Statement From State Senator Kevin Parker Re: Sean Bell Verdict

Kevin S. Parker

April 29, 2008

Today is yet another sad day in New York City as the officers accused in the Sean Bell killing are acquitted of all charges. It is another day of outrage. It is difficult to comprehend how police officers in New York City can continue to blur the line between protection and destruction of black men and yet have justice turn a blind eye. The shooting of Sean Bell is more than an injustice to his family and fiancée – it is an indictment against the entire black community. It is more than discrimination toward the other two victims who were critically wounded – it is an attempt to justify this culture where black men are perceived as dangerous threats. In the aftermath of this incident one thing is clear: that the policies of the New York City Police Department must be reviewed to prevent cops from shooting innocent people without any recourse.

I share in the pain of the Bell family at this very difficult time. They remain in my prayers. Our mission now is to ensure that police officers alter their perceptions that all young black men are criminals. At the same time, as a community under attack, we must unite. In addition, we must work together as a "family" to encourage our young people to rise high above the stereotype.