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
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
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."
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
Hands Raised in Protest
National Action Networks House of Justice
106 West 145th St., at Lenox Avenue
Marches With Her Father Calvin Hunt
Reverend Al Sharpton Speaks
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