Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2006

A Bachelor Party Becomes A Funeral

New York has had more than its fair share of controversial police shootings. Within the last 10 years, NYPD officials have had to explain the deaths of Amadou Diallo and Ousmane Zongo, both unarmed African immigrants who worked as vendors, at the hands of law enforcement. But the case of Sean Bell, who was shot to death by police around the corner from a South Jamaica, Queens, strip club after leaving his bachelor party has resonated across the country. Bell, 23, an aspiring baseball player, was to be married later that day to the mother of his two children. But police say as they attempted to stop his group on suspicion of gun possession, one of them appeared to reach for a weapon while sitting in Bell's car. The police opened fire, 51 shots in total, killing Bell and seriously wounding the two passengers of his car. No weapon has been found. The case has outraged civil rights activists who are not only demanding justice for Bell and his family, but that District Attorney Richard Brown relinquish his duties in the case to a special prosecutor.