rally.jpg
Paultres at a rally: L-R, Hector, Furci, Les and Alix

     As a cousin of Sean Bell’s fiancée, Nicole Paultre, I was asked to provide an opinion piece about the Sean Bell shooting and the acquittal of the three police officers involved in his death. (I cannot say that they murdered him, for they are now innocent in the eyes of the law.) However, members of Sean Bell’s family should not be the only ones outraged at the acquittal of the men who pumped multiple bullets into people, killing some of them, in extremely questionable circumstances. Everyone should be upset at how thin the veneer is between authority and anarchy and how little those who police that line police themselves.

     I agree to a point with those who say that race was not a factor in this killing. The color of one’s skin is not as great a factor in whether or not you have a risk of being shot by reckless cops as class. Skin color only helps reinforce the stereotype in the observer’s mind. A dark-skinned person in a nice neighborhood isn’t hassled much by the local cops (especially if they speak well). A white person in a bad neighborhood has a slight advantage due to skin color, but is treated poorly by police just the same.

     Our police act as if they were occupying forces and we are simply civilian units they have the responsibility of controlling. Even that nice person in that nice neighborhood is just a citizen to monitor, control and pacify. Police act as they please and feel that they are above the law they enforce and we scrape and bow and apologize for questioning their judgment over life and death. There are good cops; most cops believe in their service oath. The cowboys that shoot people are (hopefully) a small percentage, but the good cops are hypocrites when they tolerate the wrongdoings of their fellows who do not respect the public trust.

     Sean Bell shows us in death that we must always be careful of those we give the authority to police us.

Alix Paultre




  1. Improbus says:

    Can I get an Amen?

  2. bobbo says:

    I assume Sean Bell was killed because he was black. Color defines more than race. There is black and white racism but more emphatically than Mr. Paultre writes here, there is Blue Racism. White and Black cops discriminate against blacks. I get no warm fuzzy seeing it soft shoed.

  3. Improbus says:

    The police are like attach dogs. They need to be kept on a short leash and told to heel by their civilian masters.

  4. MikeN says:

    >always be careful of those we give the authority to police us.

    This is the wrong attitude. How about not giving that authority to begin with?
    This goes back at least to FDR who said that the president is a dictator who has power but must give rights to the people. The rights are preexisting, and it is the rulers who should have limited power.

  5. Sinn Fein says:

    Terribly Sorry for your family’s great loss. May God Bless you all in your time of need.

    Hyper-Nervous cops with guns, I don’t get it. Now, aren’t these the guys who are supposed to be ones capable of keeping their cool under stress & danger since they’re the ones charged with the sacred mission “To Serve and Protect?”

    I’m white and I’ve always thought that it wouldn’t take very much at all to piss a cop off and get your head cracked open…and that’s in a rural state. I can’t imagine the terror of being black in a city with the cops always having their weapons 3/4 ready to draw and “sort things out later.”

  6. gquaglia says:

    The officers acted appropriatly given the circumstances. Sorry you anti authority types don’t agree.

  7. Lou says:

    I thought that Cops shooting blacks was a sport down in the good ol USA.

  8. Sister Mary Hand Grenade says:

    50 shots! One guy had to stop and reload. Hyper-nervous? Nah, it was piling on. Say BANG 50 times, that is a lot of bullets.

  9. Ah_Yea says:

    #6, I second Sinn Fein’s sentiments. I also am sorry for your loss.

    #3, bobbo, I have a slightly different thought on this.
    Sean died due to a terrible collision of events.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean_Bell

    First and foremost was the cops frame of mind. They were on a plainclothes stakeout of a place known for prostitution and worse. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that they were on their guard because those who frequent the place are not priests or nuns.

    I also suggest that the cops working this type of assignment, day after day, are like soldiers patrolling Baghdad, day after day, with the same psychological effect of becoming trigger-happy and detached.
    http://tinyurl.com/6he96s

    Combine this with the cops being in plainclothes (due to being undercover), and it becomes evident that any action to subdue Sean and his associates would be thought of by Sean and co. as an attack from a bunch of thugs, from which they need to protect themselves. The cops could not easily identity themselves to Sean or anyone else. Hence Sean and company acted to protect themselves and the cops did the same. The question is, why so many bullets? Answer, see the Tinyurl above.

    But here is the unasked question, why did the cops go after Sean, Guzman, and Benefield when they left the whorehouse in the first place?

    The cops followed them because they overheard someone (identified as Guzman) threatening to “kill that dumb white bitch”. Sean and company then left as a group and went to their car. Any cop -and anyone else- would think that they were going to the car to get a gun, and seeing as how both Guzman and Benefield had prior illegal firearms possession convictions, this belief that they were going for a gun would be reasonable.
    Occam’s razor. It’s that simple.

    Credible witnesses for Sean, Guzman, and Benefield would have helped in convicting the cops. Not many -if any- were to be found. It certainly didn’t help that Al Sharpton tampered with some of the better witnesses, which eliminated them from giving credible testimony. This certainly hurt more than helped, because some of those witnesses possibly could have helped had their testimony been admissible.

    So given this chain of events:
    Sean, Guzman, and Benefield all having prior convictions. A death threat being made in a seedy location, trigger-happy cops working under stress in a dangerous situation, and not enough credible witnesses, allowed for the cops to get the not guilty verdict.

    No one in this was entirely innocent, neither were they entirely guilty.

  10. gmknobl says:

    If you had time to reload, you had time to think. If you continued to shoot thereafter, you weren’t thinking.

    Thinking goes with gun ownership. If you don’t think… well, someone gets shot and maybe killed.

    Yeah, let’s all have guns. That’ll stop this from happening! (or at least that’s what some think) Ninnies.

  11. Sinn Fein says:

    I guess that “Pro-Authoritarian Types” would say, “Oh, quit crying, it was only a lousy 50 shots on a legit shoot. Usually, officers would be packing an UZI or two and THEN the shot count would’ve been alot higher. So what?”

    Hey everybody, know how many people would be dead or, wounded had the cops forgotten to put bullets in their guns that night? ZERO.

    Its beyond stupid to start giving police the ability to shoot anybody anytime they feel threatened…look out “J” walkers, little old ladies, delivery bicyclists…and the REAL scum, anybody who speeds 6-11 MPH over the limit!

  12. Joe says:

    Meh,

    police in general deal with society’s scum I’m glad to see however that everyone is playing monday morning quarterback with this topic. the fact is we’ll never know what the hell happened that night. The victim, as blacks here in socal say “got blasted,” the “pigs or po-po” all gave testimony about the incident, but different angles of the shooting give you a different perspective everytime. I can only assume that, other than the first idiot that fired his weapon, the others went on pure instinct and fired believing that one of their own was in mortal danger. the feds won’t touch this, the police commission will exonerate them and at this point the family should just sue in civil court, get millions of dollars in a settlement, move out of the ghetto and move to a nice white community its the american way.

  13. spiessman says:

    A couple common sense measures will keep you alive much longer:

    1) Don’t boast about having a gun in the car, and don’t threaten to go get said gun when you get into an altercation at a strip club. This holds true whether or not you actually have a gun.

    2) Don’t drive drunk, and certainly don’t try to run over cops.

  14. natefrog says:

    #7, gquaglia;

    Please cite evidence as to why you feel that way.

    I won’t hold my breath.

  15. Jim S says:

    There is so much that is wrong here its unbelievable, but I think the main thing is there was no gun… the cops never saw a gun. Why the F- can cops shoot people because they are scared? Why do we as citizens allow this to happen? Second how the H- can they be so scared they fire 50 shots?!!?! They where scaring themselves!! They where afraid or their own shadow and this Bell guy died for it!!

    Come on people we need to make our voices heard and get these public servants inline before they line us up.

  16. bobbo says:

    #10–Ah Yea==thanks for the links. I looked for background before posting and couldn’t find anything as detailed as wiki. As you say, still a lot missing.

    This could be murder by cop as easy as not. From what wiki says, I see the “correct” procedure to have been to let the suspects get their guns and exit the cars before starting the arrest.

    Police murder people when they create the very danger they wind up protecting themselves from. Especially here where the cops are “experienced.”

    I thought this last night watching Worlds Worst something or other and cops were stopping that guy from driving a tank down the street. They used bolt cutter to open the overhead hatch then told the guy to stop. He did not, so they killed him. In this and so many other circumstances, I don’t know why a bullet to the leg wouldn’t be the first step.

    It turns out, cops don’t put their own lives on the line to protect us, too often, they put our lives on the line to protect themselves (AFTER putting themselves in danger.)

  17. gquaglia says:

    Please cite evidence as to why you feel that way.

    Evidence on why I feel a certain way? None of your fucking business, how’s that for evidence.

  18. Mr. Catshit says:

    #18, gq,

    Because you’re still just a fucking asshole. And there is a lot of evidence for that.

  19. Ah_Yea says:

    #17, bobbo. Thank you for your insightful comments. The thing that bothers me as well is the number of shots and their “kill first, ask questions later” methods.

    Honestly, I can’t say how I would react in this type of situation, but I doubt I would empty two clips into someone without being damn sure that he had a gun.

  20. bobbo says:

    #30–Ah Yea==In any scandal it is informative and more shocking to discover what is legal. In these cop shooting cases, what is clear to me is just what you say==if a cop perceives danger (ie, he is on the street) then he can shoot anyone and the department will call it appropriate.

    I could see this if you or I (Team Ah Yea!) were given a gun and put on the street. But not if we were selected because we were trained and qualified?

    Pilots are trained and qualified. Otherwise, we would all agree it would be appropriate for them to grab parachutes should an engine go out. Imagine the fear of being in an airplane and an engine stops.

    Police are too untrained, not held to standards in this country. They would be heroes if they took one every once in a while in the name of civil liberties. Don’t hold your breath.

  21. Ah_Yea says:

    You’ve got a Big AMEN to that!

    What you just said cleanly and clearly speaks the lesson from this tragedy.

  22. Jägermeister says:

    There’s no excuse for firing 50 bullets.

  23. Stu says:

    It does not take that long to fire 50 shots with a automatic weapon. evan changing the clip I an do it in thirty seconds or less.


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