By Sandy English:
Thousands march in New York to protest police killing
19 December 2006
Thousands of people marched down New York’s Fifth Avenue and across 34th Street on Saturday, nine days before Christmas and one of the busiest shopping days of the year, to protest the police murder of Sean Bell and the serious wounding of two others in the borough of Queens on November 25.
The turnout for what was billed as a silent protest clearly exceeded the expectations of the police, who had set aside barricades to confine the marchers to one traffic lane.
The throng quickly took over nearly the entire width of both Fifth Avenue and 34th Street, passing upscale stores like Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue, along with St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Rockefeller Center, ending outside of Macy’s.
Democratic Party politician Al Sharpton led the march, walking beside Nicole Paultre-Bell, who has legally adopted the name of her fiancé and the father of their two children.
Abner Louima, the Haitian immigrant who was brutally sodomized in a Brooklyn police station house nine years ago, was also present, as were Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers, which endorsed the protest; Roger Toussaint, president of Transport Workers Union Local 100; NAACP officials; singer Harry Belafonte [see also here]; and some prominent Democrats, including longtime Harlem Congressman Charles Rangel.
Bell was killed when six undercover cops fired 50 bullets at his car just as he was leaving his bachelor party at Club Kalua in Jamaica, Queens.
Bell was to be married later that day.
Wounded in the shooting were his friends Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield.
The three men were unarmed and guilty of nothing other than being in the wrong place at a time when police were conducting an undercover investigation.
Benefield came to Saturday’s march in a wheelchair, while Guzman remains in the hospital.
Update March 2007: here.
Other police killings in the USA: here.
Frame-up of Gary Tyler: here.
Death of Fermin Arzu, May 2007: here.