Statement Of Brooklyn For Peace On The Sean Bell Case And Systemic Police Brutality
New York State Political Leadership Continues To Allow Police To Dominate Minority Communities
Communities As An Occupying Power It Is Imperative That A Special State Prosecutor Be Appointed
The Rules of Engagement are Separate and Less Constitutional For Minorities Sean Bell Case Highlights a Pattern of Criminal Justice System Conspiracy Fifty-one bullets fired with a result of one death and many injuries but the judge finds no cause to punish anyone for anything. The dispenser of justice has a tongue-lashing only for the testifying witnesses. It is very much like the court-martials that have exonerated soldiers obviously guilty of the massacre of families in Iraq and Viet Nam. An invading or occupying power assumes certain life and death privileges over the populace it dominates. In New York City the police have been allowed to assume this overwhelming power in minority communities.
For reasons that are expedient, ignoble and racist the political leaders of New York continue to protect police misconduct and murder, even though such savagery is engaged in by only a small percentage of law enforcement personnel. The trickery and distortion employed to protect the few is ugly evidence of the disproportionate power of the police institution. And it is also evidence of the contempt of the state's leadership for its vulnerable minorities.
In New York State, powerful leaders, especially Democrats, are accessories to a continuing conspiracy. To be silent and inept when obvious solutions are available is an act of complicity which aids and abets injustice. The longstanding request that a Special State Prosecutor be appointed to investigate and prosecute police misconduct has been placed on the shelf of hostile neglect for decades. No lengthy legislative process is required to accomplish this purpose. The power to appoint such a prosecutor is an executive power. With practically all of the victims over the last three decades being minority persons, who vote overwhelmingly for Democrats, the mystery, and perhaps the scandal also, is that Democratic governors have refused to maintain such a position of Special Prosecutor.
The leader of the New York State Democratic Party is presently an Assemblyman from Harlem; the Speaker of the City Council, the Speaker of the State Assembly, the Attorney General; these are all Democrats. And the present Governor is a Democrat from Harlem. The power is in place. Actions now cannot remedy the past; however, they will greatly lessen the possibility of gross injustices in the future. Not all of the problems can be solved by one change in the structure. To end the separate and less constitutional procedures allowed in police misconduct cases there are other practical and inexpensive steps which must also be undertaken; however, the immediate appointment of a Special Prosecutor is the catalyst needed to achieve other positive changes.
A lack of accountability for police conduct is one of the trends toward the greater militarization of our society. A more robust confrontation of this occupying power syndrome now will enhance the preservation of basic liberties for all of us.
June 12, 2008