Times have changed
REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES)
Cops off hook, union big says
Predicts no indictment in Bell slay
BY CORKY SIEMASZKO and JONATHAN LEMIRE
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
The head of the NYPD detectives union boldly predicted yesterday that the cops who fatally shot Sean Bell on his wedding day would not be indicted.
Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives' Endowment Association, also blasted the Rev. Al Sharpton for making the shooting a "racial incident."
"When the dust settles and the smoke clears, reasonableness will prevail in that grand jury," Palladino said on Brian Lehrer's show on WNYC 93.9 FM, "and we'll be able to articulate that the shooting, although tragic, was not criminal and was justified."
Palladino praised the investigation led by Queens District Attorney Richard Brown into the Nov. 25 event, when officers unleashed 50 shots on Bell and his friends outside a Queens strip club.
Palladino's prediction angered Sharpton, who called it evidence of a too-cozy
Palladino and Sharpton - who verbally sparred after last week's protest march down Fifth Ave. - traded barbs again yesterday, as the union chief accused the civil rights activist of trying to tamper with the potential pool of grand jurors by making the shooting about race.
"Race has nothing to do with it," Palladino said. "In fact, three of the five people who discharged their weapons are people of color ... [but] now if you're a cop, you're a racist."
Sharpton shook off the accusation and claimed that "if all of those officers were black, I'd still be there demanding justice."
"It doesn't matter about the race here," he said. "It matters about the deed.
If they don't indict the cops, don't expect to go anywhere in New York City in January. This isn't 1999. People will not just turn their back and let this happen. You cannot shoot at three men 50 times and walk away. Giuliani is no longer mayor. Bloomberg was elected with black votes, twice.
This city will turn into strike-bound Paris if those cops, who have not testified to anyone, are not charged with murder in the second degree. Nothing less is going to fly. People believe Sean Bell was murdered by the NYPD. Saying it's an accident will not fly without a ton of evidence. And even then, the demand for a Special Prosecutor and FBI probe will bring city politics to a halt.
Palladino is a fucking idiot. He dragged Steven Pagones down here, a man who many people think was paid for raping Tawana Brawley. And now he complains about race? But the unions think it's about Sharpton. It isn't. The family wants a special prosecutor, and if Brown doesn't indict, Spitzer is going to HAVE to appoint one, leaving a large turd on Bloomberg and Kelly's desk.
The media said a few hundred people protested on Wall Street. It's the Thursday before Christmas.
You want a repeat in January, with no indictment, it won't be 300 people.
What Palladino misses is people see it as racial because the victim was black. It doesn't matter what the cops were.
But what he doesn't get is that is way past Sharpton. Bill Thompson, likely to be the next mayor of New York, the heads of the major unions, all marched Saturday. While they're letting the radicals do their daily protests, make no mistake, Sharpton is only one player here. I would look closely at Roger Toussaint and Calvin Butts. They are recently energized from various issues, and bring a great deal of weight to any protests. The UFT and SEIU are also major players here.
Attacking Sharpton is a mistake. He's not leading the band here. Because he doesn't have to.
Sean Bell was a middle class black New Yorker. He had a family, a job and one hell of a fiance. He is what people want their kids to be. If there were bumps, he was moving towards a responsible life. Not that they proved any. His parents don't speak with accents, there is no exile community politics, and black and Latino New York is united behind them like nothing I've ever seen. There is a depth of resolve which simply didn't exist under Giuliani, partly because there were too few people willing to stand up to him and the media was on his side.
The Transit strike changed that. The Daily News realized that their readers were, uh, minorities and their coverage changed the day after they saw polling backing the workers. The White ethnic rule of New York was over.
Now, make no mistake, no indictment, a wave of protests we have not seen in years. Not riots, but well planned, well orgainzed, city grinding protests, which will force Ray Kelly from his job as the first step.
A line has been crossed in the city's history.
posted by Steve @ 1:53:00 AM