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Sean Bell Trial Protest March
April 26, 2008

Written by Wendy R. Williams
Photographed by Angelo Rivera

Opposite Photo: Sean Bell's Parents William and Valerie Bell at the National Action Networks House of Justice

The Sean Bell trial has galvanized the community ever since Sean Bell was killed in a barrage of fifty bullets as he was leaving his bachelor party at a strip club in Queens on Nov. 25, 2006. Two of Bell's friends, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield, were wounded but survived.

There were two groups of young men at the strip club that night - a bachelor party and a group of cops who were conducting an undercover operation. And then at 4AM in the morning, something utterly horrific happened. There was some kind of misunderstanding, the cops thought the bachelor party had a gun and that they were being menaced by a moving car so they opened fire, killing Sean and wounding his friends. And because of this misunderstanding and resulting barrage of bullets, Sean left behind a fiancée, Nicole Paultre Bell, and two small children who will never know their father. And William and Valerie Bell will never see their son again.

Three police officers were charged and went to trial. And on April 25, 2008, the judge ruled that what happened that night did not rise to the level of criminality. But criminal or not, no feeling person cannot help but believe that what happened was not utterly appalling and numbingly sad.

There was an editorial in this Sunday's New York Times that seemingly made some sense out of this tragedy and says what I think better than I ever could: "50 Bullets, No Conviction."

New York Cool photographer Angelo Rivera has been following the shooting and the resulting indictments and on April 26, 2008, he was in Harlem to record the reaction of the community to the judge's decision. There he photographed the marchers, each one carrying a sign symbolized one of the fifty bullets that were fired that night, each one being one too many.

Hands Raised in Protest
National Action Networks House of Justice
106 West 145th St., at Lenox Avenue

Three-year-old Olivia Marches With Her Father Calvin Hunt

Reverend Al Sharpton Speaks on TV

Here is a link to Angelo's coverage of a rally for the victims.

And here is a link to Angelo's coverage of the opening day of the trial:



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