Last week one night it was late and I was dropped off at the Broadway Junction Subway Station in Brooklyn and when I arrived there was a big police scene and TV news crews. The guy who dropped me off lives in the area and told me that a guy had stabbed a couple of cops a few hours earlier and that he had been killed ( which I later found at that two cops were stabbed but I think the guy is alive who did it). He was happy and said ” man people are tired of this shit…police killing people like Sean Bell who havent did anything…people aint gonna take this shit anymore.” Anyway, you get the point.
It turns out that the stabber probaby has never heard of Sean Bell and is an undocumented Central American immigrant who has already been deported once for assaulting cops, but that sentiment is out there, and at that time the city was embracing for the word on whether the police officers involved in the shooting death of Bell ( an unarmed black man) would be charged by the grand jury. There were threats that if there was no indictment that there would be a riot and the Rev. Al Sharpton had been on TV daily representing the family along with the fiance of Bell ( who was killed on his wedding day leaving a Jamaica Queens strip club).
The announcement didnt come until several days later and the officers were indicted , today in fact, although the news was leaked over the weekend and one of the officers went out and had a $4,000 meal on Saturday night I guess to celebrate his indictment ( this particular officer, Michael Oliver, fired 31 shots).
Would the city have rioted if there would have bene no indictment? I dont think so. The only way to get the young generation to riot is to cut off BET or MTV and ban cell phones or ipods and maybe white kids would riot if you would cancel American Idol. There would have been an angry and noisy protests by maybe a few thousand people but that would have been about it. There is no organization to spark a riot, much less orchestrate one, and Sharpton cant even get his own people elected to City Council seats in Brooklyn.
There may not have been a riot, but there could have been some violence against cops, and they are vulnerable, as we saw last week when a guy from St. Louis killed two auxillary cops and a pizzeria worker before being gunned down by cops in The Village. But would it have solved anything?
As I said when this case first came out it seems like when the police make a mistake and kill someone there is always a black male at the other end of the bullet. So there is a problem with the attitude of police towards African-American males and it needs to be addressed and the police in many neighborhoods are more like an occupying force than one that is serving the community. There is also the fact that a lot of cops think they are above the law and and should not have to be accountable for their mistakes; they knew the job was tough when they took it. The other side of the coin is that in most major cities the majority of the violent predators are black males and that is something the civil rights community doesnt want to recognize. When I lived in the Brownsville Projects almost all of the men were either in jail, had just got out, or were on their way, and if Im in a shootout with them Im gonna shoot to kill and let the Allah and the judge decide who was right later.
We do not know a lot about Bell and his friends, but we will find out, we do know his death was a tragedy and unnecassary; although a guy going to a strip club on his wedding day and getting ready to drink and drive was no angel.
Thats what i thought about while in the train and then…..
I got to the bus stop in Williamsburgh Brooklyn ( a mixed area of Puerto Ricans, Orthodox Jews and globos) and there was like a hundred people at the bus stop and when the bus pulled up they stampeded to get on like a heard of wild Buffaloes. People were pushing and shoving and old ladies were getting bumped and all of that. Culture matters.
When I catch the bus coming from the other direction, where it is mostly Irish, Polish and even a lot of Asians and Desis they form a perfect line and get on the bus in an orderly manner.
On that note, after I watchd the Erin Go Brawl Boxing card on Friday Night featring Irish boxers John Duddy (Derry) and Andy Lee (Limerick) I caught the St. Paddys Day Parade on TV on Saturday. 300,000 marchers and 2 million spectators and no deaths. Drunkeness, bad behaviour and stupidity yes, but no stampedes or deaths even after a large snow storm the night before.