After Justice Arthur Cooperman acquitted three police detectives in the shooting death of Sean Bell outside a Queens nightclub, predictable threats emanated from the inflammatory Al Sharpton, a spokesman for the Bell family, in a conference from his Harlem headquarters on Saturday. Metro reporter John Eligon treated Sharpton gingerly, the usual path of least resistance for the racially squeamishTimes.
At least the Times didn't ludicrously declare the hate-mongering Sharpton to be a "civil rights advocate" this time, although he came off looking quite sincere, while Eligon conveniently left out Sharpton's threat to "close this city down" over the acquittals.
Nicole Paultre Bell, the woman who was to marry Sean Bell the day he was killed in a hail of 50 police bullets, vowed on Saturday to continue demanding accountability for his death, delivering her remarks in a tone that was a departure from her more familiar gentle demeanor.
Joseph Guzman, who was shot more than a dozen times while sitting next to Mr. Bell, followed her to the microphone and spoke in somber tones of the emotional whiplash of the previous 24 hours.
Ms. Paultre Bell and Mr. Guzman spoke publicly on Saturday for the first time since a judge on Friday acquitted three detectives charged in the shooting of Mr. Bell in November 2006 outside a strip club in Jamaica, Queens, where he had celebrated his bachelor party.
They were among more than 100 people - including Mr. Bell's parents, William and Valerie Bell - who packed into the Harlem headquarters of the National Action Network, the organization founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton, to denounce the verdict and the judge who handed it down.
At one point during his 30-minute speech, Mr. Sharpton's voice rumbled to a scratchy crescendo as he spoke of his childhood in Brownsville, Brooklyn, and how his mother fought to keep him out of trouble and make sure he got an education.
Then, with tears streaming down his face, he pointed to Valerie Bell and Ms. Paultre Bell and said: "I'm going to help these two women fight for that little boy. That little boy didn't deserve to die, and this city is going to deal with the blood of Sean Bell."
The rally at Sharpton's office was followed by a 20-block march down Malcolm X Boulevard and then across 125th Street, Harlem's main business thoroughfare, where some bystanders yelled out "Kill the police!"
The Times also left out Sharpton's vow to "close this city down" if his idea of justice wasn't served, a threat the AP found newsworthy enough to use as the headline and lede. From the AP:
Hundreds of angry people marched through Harlem on Saturday after the Rev. Al Sharpton promised to "close this city down" to protest the acquittals of three police detectives in the 50-shot barrage that killed a groom on his wedding day and wounded two friends.