Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Fifty Shots.

You have to laugh at the media coverage of the murder of Sean Bell (and the injuring of Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield) by police. There are serious debates going on about whether fifty shots is excessive force or not. I don't recognise the concept of 'excessive force' when you've just shot an innocent man's brains out. Nevertheless, the whole matter now apparently hangs on whether the jury is willing to accept that the cops "reasonably" could have believed that the men they shot at were an immediate threat. Also, there is a miraculous theory known as "contagious shooting": this explains that fifty shots were fired because, well, one shot was fired and everyone else couldn't help but join in the fun. The police have a good sense of rhythm, you know. But then why stop at fifty? And now there's surprise - surprise, mark you - that the police's story seems to be different from that of the victims. Because the police claim, of course, that they only started blasting when the Sean Bell put his foot on the gas and tried to drive off, thus crashing into a police van. Benefield says the spur for accelerating away was the sudden appearance of an undercover cop shooting through the wind screen.

The police have distinguished themselves once again by leaking irrelevant and very probably fictitious claims to the media about the criminal past of the men who were shot. How reassuring to know that it isn't solely a hobby of the British policeman. Aside from that, the police have conducted a number of raids on those who knew the victims in an attempt to prove their guilt. In the course of this, they have managed to pull a gun on a seven year old girl and threatening her with five years in jail. All this because they have to explain fifty shots directed at innocent men to a jury.