December 28, 2006

Sean Bell's Murder Won't Go Away

Blogger Modern Pitung spent the runup to his Crispness keeping us up to speed on the treacherous undertow which has been surging beneath the holiday civic life of New York City since a 50-shot cop fusillade murdered Sean Bell. In three successive daily posts, he takes on the police effort to use Giuliani-era tactics to make it all go away, rips hipster liberals for dancing around with the police defense instead of stepping to it, and uses Lexis-Nexis to track the unfolding series of false leads and slanders of Sean Bell pumped out by police sources speaking "on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing."

I've blogged on the Bell killing here and here myself, but this time want to give a precis of MP's three posts and strongly recommend a visit to his blog All Out for the Fight to get the full richness of his analysis--and of his anger.

On December 22, Modern Pitung gives the props to Steve Gilliard's coverage of the case on the News Blog and runs down and answers the three point police approach:

a) defame the dead, b) point out how many people-of-color cops were on the scene, or c) use the old-fashioned "We wouldn't shoot people of color if they weren't savages" line.

His stuff on the cops-o'-color defense name-checks Ice Cube and KRS One and his conclusion is that point three can't get traction because this has happened too many times.

On December 23, MP gently points out to the nice liberal folks at The Gothamist (by appointment, journalists to the hipoisie) how reprehensible it is that they balance an extended retelling of the Police Benevolent Association/Detectives Endowment Association claims that Bell was drunk when killed with a one-line opposing view from a Bell family lawyer and a mention that the cops might have been drunk too. Most important, they never bother to point out that:

If blood-alcohol levels mattered at all to this case, Bell would have gotten a breathalyzer exam rather than sprayed with bullets.

On December 24, he gets curious and tracks down a month's worth of leaks from "a law enforcement official" to the NY Daily News journalists covering the Sean Bell story, all unsurprisingly exculpatory to the cops. MP then suggests and weighs four possible hypotheses, all fairly sophisticated, about what might be going on "on the other side of the curtain," analyzing the interests of the various players--the cop unions, the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau, the Queens DA's office, and the Bloomberg administration.

Again, I highly recommend reading the originals. New York could still blow over this, and it's important to understand why.

[crossposted at DailyKos]

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