Sunday, April 27, 2008

No Rights a White Cop is Bound to Respect

Footage from rallies after the Sean Bell verdict.

So the verdict has come down, and the three officers who shot Sean Bell and his friends fifty times have been found not guilty. The New York Times article is predictably awful. It has this tone of reminding the rest of the country that Black folks really aren't too mad about this, so all is well. I must say that this article is rather discordant with my own conversations, which have revealed a universal anger over the verdict. As the videos show as well, people are pissed. As well they should be. This ruling, while insignificant legally, has ideologically taken us back to the days of Dred Scott, when Chief Justice Taney famously ruled that African Americans "have no rights which the White Man is bound to respect." Make no mistake, this case sent a message that minorities gunned down by the police shall have no recourse to the law. The only recourse available is that taken by the folks above: rabble rousing.

Closing note-
Cops are not heroes. All this nonsense about how dangerous of a job they have is pure mythology. Fisherman are fifteen times more likely to die on the job than cops. Garbage collectors have a higher on the job fatality rate than cops. As Tim Wise points out, the hagiography of the police is part of a conscious strategy to legitimize events like the Sean Bell murder.

Prisoner of Starvation has an excellent summary of the case.