april 25: on sean bell

::::reading materials on the sean bell case below::::

Plans for the Day of the Verdict

Dear Readers,

today is a weird day in NY
looking black and brown people in the ye
aint no joke today
on the day when sean bell’s assassins
become officially state sanctioned
so many words that need to be spoken
how many feelings to be felt

Its Friday, April 25, 2008.

My mentor Cynthia Perez, founding mother of the Indigenous Women’s Network, woke me up with a command to get to the United Nations immediately. My heart starts beating, a session on Indigenous Women, geez, I think I’ll wear my Kota sari, the red and cream one. Cynthia calls me back, orders me to contact Mililani, Hawaiin sovereignty expert, about coming to the conference tomorrow. Cynthia barks at me to do something with my Boalt law degree already. We get off the phone. I’m still contemplating the sari, hanging like a Rajasthani candy cane, majestic in the corner.

Phone beeps. It’s a text from the homie Diana, “Not guilty 4 sean bell’s muderers 😦

Warm air through golden drape, I rise from my pallet like anger, like waves, like warriors.

Food and water for my cat, cereal and milk for me, John Meyer on the radio, fathers be good to your daughters, and there are teeth to brush, a laptop to pack up, writing to be done, there is writing to be done.

Sandals on, jeans snug, brown arms sun reveling, soca in the Prospect Park breeze, l’m walking to the Brooklyn Public Library. Cutting around the way girl back strokes through runners and joggers in their outdoor performance clothes, I’m walking out my feelings, wondering what poem do I write? Thumb on text. Breeze whispering in the sweat around my brow. I type in and “send to many” this short:

sean bell”s assassins not guilty
rewind us to a time
when life was more like sense
less pretense
fuk a white picket fence

these are the first 10 texts i got back, verbatim:
1. “As intense as jesus’ hands clinched-anger swirls like incense.” (from a jamaican-american sister poet in nyc)
2. “And 151 mil to put cops with machine guns on subways.” (from an arab-american sister organizer in the bk)
3. “I hear you princess. Aint no justice, just Us.” (from an african-american brother, business owner, king’s mall, brooklyn)
4. “please forward all cops in sean bell case found not guilty on all charges rally at queens da’s office 125-01 queens blvd 5:30pm today take f/4 to union.” (from a latina sister poet in nyc)
5. “I didnt even want to read the whole story! That shit has me heated! Nice ryhme Roo!” (from an african-american sister writer in the bay)
6. “ah.” (from an italian-american sister organizer in nyc helping to organize rally at the courthouse today)
7. “Wow that was def deep. I was already n the process of snding that txt 2 u whn u txt me. Either way, its not right how many times five 0 gets off 4 claiming the life of the innocent. I pray every day that my life is not taken by the hands of another n these times. God has my bck!” (from an african-american brother, banker, pittsburgh, pa)
8. “Yes.” (from an african and caribbean-american brother organizer and sister poet in the bay)
9. “Ridiculous!” (from a chinese-american brother, mc, houston, texas)
10. “its hard 2 make it thru the am with the acquittal.” (from an african-american sister educator and actress in the bay)
I’m writing to you from the 2nd floor of Brooklyn Public. Around me are vast windows letting air in from Prospect Park, it blows over us, mainly black and brown folks taking care of business, together and alone.
On my way past the stacks of knowledge, a book caught my eye.
An Amnesty International Report, entitled, “Political Killings By Governments.” The Table of Contents lists countries–Argentina, Guatemala, Uganda, Libya. No United States of America. Page 6 starts a new section, its entitled, “Responsibility.” Second paragraph reads, “There are two sides to investigation of reports of politically motivated killings: determining the immediate facts-‘what happened’; and assessing whether the government is implicated-‘who was responsible.”

What happened?
A racially motivated assassination, according to People’s Justice, an NYC based coalition working to end police violence.
A necessary, justifiable, and relatively routine response to belligerent and inebriated club goers, asserted the District Attorneys defending NYPD detectives Micheal Oliver, Marc Cooper, and Gescard Isnora.
Murder vs. Nothing Happened.

Who was responsible?
New York State vs. Sean Bell.
A Nation State vs. Its People.
On my right hand side is a big book called, “Insects: An illustrated survey of the most successful animals on earth.” Ima take a peek inside it before I head off to the rally. Learn me something useful. Oh damn, the Muslim sister stacking books just took it off the table, gotta bounce y’all, time to chase down my new knowledge for the day. 🙂
Stay tuned for more from me, politicalpoet, I got the news you need.
2. people’s justice press releases:

Plans for the Day of the Verdict



In Nov. 2006, Sean Bell was murdered by the NYPD in a hail of 50 bullets. His friends – Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman – were seriously injured. 3 of the officers involved were acquitted of all charges in a bold affront to the human rights of Sean Bell and all of us.

PEOPLES JUSTICE for Community Control and Police Accountability is calling for a rally and community speak-out in front of the Queens DA’s office ON THIS DAY*.


@ the Queens DA’s Office

125-01 Queens Blvd. (between Hoover Ave & 82nd Ave.)

E or F train to Union Turnpike

The NYPD’s murder of Bell and attempted murders of Benefield and Guzman are NOT isolated or random events. They represent the continued targeting of communities of color by the police and the lack of accountability for police misconduct and abuse.

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