nissan Altima around the block, something went wrong. Driving the Altima, Bell apparently rammed the car into an undercover police officer and an unmarked NYPD minivan, authorities said.

Police unleashed a barrage of gunfire on the vehicle, and by the time the bullets were done flying, the 23-year-old Bell, a father of two young children, was dead. His two friends, Trent Benefield, 23, and Joseph Guzman, 31, were badly wounded. None of the men was armed.

Now, Bell's family is planning a funeral instead of a wedding. And there are as many questions surrounding the shooting as there are spent shell casings.

"I can't really express myself. It's a numb feeling," said Robert Porter, Bell's first cousin. "I still don't want to believe it, a beautiful day like this, and he was going to have a beautiful wedding, he was going to live forever with his wife and children. And this happened."

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the shooting stemmed from an undercover operation inside the club, but he did not provide specifics. Police thought one of the men in the car may have had a gun. But armed with a search warrant, investigators scoured the vehicle Saturday and found no weapons.

Kelly said also there may have been a fourth person in the car who fled the scene.

Police sprayed 50 rounds at the car, hitting the vehicle 21 times, and hit nearby homes and a train station, though no residents were injured. Kelly said it was too early to say whether the shooting was justified. A grand jury was investigating.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he was in touch with community leaders and following the case closely.

"Although it is too early to draw conclusions about this morning's shootings ... we know that the NYPD officers on the scene had reason to believe that an altercation involving a firearm was about to happen and were trying to stop it," the mayor said in a statement.

Three officers, including the undercover hit by the car, were treated and released. Another detective remained hospitalized for hypertension, Kelly said.

The shooting happened just after 4 a.m. in the Jamaica section of Queens near the club called the Kalua Cabaret, a seedy joint with a "chronic history of narcotics, prostitution and weapons complaints," Kelly said.

Abraham Kamara, 38, who a few blocks from where the shooting occurred, was getting ready for work when he heard bursts of gunfire.

"First it was like four shots," he said. "And then it was like pop-pop-pop."

Bell was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The other two were taken to Mary Immaculate Hospital; Benefield was alert and in stable condition, while Guzman remained in critical condition after being shot at least 11 times. All three men are from Queens.

"This, even, in it's preliminary stages smells wrong," the Rev. Al Sharpton said during a news conference Saturday outside the hospital where the two men were being treated.

Sharpton went to both hospitals on Saturday and held news conferences afterward. At Jamaica Hospital, the civil rights advocate stood with about two dozen members of Bell's and his fiancee's family, calling on police to give "real answers" about the shooting.

"I will stand with this family," he said. "This stinks. Something about the story being told did not seem right."

Sharpton said Bell and his fiancee had two children, one 3 years old and one 5 months old.

After meeting with the two wounded men, Sharpton said he was outraged to find the pair handcuffed to their hospital beds.

"We're not anti-police ... we're anti-police brutality," he said.

The two were unshackled later Saturday and have not been charged with a crime. Guzman was shot at least 11 times, and Benefield three times.

Porter, the groom's cousin, said he was supposed to be a DJ at the wedding. He said about 250 people were invited to the ceremony and were flying in from all over the country. He said his cousin wasn't the type to confront police and that he was "on the straight-and-narrow."

This isn't the first time the NYPD has come under fire for police-involved shootings.

In 1999, police killed Amadou Diallo, an unarmed West African immigrant who was shot 19 times in the Bronx. The four officers in that case were acquitted of criminal charges.

And in 2003, Ousmane Zongo was shot to death during a police raid. The 43-year-old, a native of the western African country of Burkina Faso, repaired art and musical instruments in Manhattan. He was hit four times, twice in the back.


Kin Hold Vigil for Groom Shot by Police

Sunday, November 26, 2006

NEW YORK - At a vigil held the day after 23-year-old Sean Bell was to walk down the aisle and marry the mother of his two children, an angry crowd expressed outrage over his wedding day death in a shooting by New York City police.

The gatherers Sunday outside Mary Immaculate Hospital also prayed over the Saturday morning incident, which also left two men wounded, and elected officials and community leaders promised to hold police accountable.

Family members and activists are demanding answers from the police about what happened, especially why officers fired as many as 50 rounds at the unarmed group as they left Bell's bachelor party in a car.

"We cannot allow this to continue to happen," said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been speaking for Bell's family. "We've got to understand that all of us were in that car."

The civil rights advocate led the sometimes heated crowd in chants of "No justice, no peace." At times some in the crowd of a few hundred yelled that Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly should be ousted. And at one point, they counted off to 50, the number of rounds fired.

The surviving victims were Joseph Guzman, 31, who was shot at least 11 times, and Trent Benefield, 23, who was hit three times. The shootings occurred outside the Kalua Cabaret, a strip club where the bachelor party was held. Both men are at Mary Immaculate Hospital, where Guzman is in critical condition and Benefield listed as stable.

Relatives of all three men, many of them stoic, and some crying, attended Sunday's vigil but none spoke.

During a press conference Saturday evening, Kelly said the department was still piecing together what happened, and that it was too early to say whether the shooting was justified.

The officers' shots struck the men's car 21 times after the vehicle rammed into an undercover officer and hit an unmarked NYPD minivan. The wild gunfire hit nearby homes and shattered windows at a train station, though no residents were injured.

Police thought one of the men in the car might have had a gun. But investigators found no weapons. It was unclear what prompted police to open fire, Kelly said.

Kelly said the incident stemmed from an undercover operation inside the strip club in the Jamaica section of Queens. Seven officers in plain clothes were investigating the Kalua Cabaret; five of them were involved in the shooting.

According to Kelly, the groom was involved in a verbal dispute outside the club after 4 a.m. One of his friends made a reference to a gun.

An undercover officer walked closely behind Bell and his friends as they headed for their car. As he walked toward the front of the vehicle, they drove forward _ striking him and a nearby undercover police vehicle.

The officer who had followed the group on foot was apparently the first to open fire, Kelly said. That officer had served on the force for five years. One 12-year veteran fired his weapon 31 times, emptying two full magazines, Kelly said.

It was the first time any of the officers, who all carried 9 mm handguns, had been involved in a shooting, Kelly said.

At some point, Bell, who was driving, backed his car up onto the sidewalk, hitting a building gate. He then drove forward, striking the police vehicle a second time, Kelly said.

It was unclear whether the shooters had identified themselves as police, Kelly said.

Kelly's account of the events was based on statements made by witnesses and the two officers who did not shoot their weapons. Police could not question the other officers because the district attorney must first complete an investigation, Kelly said.

Guzman was in the front passenger's seat, while Benefield was in the back seat. Kelly said there may have been a fourth person in the car who fled the scene.

Three officers, including the officer hit by the car, were treated and released. Another detective remained hospitalized Sunday for hypertension.

Kelly said undercover officers were inside the club to document illicit activity. With one more violation the club would be shut down, Kelly said.

He said the establishment, next to an auto-body repair shop on a gritty block across from a Long Island Rail Road station, had a "chronic history of narcotics, prostitution and weapons complaints" and had been closed by authorities for three months last year.

On Sunday, the group 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care said it is issuing a vote of no confidence in Kelly over the shooting. It is also calling for the removal of the chief of the Organized Crime Control Bureau, Anthony Izzo, who it says created the undercover unit involved in the incident.

Additionally, the group wants a re-examination of what it says is a policy that allows officers from the organized crime control unit to consume alcohol on the job. "Who knows whether or not that was a factor in this particular shooting?" said Marq Claxton, a retired police detective and one of the founders of the group.

A police spokeswoman on Sunday did not immediately offer comment on the group's demands.

Sharpton on Sunday repeatedly said that the police's story didn't make sense. Community leaders are planning a rally at police headquarters for Dec. 6. "We are not going to stop. This is the beginning," Sharpton said.

This isn't the first time the NYPD has come under scrutiny over police-involved shootings.

In 1999, police killed Amadou Diallo, an unarmed West African immigrant who was shot 19 times in the Bronx. The four officers in that case were acquitted of criminal charges.

And in 2003, Ousmane Zongo was shot to death during a police raid. The 43-year-old, a native of the western African country of Burkina Faso, repaired art and musical instruments in Manhattan. He was hit four times, twice in the back.

Bell and his fiancee were the parents of two children, a 3-year-old and a 5-month-old.

At the end of the vigil Sunday, relatives of Bell led the crowd in a walk around the hospital block.

Associated Press writers Deepti Hajela, Jennifer Peltz, Tom Hays and Cristian Salazar contributed to this report.


And from the October 22 Coalition Against Police Brutality:

Juanita Young Brutalized & Arrested by NYPD in Her Own Home

"Juanita Young is a major activist and public speaker in the fight to stop police brutality. She and her family have been targets of police harassment on several occasions, including an attempt to illegally evict her from her home.

Her son Michael Ferguson was killed by NYPD in March 2000, a week after he was arrested for being part of a protest against the verdict in the Amadou Diallo case."

On Sunday evening, November 26, an ambulance was called for Juanita's daughter.

Cops came to the apartment first before the ambulance arrived. Juanita wouldn't let the cops in and told them to leave. The ambulance refused to do anything and called for backup.

Eight cops showed up and started grabbing people. She kept telling them to leave.

The cops threw Juanita in a room, and as one of them tried to hold the door shut, others beat her.

After she was able to run out of the room, all eight of them jumped on her at once, kicking her in the chest and back as they handcuffed her.

Her daughter pled for them to stop, telling them that Juanita has asthma.

Juanita was arrested and brought to the 43rd precinct. Because she was having difficulties breathing, she was brought to the emergency room at Jacobi Hospital, under police custody.

Since then, she has been handcuffed to the bed, guarded by a cop at all hours, and not allowed phonecalls. Family and friends have not been allowed in to see her.

Juanita Young is a major activist and public speaker in the fight to stop police brutality. She and her family have been targets of police harassment on several occasions, including an attempt to illegally evict her from her home.

Her son Michael Ferguson was killed by NYPD in March 2000, a week after he was arrested for being part of a protest against the verdict in the Amadou Diallo case. She has been a key organizer of the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation since 2000, and has stood with and supported many victims of police violence.

People can call in to the 43rd precinct to demand to know why they are holding Juanita (in the hospital emergency room) and not allowing friends, family and attorneys to visit.

43rd Precinct: 718-542-0888
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly: 646-610-5000
Mayor Bloomberg's ofice from NYC: 311
(or 212-NEW-YORK outside NYC)
FAX: 212-788-2460
EMAIL: http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mayor.htmla

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Mike Gould-Wartofsky is a giant asshole
02 Dec 2006
He is such a self-righteous little upperclass prick.