On the day that 23-year-old Sean Bell was to marry his high school sweetheart, New York police pumped 50 bullets into his car.
NEW YORK CITY — Saturday, November 25, 2006 was supposed to be a date that 23-year-old Sean Bell would celebrate for years to come as the day he married his high school sweetheart. Instead, his young child will grow up to remember that day as the day her father was murdered by New York City police.
Early that morning, Sean Bell and a couple friends had left a small bachelor’s party when the car they were in was hit with a barrage of 50 bullets sprayed from the guns of four of the terrorist officers from the New York Police Department (NYPD).
Sean Bell was killed instantly and his two friends were seriously injured. Joseph Guzman was shot 11 times and Trent Bennefield was shot 3 times.
Though Bennefield and Guzman survived the shooting, they were held in police custody for weeks — handcuffed to hospital beds.
The State and its allies attempt to justify shooting
There have been many explanations coming from both the State and those aligned with the State as to what could have caused the police to shoot 50 rounds into a car full of unarmed Africans.
The State’s initial justification was a ridiculous claim that there was a “fourth man” in Bell’s car who opened fire at the police first. However, it is highly unlikely that a fourth could have escaped the 50-bullet barrage unscathed. Unless he was superhuman, he would have suffered the same fate as the other three Africans in the car – death or near fatal injury.
At the same time, others attribute the shooting to the cops being drunk. There are reports that the cops were seen having drinks in the Kalua nightclub minutes before they shot Sean Bell down.
However, throughout the years of domination by the U.S. government, there have been thousands of Africans killed at the hands of sober cops.
Still, others say that it was a case of racism. However, only one of the four cops involved in the shooting was white. The others were Latino and African. Therefore, racism alone does not answer the question.
Still others say that the police just weren’t following proper policy. Of course, it has clearly been a public policy for a very long time to have the police brutalize, murder and contain the African community.
InPDUM stands up as voice of African working class community
One thing is for certain. The police acted as judge, jury, prosecution and executioners the night they killed Sean Bell. This attack deepened as the NYPD, under the guise of searching for the “fourth passenger,” conducted illegal searches of innocent people’s homes throughout the African community arresting dozens of African men in the process.
But while the killing of Sean Bell and the subsequent police sweeps were an attack on the democratic rights of the African community, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) does not define our rights according to the policies and procedures set by the NYPD or any other agency of the U.S. government.
The fact is that although the State broke its own constitutional laws in these attacks, the rights of the oppressed should be determined by the oppressed, not the oppressor. This is primarily because the policies or laws established by the U.S. government operate against the interest of African people, and at any time that the law does not serve the government’s ability to oppress and exploit African people, it changes them.
Therefore, InPDUM has spoken out against the shooting of Sean Bell from a position of no confidence in the government’s ability to bring justice to Sean Bell or to prevent future tragedies that it is responsible for. Simply put, we do not expect the criminal to punish itself.
So while we support the calls being made for economic boycotts, police chief firings and policy changes, InPDUM’s fundamental demand is that the City of New York and certain of its representatives be indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes of genocide against the African community.
At the same time, we are building an African-led New York Tribunal for Reparations to African people for not only the assassination of Sean Bell, but the continued attacks being made against the entire African community. Again, this is primarily because we understand that the U.S. government is incapable of punishing itself for crimes it commits against African people.
“InPDUM has spoken out against the shooting of Sean Bell from a position of no confidence in the government’s ability to bring justice to Sean Bell or to prevent future tragedies that it is responsible for. Simply put, we do not expect the criminal to punish itself.”
Police shootings and resistance from masses evidence of crisis of imperialism
The fact is that the vicious police murders of Africans happening in New York City and throughout the imperialist centers of North America and Europe are a necessary response from imperialism to a deep and profound crisis it is now suffering from. All over the world, oppressed people are getting organized and confronting white power to take back all the resources that it has stolen from us and to defend ourselves from further attacks being made against our communities.
From Iraq to Venezuela white power is being dealt military blows by the same people whose land and resources it attempts to steal. This is also true for Africans.
Last October, militant African youths in Nigeria seized control of a Shell/Chevron/Texaco flow station and an Agip Nigeria Limited facility in the Rivers State area in attempt to prevent the emissions of poisonous fumes and other toxins into their community.
In November of 2005, the ghettos of Paris, France were set ablaze as the African and Arab communities rebelled against the French State in response to a police killing of an Arab and an African youth.
In North America, the U.S. government has seen little class peace. Since the military defeat of the Black Power Revolution of the 1960’s, there have been a number of African-led rebellions within U.S. borders, a clear indication of the people’s will to resist State terror. Almost all of the people’s rebellions were sparked by police killings.
But while the resistance of Africans has deepened the crisis of imperialism, it will take an organized African resistance to defeat imperialism.
InPDUM to hold tribunal putting City of New York on trial
This is part of the significance of the Tribunals for Reparations to African People. All over the world, InPDUM is convening these Tribunals in a step closer to seizing control of our own lives.
In our court, which functions according to international law, we call on representatives of imperialist States to defend themselves before African people. In the New York Tribunal we have subpoenaed NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelley and the four police officers directly responsible for Sean Bells murder.
In our court, we call on the African community, which has felt the harsh sting of imperialism’s whip, to come forth and testify against the state.
The NY Tribunal for Reparations to African People will be held in Brooklyn, NY and will include participation from respected figures in the African communities throughout the Northeastern U.S.
The Chief Justice will be Dorothy Lewis, co-founder of the NCOBRA (National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America). Our second judge will be Malik Zulu Shabazz, chairman of the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense. The final judge will be New York City Councilman Charles Barron.
The People’s Advocate will be Chairman Omali Yeshitela, founder and leader of the Uhuru Movement and longtime veteran of the African Liberation Movement. Chairman Omali presided as the people’s advocate for the very first World Tribunal for Reparations to African people held in Brooklyn, NY in 1982.
All of the evidence and rulings from the NY tribunal and other tribunals to be held throughout the world will be submitted to the International Tribunal for Reparations to Afrikan People (ITRAP) which will put all of imperialism on trial. ITRAP will convene in June 2007 in Berlin, Germany.
The purpose of ITRAP is to put the international African community on the same trajectory towards reparations, thus enhancing our capacity to struggle as one people.
For more information on how you or someone you know can testify at the Tribunals call 646-464-0604 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Build the New York Tribunal for Reparations to African People!!!
Forward the International Tribunal for Reparations to Afrikan People!!!